This time last year, I wouldn’t have even considered setting up shop at a craft fair. I had been working on projects for years but never considered my work marketable. However, a little bit of encouragement from friends and fellow artists challenged me to consider bringing my work to the public. As part of that process, I read a lot of advice articles. Some were helpful but many were just sales pitches for printed materials. Now that I have done two craft fairs, Liberty University’s Christmas Craftburg and Vintage Lynchburg’s Spring Market, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned. Also, my craft fair checklist is at the bottom.
Meet the maker community
Perhaps this is unique to Lynchburg but, the makers in this area are an inclusive and positive bunch. From shopkeepers like Peg at the White Brick House and Steph at Live Trendy Or Die to blog vendors like Way Crunchy and Heather and 2 Girls, I’ve gotten helpful advice. No one is competitive and they all embrace the efforts of newcomers. I really enjoyed interviewing the vendors on their vendor crushes to get a glimpse into the community.
Get someone else to cash out
I initially made this decision because I feel a little awkward selling my own work. However, it freed me up to meet people and talk to other vendors. My husband and mother have been kind enough to help run my cash box and take care of most of the sales. My only regret is that I didn’t get to say hi to more of my instafriends in person.
Know who you are not
With all the well-meaning advice, it can be easy to get distracted. Also, insecurity sinks in while you’re waiting for that first sale. However, I have learned to stand by my work and differentiate myself. My motto has become, “… if someone else is doing it — I don’t want to…” Essentially, I am not going to recreate a popular craft, from pinterest or another fair just because it’s popular at the time. I want to make work that I enjoy and that suits my homeworthiness goals. Sure, I’m sometimes inspired by the work of others. I just don’t want to appropriate it.
Overall, it’s been an enjoyable experience, bringing my art to market. I’m sure I’ll learn more with each event and I look forward to your tips and tricks in the comments.
Craft Fair Checklist
- Bags for customers
- Extra Price tags or stickers
- Payment system
- Extra cash (small dollars and coins)
- Tent with weights
- Table and a seat
- Business Cards
- Order sheets (if you allow custom orders)
- Water and snacks