Craft shows can be a great way to showcase your creative talents and sell your handmade products. However, with so many shows out there, it can be difficult to determine which ones are worth your time and investment. When I first started selling my art in person back in 2009 I didn’t do much research and when I decided to return to selling in person in 2022 I made the decision to take note of events.
There are a few I will not return to again, some that I am pondering and others that I look forward to being a part of. I am going to share some times on how to choose the best craft shows for you and your handmade creations.
- Research the Event
Before applying to any craft show, do your research. Look into the show’s past events, read reviews from previous vendors, and check out their website and social media pages. This will give you a good idea of the type of event it is, the caliber of vendors who participate, and the audience it attracts. You can also reach out to other vendors who have participated in the past and ask for their feedback.
There was one location that made it sounds like lots of people were going to be there and show up and I signed up for multiple events for that location – sometimes they offer deals if you commit to more than one. The first event was meh and in part, it was definitely the weather – I made a whole $30 that day which barely covered my vendor fee. I have no idea what the excuse was for the 2nd event but it was not what the promoter said it would be.
- Know Your Target Audience
It’s important to choose craft shows that attract your target audience. If you sell handmade baby clothes, for example, look for shows that cater to new parents or families with young children. Consider the demographics of the attendees, such as age, gender, income, and interests, and choose shows that align with your target market.
This comes up often and I offer lots of different things in some aspects that can feel and seem overwhelming but my setup is done in such a way that I have things that go together set up on the same table. As a wood-burning artist, I am not limited to just wall art – my best sellers are coasters, boxes, and jewelry no matter what event I am attending.
- Check the Location and Date
The location and date of the craft show can also impact your decision to apply. Consider the distance you’ll need to travel, the weather conditions during the event, and any potential scheduling conflicts. Make sure the date and location work well with your schedule and budget.
I will not attend events that require me to drive more than 2 hours. I have several things to keep in mind, including my son who due to his disability needs someone to make sure he’s good. It’s an added extra expense to book lodging. For some who do big events, this can work out well in terms of revenue.
- Look at the Booth Fees and Requirements
Booth fees can vary greatly between different craft shows, and it’s important to weigh the cost against the potential benefits. Consider the size and location of the booth, the amount of foot traffic you can expect, and any additional fees for electricity or other services. You should also look into any requirements for booth setup, such as the type of display you’ll need or any restrictions on signage or decorations.
I feel conflicted about this in some aspects. I don’t have a problem paying for my spot and the higher the fee you’ll have a different feel for the show because you’re not just inviting in any crafter. Some crafters won’t pay more than $50 or $75 because they don’t believe they can make any profit.
- Consider the Juried Process
Some craft shows have a juried process, meaning that vendors must apply and be accepted based on the quality and uniqueness of their products. While this can be a competitive process, it can also ensure that the event has a high caliber of vendors and products. Consider whether you’re willing to go through a juried process and whether your products are a good fit for the show’s standards.
I will not attend events that are juried and that is a personal preference I have. I think a higher fee can do the same thing if you’re wanting a high caliber of artists to be part of the event. I prefer the customer to make the choice of whether they want to purchase my art or not.
- Read the Application Guidelines Carefully
When applying to a craft show, make sure you read the application guidelines carefully. Some shows may require specific information about your products or business, and failing to provide this information can result in your application being rejected. Make sure you understand the application process and deadlines and follow all instructions carefully.
Choosing the right craft shows to apply to can take some time and effort, but it can pay off in the long run. By doing your research and considering your target audience, location, booth fees, and other factors, you can find the shows that will best showcase your products and help you grow your business.