Craft Shows: To Do or Don’t?

I did a craft show yesterday, which reminded me why I quit doing craft shows years ago:

  • Set up fees vary from $15 to $150 or more, depending on the spot, and may require each vendor to donate an item valued at $25 or more, which most vendors consider as part of the set up fee.
  • The top selling item at smaller craft shows are the raffle tickets sold by the organization sponsoring craft show for chances to win prizes and/or items donated by vendors.
  • Crowds vary per weather, whimsy, and whatever else is going on that day.

Craft shows also tend to attract crafters, who shop for ideas and/or enjoy seeing what other crafters do,  which I should have remembered as the only time I did well sales-wise at a craft show years ago was when I sold handmade jewelry AND jewelry making supplies.  I also tend to spend much more than I make at craft shows, but limiting myself to cash in my wallet without borrowing from my show purse (sales & make change stash) kept me from buying too much yesterday.

All in all, it was a good day because – shock – I won two raffle ticket items!

OMGosh, I won the to-die-for “Chocolate Passion” cake donated by CB Confections from Warren, Ohio (her Facebook page is and… just as I wondered out loud how am I going to carry this luscious 6″ cake home with all my show stuff on a city bus, they called my number announcing I won an 8.5″ round cinch top bin in my favorite Thirty-One pattern donated by Carrie Radcliff. Wow!  That was like magic, spoke into being… the cake fit perfectly inside the bin, nestled and protected with a fabric table cover, and the drawstring cinched on the cake’s pretty bow tied cellophane to keep it centered.  Then both slid into the canvas tote to hang on my roll cart, the tote that had carried my donation to the show.

If you are not familiar with Thirty-One products, visit OR better yet, so the lady who donated the bag will get the credit if you decide to purchase anything.

As much as I enjoy craft shows, they are not the best venue for my products (buttons) due to a simple Marketing 101 concept: know your customers. Do they shop at craft shows?

So, I need to think about that… and explore other types of venues.

Thanks for reading!