I participated in a craft show this weekend and it was pretty terrible. While the location was on the main road, super clean and bright, and decently organized – the foot traffic was beyond disappointing.
I’ve done enough shows to realize that not every one is a hit. Sometimes you’re out of your demographic. Sometimes you get wedged in between other vendors that have a different customer base. When there’s a great crowd but not a lot of sales – I look at two things:
- Are people carrying bags from other vendors? If not, I tend to look at the day, the mood, or even the time of year. If they are carrying shopping bags, I then wonder if I may not have the right audience for my items.
- How many people am I handing business cards out to? Even if I don’t make a sale that day, it does not mean that someone won’t go home and check out my website. If I can make a connection with someone, that can lead to future sales.
When there is not a great crowd…consider your venue. Ladies Auxiliaries of local firehouses, I’ve found, are not fabulous venues. I really want them to be because they support great local causes but they are run by a generation that doesn’t blast on social media effectively. You cannot rely on a sign in the front yard of the firehouse for bringing in a crowd. It needs to be on Facebook efficiently – Instagram – Etsy – the local newspaper – flyers – website of the firehouse – website of the town – the local Chamber of Commerce!
…doesn’t happen without a lot of effort.
Given my experience with these shows, I’m skipping out on these firehouse craft/vendor fairs in the future. It’s hard to do because they’re so cheap to join (around $20-$35 a pop) and I like the idea of my fee supporting their causes. But unless they put in the effort to get foot traffic in, it is not worth my time. I worked really hard creating each and every item on my table, I worked for a few hours just on packing and tagging everything, making sure I had bags for purchases, signs so people knew how to find me on social media and where to purchase items, I drove over an hour total time to get there. I lost money and whole lot of time that day.
Shows that are inexpensive to get into are just not for me.
Shows that are 30 minutes or more away are not for me.
If you’re a budding crafter, get out there and VISIT more of these craft shows on your own to gauge if you want to participate next time around.
TALK to other crafters about the venues where they have found the most success.
THINK about the location. Is it a busy town/city? Or is it a sleepy place out in the middle of nowhere?
ASK the organizer about other crafters and vendors who have signed up. What do they make/sell?
CONSIDER the opportunity wisely. Time is something you cannot buy back. If life is crazy and the idea of joining a show is stressful and NOT exciting – don’t do it. It is okay to pass up on participating and simply just go to visit and enjoy the day.