Wednesday, August 22, 2012

10 things I learned from my first craft fair

1. Always have a buddy with you at all times. This way you can have a way to deflect when someone starts grilling you on why you charge sales tax. And other various ways on how you should run your business to please them. My husband was out getting food at the time. I may never eat during a craft show again.

2. Bring extra finished chains in different lengths. Making chains from scratch kept me the busiest. Another reason why having a buddy is important. I would have missed a lot of sales while I was working on chains. I had no idea the demand would be so high for a custom length.

3. Craft show food sucks (Let's just make a sweeping generalization, shall we? I'm sure there's some good stuff out there...). But at this show, it was all greasy, fattening and not great on a hot day. It also takes half an hour to get those long chains of spiral potato chips. But, at least I've had my fill.

4. Not all craft shows are created equal. I was told dozens of times that I should go to an art fair, instead of a show like the one I did. I did very well, but there is definitely a different mind set. There were many sellers there with items mass manufactured and directly imported from wholesalers. Sometimes people don't realize there's a person making things by hand trying to make a living, rather than buying something wholesale and sticking it on a display.

5. You can never have enough change. I brought 1 billion quarters just to be safe (I am sooo rich!) and it still wasn't enough. 

6. Doing a first-time craft show 2 blocks away from your house is an awesome idea. I could always go home if I needed or if I forgot something (or make hubby go get more quarters).

7. The ability to take credit cards was incredibly helpful. It was easy and I could e-mail or text their receipt. Saved paper and sales. 

8. I will never take checks again. I got one check the entire show and it was fraudulent. This sweet little old lady also has a criminal record. What I don't understand about writing a check that you know will bounce is not only are you stealing something from me, but I'm also going to be paying my bank $15 for your bounced check. And that's what steams me the most. I'd rather you just stole it. But, I'd rather you not do that either.

9. The items that sell the best online don't necessarily sell the best in person. And I think that's because they get lost in the crowd. There's so many other pretty sparkly things to look at, sometimes things just get overlooked. 

10. Sarah from zzouzivintage gave me the greatest tip. She suggested I write down the ages of everyone who bought from me and find out my target market. Well, I didn't do that...but I did make a mental note. And my customers are all over the place, but most of them are in the same age bracket.


  1. Never did do a craft show before but considering it. Thanks for the insight!

  2. This was actually very helpful. I've never done a craft show as I'm a bit of a newbie and the thought is a bit intimidating to me. These tips were great. Thanks!

    1. Thanks! It is definitely intimidating. I had knots in my stomach! Good luck if you decide to take the leap.

  3. I'm glad I could help! My sales tax is usually built into my prices so I dont have *ahem* customers asking me why I have sales tax!

    - Sarah

    1. I wish I could do that. But, since I sell mostly online, it would be such a headache to have two different sets of prices not to mention the tax keeping nightmare! But, there's a mixture at every show, it shouldn't be such a shock. Everyone around me charged tax on top. Took my own poll afterwards. :-)