To craft fair, or not to craft fair? How to bust ass and make 7 cents an hour.

The craft fair I attended this weekend was a flop. After a week of organizing, sorting, and making new merchandise, over 100 items, I was so ready to sell some stuff. I also had to buy a tent and a table. My awesome brother had weights for the tent and had a table to spare. Some craft fairs will loan out tables, but this was an outdoor event, so we had to BOOT (bring our own tents.)

It was sort of an “enter at your own risk” event. It was a first timer for the group that organized the craft fair and weather here is always unpredictable during monsoon season. It could be flooding two miles away and be completely sunny where we were. The craft fair was about an hour from home and set up time was at 7:00. I woke up at 5:00 a.m., was ready at six, and my help (bro, bro’s partner, and sis) were ready to go around 6:40. Bless those that agree to help a crazy crafter in the morning, for she ain’t no saint.

We arrived at this gargantuous, (yes, I no speak English well right now) worship mother ship, place out in the middle of nowheresville. The view was amazing. My brother met my sis and me there to help us set up the tent. Quick aside, there should totally be a brother’s day on the calendar. It was just me and another vendor setting up along with the woman who organized the fair. Hmm, just us two, I wondered. Scary.

I greeted the woman in charge, did some paperwork, and confirmed my donation of one item, a pair of earrings, for a silent auction. I never found out if any of the thirty people that actually came to shop at the craft fair did any bidding at all for the auction.

Yeah, you read that last sentence correctly. I think there were about thirty people in the four and half hours of the event that actually came to shop. I think about ten of those thirty people stopped by my table. One bought a pair of earrings.

A pair of ten dollar earrings.

There is something to learn here. Only do craft fairs that you know have good turn outs and that are at great locations that a lot of people in your city/state are familiar with. Don’t go too cheap, either. Find a middle ground if you can’t front $200 for a weekend event. Shoot for one somewhere between $50 and $100. Make sure that those organizing the event at least put out roadside signs announcing that there is a craft fair happening. Signs help.

This is my set up:

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Not very fancy, but I’ve busted ass to get it to look this decent. My brother made the larger earring displays and geisha table runner for me.

This was the incredible view of the Sandia mountain range from my makeshift storefront:

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The storm clouds went around us. Too bad there wasn’t like a thousand people shopping, because the weather was awesome.

These are the earrings I sold:

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In the end it’s those that always find time to help and support me, like my brother, his partner, and my sister that matter most. Like one vendor said yesterday, “I love making tutus! My daughter is my inspiration.”

That’s what I’m talking about. Peace out.

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3 thoughts on “To craft fair, or not to craft fair? How to bust ass and make 7 cents an hour.

  1. This is interesting. I’m thinking of starting doing craft fairs myself, but am such a beginner at this. I have a cabinet in a local shop (this is new) but I’m not doing very well. I think it is going to cost us much more in rent than we make. You learn by trial and error I suppose.

    • Yeah, it’s good to try out different avenues for selling jewelry. I thought about doing a local shop, but I got turned down in really bad way a couple of years ago. But local shops aren’t doing so well because of the economy, and most do a 50/50 consignment, they get to keep half of what you make off a piece, which means I’d really have to overprice my stuff. I’ll keep searching and trying. That’s aout all I can do at this point! Good luck to you and selling, I think you’re going to do really well, you have great stuff!

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