Everything You Need To Prepare For A Craft Fair

Selling handmade products at local craft shows is a great way to earn some extra money for your family. It may take a lot of extra hours upfront and the day of, but they will most likely pay off in the end. And selling at a craft fair is a great way to get your feet wet if you are undecided on starting your own business.

A lot of crafters get started on the craft show scene. Try it out and decide whether this is something you are ready to go all in on.

You may have a few questions on how to get started, but don’t worry we are about to cover all of them!

How do I find craft fairs in my area?

Most of the time your area will have a website about current local events.

For example, in my town, we have a website called ChattanoogaNow.com and ChattanoogaHasFun.com. I’m pretty sure both of them are run by the newspaper or local publication. They announce and advertise all sorts of local events from concerts in the area, family nights and local farmers markets. People can even submit events to be added to the calendar.

You can also look on facebook for events happening nearby. This is a great place for small events to advertise for free!

If you don’t know of a website in your town try doing a google search for something along the line of ‘event in my town’ or ‘craft fairs in (enter your town here)”. You can also check out websites like www.festivalnet.com to check out listings for local festivals, art shows, and fairs.

Once you find a few craft fairs or markets in your area, write down a few that sound interesting to you and go check them out! Spend a few weeks visiting the different fairs (a lot of time a market will allow vendors selling handmade goods and tend to be in the same place either weekly or monthly).

When you are visiting you want to take note of the merchandise people are selling. Does it look similar to things you are making? Will your products fit in with the other merchandise? (While it’s ok to be unique, you don’t want to be so far in left field that no one wants anything.)

Pay attention to the type of people walking around. Do they look like your clientele? Do they look like people you wouldn’t mind interacting with for an entire day?

Also, take note if people are purchasing products. Are people actually buying things? Or are they just ‘window shopping’?

These are all good signs the market is thriving and it’s a place you want to be!

How much does it cost to have a booth at a craft fair?

Once you’ve found a fair or market you are interested in, check to see if they have a website. Typically you can find vendor information on the website, if not, you may need to ask someone while you are there.

Mostly like, there will be a few forms to fill out and agreements to sign going over all the rules for the show, how and when to set-up and what’s expected of you.

In most cases, you will be required to pay an entry fee. Generally, it’s not a huge expense ($100-$200) but they tend to vary with each show. Make sure you read all the fine print, some shows have a very low entry fee, but they expect you to submit your sales for the day and are required to pay a small percentage fee. Most of the time this will have a cap so you only end up paying a few hundred dollars even on your best day.

Hopefully, you can make up for it after selling your products.

One rule of thumb is to expect to sell 7 times more than your entry fee. So if you pay a $100 fee, your goal should be to sell at minimum $700 in products.

What homemade items sell the best?

Some of the top items that sell at craft fairs are:

  • Handmade Soap

  • Bath Items

  • Jewelry

  • Knitting/Crochet

  • Home Trending Items

  • Pet Stuff

  • Small Gift Items

The best way to find inspiration is searching on Pinterest. If you have something in mind you are interested in making, for example, you like knit. Trying to going Pinterest and searching “fast knitting projects”. Tons if items come up, just note the pins closest to the top of the page are what is trending the most. Keep narrowing your search until you find something you think you can make.

Just remember you will be making LOTS of them. Keep this in mind.

How to prepare?

Depending on the item you are creating, preparation for a craft fair can sometimes take months or weeks. Because the thing you need the most is inventory!

It’s a good idea to make several items at all price points. Keep it simple though. I would suggest having around 7-10 different types of products (i.e. hat, scarves, blanket, keychain…) but in a variety of colors. The more you can streamline your creating process the better off you will be. You want to make sure you have enough to make it through the whole show. You don’t want to run out of products to show!

Tip: If you are making something you can do in public (i.e. knitting) you can work on a few projects while you're at the show! This gives you something to do if there is a lull in customers.

Craft shows have a LOT of moving parts. It would be best to jot down a list of all the things you need to accomplish to get ready and start checking things off a few weeks ahead of time.

If you need some help making your list, don’t worry! I've done all the work for you. You can check out the craft show checklist here.

How to price your items?

Pricing is probably one of the hardest parts of starting your own handmade business. People have the ability to purchase almost anything from factories these days and it makes it difficult for crafters to earn the money they deserve. My best advice is to not undersell yourself, we always do that! And it doesn’t benefit any of us. If you price your items fairly and are making a great product, your customers will come. It will be worth your efforts!

It takes a little bit of math to figure out how to price your items.

A: How much did you pay for your materials?

B: Determine how much you want to be paid per hour?

C: How long did it take to make your product?

Then calculate, (B x C) + A = Wholesale price

Multiple this number by 2 to get your retail price.

Truth Bomb: Most of the time it takes us a lot longer to make the product then we want to admit. So when you figure out this calculation and it says you should charge $800 for a scarf you may need to re-evaluate and adjust accordingly. :-)

Another helpful tool is to check out this calculator by my friend Pam at Crochetpreneur.com. This tool is life changing and takes all the guesswork out of pricing crocheted or knitted projects. To get access to her calculator check it out HERE.

You may also be interested in how I have been using the calculator, you can check that out HERE.

Go Sell Something!

Now that you have everything you need to get ready for a craft fair, what are you waiting for?! Get out there and sell something!

I'd love to hear how your first fair goes email me at hello@thecarpoolknitter.com or tag me on social media with #thecarpoolknitter and tell me all the details!

Kathryn O'Neil