How to Have (and How NOT to Have) a Craft Fair – Part One

Christmas decor available for purchase at the show.

Christmas decor available for purchase at the show.

I may have mentioned it, and I think I did, that last winter my mother and I attended a craft fair. It followed a sudden duh moment I’d had several months before. I live in an extremely crafty community. I know a lot of crafty people. There are very few local, convenient outlets for disposing of crafted items. I know I have a conglomeration in boxes and bags, just waiting for someone on Etsy to click it, fall in love with it, and buy it so I can get it out of my house and out of my space.

1. Have a name. Just because you’re going to need something to call this thing you’re hatching and whatever it is will stick. It’s best to decide on a name before you start calling it the Craft Thingamajigy.

Having recently gotten interested in the crafting-to-sell business, I’ve become more and more aware of the actual time and thought that goes into each and every handcrafted article. It is amazing. I have semi committed to giving only handmade items this Christmas, whether they are mine or purchased. It’s an industry I’m very willing to support and I want to encourage others to support it as well.

I’ve known one of the members of the county fair board since sixth grade (mine, not hers). She is a program assistant with the University of Tennessee Extension and she’s a darn good one as well. There is nothing of consequence in this community that Ms. Karen hasn’t helped out with in some way. She’s an encourager and she loves to hear your ideas. So after mentioning the idea to my mom, we went to Ms. Karen with it, told her when we wanted to have the fair, and she promised us the use of the fair grounds building gymnasium.

2. Locate a place. The gymnasium at the fair grounds was ideal. It was free to rent because my ultimate goal was for the proceeds from renting booth and table spaces to go directly to the fair.

3. Set a price. I would have loved for it to be free for vendors to set up, but I know from previous experience with things that if it’s free to set up (or attend after rsvp’ing), many people will not follow through. The fair owns a number of tables and chairs, so I decided to charge $15 for a space with a table, and $10 for just a space and they could bring their own table.

4. Set a date and time. I googled events in the area for the date I was considering. I knew a Saturday would have the best turnout, I wanted a one-day event rather than a weekend deal, and I didn’t want vendors to have to commit to a 9-5 work day at their fun job, so I chose from 8am to 2pm local time. In hindsight, those were not the best hours to choose. Next year I’m thinking that perhaps a noon-5 approach might be best, or a 10-5. We had few if any shoppers for the first two hours, and in rethinking it, 8 o’clock is a little early for a cold Saturday in November.

Follow along this week for the other four parts in the series!

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4 responses to “How to Have (and How NOT to Have) a Craft Fair – Part One

  1. I was so upset that I didn’t get to go. That makes 2 I have missed!!!!! I keep saying……”There is always next year. Be positive.” But dang it, I keep having something come up and having to miss it. 😦

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