Craft shows are an important part of selling handmade goods.
There’s no way to guarantee a successful show, as there are elements (like the
weather) that are out of everyone’s control. However, when you’re thinking
about applying to a craft show you’ve never heard of, it’s a good idea to ask
some questions to be sure it’s a fit for your business. Choose one, a few or
all questions below to ask an event organizer before you commit.
Have you put on other events before?
Event organizers can put on great markets their first time around but if they
have past successes, even better! If this is their first event, try to find out
what their experience is in the handmade industry. If they’ve been selling
their handmade goods for a while, have attended several shows and know a large
network of people, that’s a good start.
Which vendors have participated in your show in the past?
If they have put on events in the past, find out what type of
vendors have participated. This will give you a bit of client list that you can
use to get some reviews and let you know the type of vendors that are typically
involved. It’s the sign of a successful event when vendors apply to the same
show year after year.
How many vendors do you plan to have at this event?
Good things do come in small packages so don’t let the size of the
event throw you off. Some of my favourite craft shows are on the smaller side
and remain that way despite how popular they get (Royal Bison – case &
point). It’s still a great question to ask though as it will give you an idea
on the size of the event, how many people are helping to spread the word and
how many other vendors may be selling items in the same category as yours.
What type of vendors will you have at this show?
Some markets will be strictly handmade while other will have a mix
of handmade with home-based businesses (like Arbonne, Scentsy, etc.) or even
vintage. If it’s a mix, find out if it will work to your advantage or not. If
you sell scented candles and wax melts and Scentsy will be at a booth across
from you, it may not be the best fit for you.
Is it a juried event?
Majority of shows
will be juried, which means that the organizers will look at applications
before accepting anyone. This is important because it helps ensure that the
organizers are looking for quality and making sure that they’re not getting too
many vendors selling the same type of product.
Will there be any other type of attraction?
Planning a craft show is like planning a party; you need several
elements to ensure success. Music, photo booths, giveaways and donations are
all added attractions that help set the tone. See if the organizer has any
ideas for making the show unique.
What demographic are you aiming for?
It’s important to make sure that the demographic the organizer is marketing the
event towards is in line with your business’ demographic. If you’re selling
racy paintings, you’re probably not going to do very well at a baby and mom
themed market ;)
How will you be marketing the event?
lot of elements go into making an event a success. If the organizer is just
relying on word of mouth, you may be in for a slow day. See what types of ideas
they have for getting the word out there and if you think they line up with
where you believe the target market could be found.
Will you be charging an entrance fee?
Entrance fees can help ensure you’re getting some serious shoppers there with
the intent to buy and not just lookie loos. If they are charging an entrance
fee, find out how much it is going to be, if tickets will be sold ahead of time
and if those fees are going towards something like a charity.
10) Can I purchase a
If it’s your first market, your items
are small or the price point of your products don’t warrant the cost of a
table, find out if there are any opportunities to share a table or booth with
someone in the same boat as you. This will make your overhead costs a little
more manageable and you get to test out the waters with an unknown organizer.
Having a booth buddy is great; you’ll have someone to chat with during slow
periods and you can help each other cover the table for food or bathroom
If you liked this article, you may also enjoy these reads: