The Top 7 Complaints from Craft Show Shoppers

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole the other day, researching a local craft show. 

That led me to read its reviews on Yelp. Then I started reading reviews for other craft shows in my city. And then I moved on to big craft shows outside of my city.

I ended up scanning a lot of reviews and gathered information about what craft show shoppers do and don’t love.

This article shares the top complaints craft show shoppers have.

The Top 7 Complaints from Craft Show Shoppers


1) “Lack of creativity”

Craft show shoppers are looking for unique items. Not just unique in the sense that each item is handmade and therefore isn’t identical.

There was a general consensus (from negative reviewers) that handmade items are starting to all have the same aesthetic and that booths seem to carry slight variations of the same stuff.

Although there were many different products called out, gold geometric-shaped jewelry and boho-style macrame wall hangings were a couple mentioned.

When it comes to macrame wall hangings, most vendors use similar designs, colours, and display props (the oversized wooden pegboard walls). 

I think this a good reminder to keep trends in mind, but put your spin on it. 

“Zig” when your competition is “zagging”. 

For example, offering dark, moody, and modern styles of macrame wall hangings and painting the wooden pegboard a dark color would surely make shoppers feel like they’re seeing something different and original.

Based on several negative reviews, it’s also safe to say, that once a trend reaches big retailers, consumers aren’t as interested in buying it from a handmade vendor. 

That may be because the item is now too “mainstream” or because they can purchase the item from a big retailer and it still has a handmade look while being a fraction of the price. 

If you’re a craft show vendor that follows trends try to jump on a trend early and be prepared to pivot when it becomes too trendy.

In general, it seems that many negative reviewers aren’t into shopping trends at craft shows, but rather want to see vendors expressing their creativity. 


2) Staying inside the box

A lot of negative reviewers are bored with the typical product categories found at craft shows. 

“Same products I see at every craft show: jewelry, candles, handbags, soaps, etc.”

Almost every craft show has a jewelry vendor, candle vendor, etc., and several of them.

A solution to this complaint is for vendors to try expanding slightly outside the popular product categories or to find unique niches within them.

For example, a candle vendor could explore different ways to scent a home. Such as:

  • Simmer pot mixes
  • Gel air fresheners
  • Essential oil blends for diffusers
  • Reed diffusers
  • Room and linen sprays
  • Wax melts

Although these items aren’t new or completely original, fewer vendors sell them when compared to how many sell candles. 

On the other hand, a candle vendor could stick to candles, but find a unique niche within the category. 

For example:

  • Cake topper candles
  • Candles shaped like flowers (e.g. peony shaped candles)
  • Food-scented candles (e.g. make a home smell like fresh-brewed coffee, bacon, or fresh-baked bread)
  • Outdoor mosquito-repelling candles

You want there to be a market for your products, but you may find more success offering a product that’s less saturated on the craft show scene.


3) Targeting the same customer

This is sticking to the “lack of variation” theme, but your target market is another element to consider as a vendor.

A few critical reviews across several different markets complained that the “majority of vendor booths targeted middle-aged women”. Or that products are all for “women, hipsters, or babies”.

Of course, it’s smart for vendors to appeal to the type of shopper the market attracts. 

So if the event draws crowds that mainly consist of middle-aged women, it’s beneficial to be a booth selling products ideal for middle-aged women.

However, a vendor can still stay on-brand and target their ideal customer while offering products for the people in that customer’s life (e.g. a boyfriend/husband, a teenage child, a parent, a pet, etc.).

It’s also something to keep in mind if you’re in the startup phase of your craft business. You may want to research the opportunities there are for a craft business to be successful targeting smaller or niche markets of people who frequent craft fairs.


4) Overpriced

This complaint seemed to be more common for some of the bigger events (i.e. the ones that charge hundreds of dollars for a booth). 

Shoppers seemed to think vendors were raising their prices just for the event, so they could cover their costs.

Most of the people complaining of high prices were familiar with the craft fair scene and Etsy. They knew handmade items cost more and appreciated the work that goes into them. 

But they felt prices were unreasonably high. 

Craft show shoppers are different than online shoppers.

>> Craft show shoppers explore and are hoping to discover products they didn’t know existed. Therefore, they’re less willing to spend a lot of money on an item.

>> Online shoppers hunt and know exactly what they want. They’re looking for something specific that is sometimes harder to find. So they’re often prepared to spend more money on an item. 

Whether you sell online or at a craft show, you want to stay on-brand and target your market. 

However, your product selection may vary slightly when selling at a craft show. 

Depending on the event, you may want to bring fewer high-priced items and focus on stocking lower-priced items. 

You may even develop a line specifically for craft shows. 

For example, many negative reviewers said they loved the vendors’ work, e.g. jewelry, but were unwilling to spend X dollars on a pair of earrings. 

So a jewelry maker might offer their designs in copper instead of gold-plated, to help lower costs and prices.

Don’t lower your prices to make a sale (you need to profit).

But do consider different budgets and the average price range craft show shoppers spend in (this varies depending on the event, but I’ve found most shoppers are comfortable spending up to $50. Anything over $50 and people typically need to think about it).


5) Disengaged vendors

As I mentioned in my article 5 Reasons Craft Show Shoppers Skip your Booth, shoppers typically don’t like you to stare them down as they approach your booth or table. But they’re also not fond of seeing vendors who seem completely uninterested in being there. 

My suggestion is to stay busy with craft show-related tasks (e.g. working on your craft, rearranging your display, tidying items behind your table). This way, you look like a vendor who is present and you’re able to stay aware of shoppers around you (without staring at them).

When vendors are on their phones (even if it’s work-related), they seem checked out. 

Our phones can completely suck us in. It’s really easy to miss what’s going on around you when you’re watching TikTok videos or Instagram Reels. 

Unless you’re at a really slow show (like so slow a shopper in the aisles would immediately catch your attention), reading a book or being on your phone should be avoided.

Look and act like you’re happy to be there and appreciate every shopper who’s taken the time to stop by.


6) Too crowded

There’s not much you can do about this one as a vendor. However, it is something to keep in mind when planning your space. 

If you have a booth, get creative with the layout and the display fixtures you use. 

A booth that gives shoppers some breathing room may encourage them to stick around long enough to buy. 

When selling at a craft fair that doesn’t offer booths, but rather tables, you don’t have much control over your smaller space. 

However, you can create a display that feels clean and uncluttered. 

You may also want to repeat product groupings so you’re displaying the same products on both ends of your table.

This will allow multiple shoppers to shop the same items, at the same time, without feeling like they have to wait to get to an item on the other side of the table. 

It will also cut down on shoppers reaching across one another to get to an item, which can make people feel overcrowded.


7) Too hot

Another issue that’s completely out of anyone’s control. But if you have a booth at an outdoor event, keep the weather in mind when planning display elements.

If you have access to electricity, and the organizer allows, you may add a fan or two to your space. 

On the other hand, if it’s going to be a cold day, you may have heaters in your tent. 

You’ll find some other creative ideas to attract shoppers who are “too hot” or “too cold” in this article: How to Attract More Shoppers to your Outdoor Market Booth.


You can’t please everyone and there will always be people who leave negative reviews no matter how well-rounded an event is. 

However, these are the most common complaints from craft show shoppers that may be worth it for you to address as a vendor.

You may also be interested in: 15 Things Craft Show Shoppers Love


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