Thursday, July 1, 2010

Selling your crafts? Tips for picking the right venue, Part 1

Crafting has a tendency to increase in popularity when the economy takes a downturn. People have limited funds and look for inexpensive activities to occupy their minds. While crafting usually starts off as an extracurricular activity to burn away excess creativity, it can often become a means of income through the sale of their wares; hence the inspiration for craft shows, stores, fairs and the like. Crafting can be an excellent source of income but selling it in the right venue is even more important. Crafters are easily discouraged when their products don’t sell but many times it’s because they have chosen the wrong venue. Here’s Part 1, on how to pick the right venue for selling crafts:

Selling at a craft show

1. The number one question to ask when selling at a craft fair is how long the show has been running. It’s important because the longer the show has been running, the more likely people are aware of it and will attend. Longer running shows have built a sizable and loyal clientele. That doesn’t mean that first year shows won’t be successful but there will most likely be more customers at a long running show.

2. The next important question to ask is if vendors will be allowed to the show or if only crafts are allowed. Depending on what a crafter is selling will determine whether this matters or not. Vendors are usually at-home businesses like Mary Kay, Avon and Homemade Gourmet, all reputable companies but they are not crafters. If there is a candle catalog vendor selling their product next to a crafter that makes their own candle, it can make a difference.

3. Find out if the show is juried. A juried show will ensure that there are no duplicates, and therefore very little competition among the crafters. Shows that are not juried end up having too many of one type of craft, usually jewelry, and do not give customers a variety of products to browse through. When customers don’t have a variety of products to browse, they get bored and leave early.

4. Ask about advertising. How is the show being advertised? Where is it being advertised? Are there street signs? Be sure that the show promoters have made some effort to publicize the craft show because it will make a difference in the outcome of the overall sales. More advertising means more customers.

Stay tuned for Part 2, for tips on picking the right store to sell crafts.

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