Sunday, October 17, 2010

Handy Dandy Holiday Bazaar Hints and Tricks

The holiday season is almost upon us and for serious business crafters that means one thing. Bazaar season. Oh yes, we flock in droves to eight foot tables to sell our beautifully handcrafted items. We love to make them, we love to sell them and we LOVE to see you take home something we lovingly made to be a special gift on Christmas day. But holiday bazaars are not all about glamour. In fact, they are downright hard work. So I present to you, oh crafter extradonaire, this first installment of helpful hints for crafting bazaars. You can look for the next one next Sunday!

1. Wear comfortable shoes. This is a must. You will be on your feet all. Day. Long. If you’ve never done a craft show or bazaar before this is your warning. Your feet will swell, your legs will ache and if you go for the oh so pretty but feet murdering high heels you will want to saw your feet off before the end of the day. Practical can pretty too but always, always go for some comfort.

2. Smile! I can’t tell you how many times I have not bought from a great crafter because of their negative energy. When people shop at lovely little bazaars with beautiful handcrafted items they want to see a sweet and beautiful person behind the craft. And you are a sweet and beautiful person! So let it shine. If you’re having a bad show and you are discouraged smile anyway and tell that potential customer who asks that you’re having a great show, thanks so much for asking! Do not ever, ever complain. Not to the potential customer, not to the other vendors, not even to yourself. Don’t give the negativity a foothold. I once did a show that I paid $500 to attend (gasp, faint) and I made around $100. I cannot quite think of a more disheartening show. But I still smiled at everyone who came to my booth and told them my day was going fantastically. In the case of craft shows, misery does not love company. So stuff it.

3. Set a goal. How much money do you need to come in from this show? That’s your minimum goal. How much would you like to see from this show? That your moderate goal. How much would make you jump through the roof, buy a round for the bar, fly to the moon and squeal like a pig? That’s your high goal. Simple, no? A goal helps you prepare and plan and dream a little. Set them and then work your arse of to achieve them.

4. Have enough product. This one seems so simple but it’s crucial. What’s your high goal? $1000? $5000? Here’s a secret. Ok, it’s really just common sense but it hit me strongly one day and left an impression. You can only make as much money as you have product to sell. If your high goal is $5000 and you only have $1000 of inventory how exactly can you hit that high goal? Sure, you could do some custom orders but $4000 in custom orders might be pushing it just a bit. So make and bring enough products to meet your goal.

5. Bring a friend. If it is at all possible, bring a friend along for the ride. It sucks to have to leave your booth unattended just so you can urinate. It’s also nice to have someone to chat with a bit during the slow times. It’s also super nice to have someone to be your gopher. There might be a time that you would just kill for a coffee because you stayed up until 2am pricing your beautiful creations and now it’s getting close to closing time and you can’t keep your eyes open. Aha, but you have brought your bestest friend Sally Sue! She can run over and get you a coffee. Beautiful. Now you’re awake, your booth was never left alone and you’re a happy crafter once again. Just make sure you have some mints for after that coffee. ;)


  1. Thanks so much Lacey, for this insightful and perfectly-timed post. My first craft fair is coming up in a couple of weeks and I'm learning everything I can so I'm prepared. While your points seem like common sense, it's so easy to forget this small stuff when you're focused on the large stuff like getting there on time.

    Glad you mentioned the SMILE bit! I've not bought from people because of their lousy attitude at fairs before and you're so right about always looking positive.

    Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for the great info. I'm doing my first show soon and you brought up a lot of good points - especially the buddy! Maybe I'll make my Mom come with me LOL!

  3. Great tips. I always think is great to make a list of things you don't want to forget in the week leading up to the markets to maket sure you have all you need,

  4. Thanks, I am having my first 2 craft shows coming up showcasing my jewelry! Good tips!

  5. Great tips. The best one: Bring a friend. Even better, bring a friend who's a good salesman. Lots of us aren't really salespeople, we're artists or crafters. I'm fortunate to have a close friend who's a super sales person and loves to do shows with me.