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The Insider Scoop on being a Craft Vendor
craft shows

The Insider Scoop on being a Craft Vendor

Art on the Avenue happened last week, and I am a very happy crafter. The show was really well attended, like sardines-in-a-tin well attended. I was constantly busy, and selling fast. I unexpectedly sold out of some of my designs, and it looks like It’s back to the printing table for me next week. A pretty nice start to the season.

Being a small scale designer, and vendor at craft shows has it’s ups and downs, and I’m actually beginning to get used to them. In fact, I feel ever so slightly more… together this season, I’m beginning to feel like less of a newcomer. Not quite the Craft Show Consigliere yet, but I kind of know how things work.  When me and my crew hit the streets during set up time, we have that grizzled look that says “I have extra bungee cords and a tarp, so watch out!” – a little vendor humor for you. By the way, the crew includes a whiny seven year old, and an eleven year old who’s only really there for lunch and the freebies.

But seriously, I do have a snazzy red mini-apron for small change that I wear around my waist at fairs. It totally doesn’t make me look like a dork. I can go for practically a whole day without using the bathroom, and I even recognize a few of the other vendors nowadays. I think that qualifies me as a potential advice giver to newbies. Right?

Six things to know about craft markets:

  1. You will always be surprised by what sells well. Each venue is so different, and I’m constantly kept guessing about what will be the flavor of the day. All of my dragon prints sold out at Art on the Avenue, and hardly anyone bought a panda shirt, after all the social media clamour over the pandas. What!?
  2. Always take WAY more bags and business cards than you think you will need. I ran out of both around 4pm at Art on the Avenue, and still had two hours to go!! I was seriously close to  writing my contacts down on people’s arms! Luckily, my customers tend to be understanding people with large strollers and diaper bags to store shirts in.
  3. Someone will ask you for a discount. Be proud of what you make, stand your ground and don’t under price yourself. Easier said than done for some of us. I put a lot of hard work and time into my onesies, and it has taken a lot of practice to be able to look a person in the eye and flatly refuse to discount an item. Repeat after me: hand made, small batch, precious….. not available in Walmart.
  4. You will feel that terrible, silent feeling of panic when a potential customer leans over your work while drinking a giant soda fountain drink. You will see the condensation waiting to drip onto your carefully handmade products in slow motion. Torture!!! Even worse, is when the customer actually puts the cup down next to your products, and you have to  work up the nerve to ask them to move it.
  5.  Other vendors are your friends. Be nice to them, help them out, and discover some lifelong buddies; you can even break your no discount rule with them. What you mustn’t do, however, is hover around them and talk constantly, when they are swamped with customers. Just….don’t.
  6. Wear sensible shoes and no Fitbit. Trust me on this one, being a vendor is hard on the feet, and makes you feel as though you have walked a million steps, but in reality you have walked…just twenty five. So frustrating. Not much room for movement in that tent.

Hope this has helped, whether you are planning to sell at shows, or just curious about the experience. I’m sure there is more, and much better advice I should be sharing, but nothing really comes to mind right now, because I’m hungry.

Stay posted for more pearls of Noctiluna wisdom. 😉

About Author

Artist, Educator, Parent, Small Business Owner, Big kid from a big city, in a small town.

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