If you’re ready to learn how to sell at art and craft shows, this guide will cover the basics of how to choose shows where you can be successful and earn enough to make this kind of selling worthwhile.
Selling at arts shows and at craft shows can be fun and rewarding plus a great way to learn what potential customers are looking for and to begin selling relationships that may last for years.
Read on for specifics…
Choosing Shows To Attend
Choosing a show to sell at can be tricky as there are many things to consider. How often does the show occur? How much does it cost to be a vendor? How far do you need to travel? What amenities are provided?
But the most important question of all is, how many buying customers will attend?
Do Your Homework When Choosing Craft Shows Or Art Events
There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of money for a booth at a show — and doing all the travel and set up to sell there — only to find sparse crowds or little sales.
This is where doing some research beforehand is really important! With the Internet it’s relatively easy to search for information about a specific show or event. Find people who have sold at that show before and read their feedback. Or go on Facebook or other social media and ask folks directly about their experience.
You want to target shows with big crowds full of eager buyers. Shows for specific types of arts or crafts — with customers who treat the show like a special event — can be especially worthwhile.
Local Marketplace Events And Street Artists Programs
Some cities provide local markets or selling spaces on public streets for artists and crafters. Check with your city for the requirements. You usually have to pay a license fee. In some cities the fee is reasonable and in others it’s outrageous.
If you can get a license to sell at events or marketplaces multiple times for the same fee it may be worthwhile. But, keep in mind, local shows that occur regularly may get more general crowds who are less interested in buying.
What Do Other Sellers Think Of A Show Or Event They Worked At?
When other sellers have a terrible time at a show they will usually tell you. But if they’re being hesitant to share their results they may have done better than they want to let on, so ask as many people as you can find.
It may also be helpful to ask other sellers who make a totally different product than you do — they may be more willing to share information with you.
Is The Show Promoted Well And Are The Organizers Helpful?
If you’ve never heard of a show chances are your customers haven’t heard of it either. Check the show’s website and social media. See if a lot of people are following the show. See if people have left positive reviews.
It’s also important when you’re figuring out how to sell at craft shows to find out if the show organizers will be helpful or antagonistic. You’d be surprised how many art shows and craft events think it’s okay to treat their sellers poorly — it’s not okay. Check around about the show organizers — poor feedback is hard to keep hidden.
Do Customers Come To Buy And Do They Like What They Find?
While not all fellow sellers will be willing to share details about their experience, show customers are usually more than happy to. Search online for customer feedback and reviews. Pay attention to what they say!
You can not only learn if customers were buying you may also get a sense of how well the show was run, whether the show organizers looked after the needs of customers and sellers and whether those customers are planning to come back again to buy more.
How Much Is The Show And What Do You Have To Report To The Show?
Part of knowing how to sell at art and craft shows is knowing the cost up front for participating in a show. Figure out how much you need to sell to break even and to make money — and don’t forget to include your travel expenses, food expenses, hotel expenses and anything else you need to attend the show.
Make sure you’re comfortable with the cost of the show and what you need to report to the show. Some shows want a percentage of your sales — which means you need to tell them what you made! Flat fees are often easier and less hassle.
Find Out Exactly What’s Included With Your Show Space Or Booth
Find out exactly what will be provided by the show. Is your space inside or outside? What if it rains? Will they provide electricity so you can run lights? Do they provide a canopy tent (see our guide to Best Canopies For Craft Shows)? Do they provide walls between booths? Do they provide tables?
Depending on the show you may need to bring some or all of the supplies yourself. Make sure you know what you need to bring and that you can fit everything into your vehicle to get it all there!
Don’t Forget About Getting Online At Art And Craft Shows
Not set up to accept credit cards? Read our guide, Accept Credit Cards At Craft Shows. It’s important!
If you don’t have the ability to accept credit cards you will lose sales! So make sure your credit card system is working and you can get online to use it. If you can stop by the location before you sign up to test your cell/data service, do so. And find out if the event or show offers free wifi access too.
Understanding How To Sell At Art And Craft Shows Means Bringing The Right Supplies
What you need to bring depends on what is provided by the show (see above) and then what else you will need to sell successfully.
Common items to bring to shows include a canopy tent, tent weights, folding tables, lights, a credit card system (like an app and credit card reader for your smartphone) and plastic covers for your tables. For outdoor events bring a portable heater — along with a fire extinguisher, just in case!