Monday, December 8, 2008

Craft Fair Musings

So I finished my craft fair season--whew--I did 3 shows in all. I thought I would just post my general conclusions. This is the third year I've done them & I learn new stuff every year. This year I was doing the biggest ones I'd done so I didn't know what to expect & ended up making WAY more than I needed to.

Of course, most of it can be used next year. The items that had chocolate in them that didn't sell--well, I'm going to recycle the containers for next year & put the chocolates in stockings this Christmas. Those cute jars I made with nuggets? Well, I didn't sell many--I suspect it was because there are cheaper ways to buy chocolate & not because they weren't cute--I did get compliments on them (the purses did sell pretty well though--maybe because they were more Christmasy). So, I'm going to make them "card candy jars" & put my card candy (punched flowers, images I didn't use) in them. Then I'll advertise as for the "scrapper in your life". All of a sudden it's a much more unique gift & I think they'll do much better.

I also made tons of the SU! baskets (easy & fun to make--kind of addictive, really) so I still have a lot left. So instead of chocolate kisses, I'm thinking about making them into "gift card holders"--& lowering the price. Regular gift card envies from the store won't fit, but if I custom-make smaller ones, I can do it (see my Beach Basket from back in August).

I'm glad I had a lot of variety but I'd say next time I wouldn't make so much of each item except the ones I know from experience sell really well. So, next year the only items I really have to make are my best-sellers (the post-it holder sets, ring wine charms, domino pins/magnet ornaments (see pic--these things FLEW! I sold them at $3.50 or 2/$6), photo clips, altered notebook sets, rhinestone beaded pens, christmas card holders--but I'm not going to make as many of these items as I did this year) & I have enough of the other things left over to make the table look interesting. For example, I might have 20 post-it holders, 50 domino ornaments & 10 of the other things mentioned (that's to last 2 craft fairs). I like that the two craft fairs I want to do have some time in between to replenish & adjust pricing if necessary. Of course, if inspiration hits, I might try a new item---I did just get a "Melt Art" melting pot so you never know...

If you're going to sell cards, I definitely recommend a nice display rack that makes it easy for people to look through & of course, label the subjects. I didn't make cards specifically to sell but just used cards or cardfronts (put them on cards) I already had. The lightly embellished ones in clear envelopes on my spinning display rack sold much better then my cheaper, plain ones that I had on my table. I did have regular envelopes available if they wanted them in addition to the clear envelopes. I personally would not make extra cards to sell if you already have some lying around--I had less than ten cards for each subject and that was more than enough.

On a logistics note--don't forget a water bottle, a snack & some tylenol! I had a raging headache yesterday. After weighing all the time I spent preparing (usually during naptime on school days), I'm cutting back to 2 shows next year (besides--my youngest won't be napping next year). I've decided on the two shows I did at schools--St. Timothy's was my best in terms of profit & it's great because people I know shop there; Fox Mill Elementary, while less profitable (but definitely still worth it), allows me to sell as a demonstrator & is very close to my neighborhood & only half a day. The Herndon Community Center one was the most expensive table fee but I only made a little more than Fox Mill. It's also the same weekend as Fox Mill & that's really hard on the family. I woke up this morning panicked that my kids didn't have clean clothes for school but thank goodness, my husband had done the laundry on his own accord.

So, if you're looking into doing this craft fair thing, it's great fun but it does take a while to learn the right work/family balance (as in all things). Since I do this for a little extra play money & for fun, I think I've made the right adjustments for me. Hope this helps some of you :-)



  1. I'm in awe of everything you made for your craft fair! And thanks for sharing all of your learning with the rest of us. I love the dominoes!

  2. Thank You you it did take a lot out of me...hence my break. Have a Happy Holidays

  3. Sounds like you had a good craft fair experience. Thanks for sharing! I am debating (after doing my first show this past weekend) if it is something I want to pursue or not....

  4. Stopping by to say hi and how much I love your recent ideas!
    Amy J

  5. Glad you did so well at your shows! I loved doing craft fairs in the past and I hope to get on the ball so that I can do one in 2009. It's great that so much of what is left over can be used next year so it's not wasted.

  6. Thanks for the feedback... glad you did well! Your post-it holders and the domino pins are fantastic!

  7. Thanks for sharing your experiences with craft fairs. I love your glittering domino's - so cute!