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athena1277

Have you ever had a booth at a craft fair?

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My 17 yo dd needs some advice.  She’s gotten to be very good at crocheting and her new job at a craft store has her wanting to make lots of stuff.  A friend of mine runs a big holiday craft market and told her she can work and share a space with her dd and not have to pay the booth fee.  The 2 girls are excited about the opportunity, but my dd is unsure how best to prepare for it.  Please share your best tips, especially about how to price items and how much to bring.  She will probably have a lot of smaller items, like ornaments and stuffed snowmen.

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Price them clearly and individually if possible. I will never, ever ask for a price. 

People will be handling the items, so maybe have a sample out to look at and the others packaged in ziplocs or something. Something easy to sort and grab. 

There's really no way to tell how much to bring! You don't want to look scanty, but you also don't want to have so much on the table that people figure they can always come back later. She can have so much on the table and backups underneath, perhaps. 

If she can have a few more elaborate items, I think that attracts attention even if they don't sell. 

I can't help on specific pricing for crochet items, but I'd try to cover several bases at a holiday market without making myself crazy. A few baskets of simple items at just a dollar or two each often gets people to start looking, and kids will often buy these items. I would consider these base items to be essentially an advertising cost. If her space is super limited, I would skip it. Then people looking for gifts usually have a set idea of what they are going to spend by category - $5 or $10 for Secret Santa and teacher gifts, $20 for the neighbor friend (up or down depending on your area). Have items in those range, or preferably a bit above with a quantity discount; $12 each or 2 for $20. 

What I have seen people do with embroidered towels and other decorations is to have a set that covers each season. Snowman for winter, flower for spring, sun for summer, leaves for fall. You could have the set of 4 priced at one amount, and then maybe one with additional holidays or themes for a higher price. Whatever you put into sets, don't sell individually. 

And again, if she has the time and inclination to do a few bigger and more elaborate items, that will pull more people in as well. 

 

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Hmmmm.  Yes.  Not small craft fairs, but sort of.

I grew up with a traveling artist mom.  She did the east coast circuit of high end craft and art shows, some high end street festivals.  She did about 30 shows a year.  They were from FL to NYC to MI.  Juried, difficult to get into, expensive. Her work was in the Smithsonian, and some cool places, but shows supported her.  I later supported myself doing that same art show circuit for four years or so.  Lots and lots of shows.  So maybe not the exactly same scale, but some thoughts:

Make some big attention grabbing things, and plan to sell lots of little things.

Plan your display.  Make it look organized.  Don’t throw everything out on a table.  Keep labeled boxes underneath with extras. Price clearly, and don’t forget that if she has small items - add a little sign with a deal like “ornaments $8 or 3 for $20” ... suddenly she will sell many groups of three!  🤣  For pricing small crocheted items, small frames could be nice, next to a basket of whatever items.  For ornaments, a foldable mesh fireplace screen can be a great display.  Neaten up your display at slow points, through the day.  Take snacks and water.  Take a cooler with lunch!

Don’t forget bags.  I liked cello bags (I bought printed ones), with tissue paper, tied with ribbon.

Lots of extra change.  A cash box is helpful, for coins, a crossbody bag that opens easily is best for bills.  I would worry about handling cash with covid, now.  I always took cards, but that doesn’t make sense for one show.  Will she take checks?  You’d be surprised how many people would ask that!  I did, never had issues.

Is that helpful at all?

I hope she has fun!!!

ETA:  I couldn’t say how much stock she should take.  I sold out at my first solo show, so I’m no help!  It was fun, though.  You could ask about attendance, how many people generally attend, and try to gauge.  But, hard to say with covid.  I’d have a lot of questions about distancing, etc, too. 
 

 

Edited by Spryte
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On 6/29/2020 at 10:42 AM, athena1277 said:

Please share your best tips, especially about how to price items and how much to bring.  She will probably have a lot of smaller items, like ornaments and stuffed snowmen.

I have never had a craft booth, but I do crochet.  It can take a long time to make something!  I would do this:  plan on bringing things that can be used as gifts.  Check out crochet earrings.  They are beautiful, but they do involve a different sort of yarn/string.  If she is skilled enough to crochet with that material, then it may pay off because she is doing something small, giftable, and a jewelry item (might be able to charge a bit more for her time).  Other than that I would say to make a rack of scarves--scarves are very popular, and there are tons of patterns to make ones that are unique.  

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My mom used to sell at craft fairs when I was a girl and I have helped at them in the past, but it's been a long time.  I also enjoy going to them.  Last winter I went to a small craft fair and a woman was selling knit items. I bought a stack of mini wash cloths - they were the perfect size - maybe 6" square.  I gave them as a gift along with some pretty goat-milk soap.  I love cute yarn washcloths.  

What does she like to make?  hats? blankets - small stroller blankets are a thing now, right?  Does she crochet little snow flakes? I would love a set of those...

A colorful tablecloth is nice, maybe a sign or banner pinned to the front of the table with her business name.  Something to get things up off the table will help catch the eye of shoppers - maybe a hat stand thing like this - hat stand.  Ooooo!  Look at this cute booth - she doesn't have a billion things, and it looks bright and fun (and not like a little old lady booth!)

She can take some yarn and have something to keep her hands busy when it's slow.

I think she will have fun!  I'm a little jealous - there's something awesome about working a booth at a craft fair!

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https://www.bellascustomcrochets.com/Blog/55  I posted a link to this cute blog above - she has lots of great craft fair advice - I keep clicking on her links and finding more ideas!  Your daughter should read through her do's and don'ts!

My daughter recently started an etsy shop or her art/craft.  It has been open for about 6 weeks and I'm totally surprised and delighted for her success.  She keeps getting sales. Just a minute ago, while we were eating dinner we heard the little "ding" of a sale. So exciting!  I think she needs to actually raise her prices...  She has advertised on her social media, and then her customers have shared their purchases and her info has spread to people she doesn't know. 

Anyway, your daughter could start with a little etsy shop as she preps for her show.  The set up was fairly easy for my dd and she has had fun with selling her items.  It might be a fun way to get things going for her show, and sell items that are "left over" afterward.

Edited by WendyLady
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I only know how my aunt runs hers. My aunt sells American Girl doll clothes. She has about 10 dolls set up on 2 tables wearing the outfits - all the outfits are kept in baggies under the tables in bins labeled "Coat" "Cowboy" "pajamas" etc.  One bin under each table has bags. She carries her money on her in a fanny pack. The walls of the booth have clothes on hangers and some signs. Since she does this weekly, she will often have one new outfit on display showing "Available Next Week". If she only has 1 or 2 of a specific outfit left, she will display as "Limited Quantities". She actually has a lot of repeat customers who come with their granddaughters every week or month to pick out new outfits. This set up works well in that there is a set inventory that is organized, the display area for the customer is clean and neat, and she can help a customer from any area of the booth. 

So, for crochet - I would lay out embellished items, washcloths, etc and hang blankets, scarves, etc. Think about grouping like items together in a deal - a scarf and a bracelet for example. Baby blankets could be displayed on a doll wrapped up.  

Make sure she has bags and an easily accessed money system. Lots of hand sanitizer since she will be handling cash. Have everything priced - most people don't like to ask for prices. A comfy chair and some yarn for downtimes. 

I know nothing about pricing. Bring a variety of items - she can either have everything unique (which means you need a lot of display space) or the same item in a quantity (better for "inventory", but may not draw as many customers if booth looks bare). 

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Wow, her paintings are really neat! Etsy shoppers LOVE custom art like that. She should consider adding pet portraits (I see there is a dog in one!). 🙂 

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For me, personally, one thing about crochet items in particular is that so many at craft fairs and such are in colors and patterns that are not modern at all, like in a way that I'd never have it thrown over my couch or something (or wear it) because it would be too clashing. (It's not like I'm on the cutting edge or anything, I just mean in general).

Since your daughter is young, she's probably using more modern colors and patterns anyway, but just thought I'd throw that out there. 

Eta: I'm another one who will rarely ask for prices. I really don't like it when the price isn't visible.

Edited by Jentrovert
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45 minutes ago, MercyA said:

Wow, her paintings are really neat! Etsy shoppers LOVE custom art like that. She should consider adding pet portraits (I see there is a dog in one!). 🙂 

She's working on a cute one now with a couple sitting on a couch holding a dog and a cat! Super cute!!  

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1 hour ago, WendyLady said:

She's working on a cute one now with a couple sitting on a couch holding a dog and a cat! Super cute!!  

She should for sure change the wording to something like 'loved ones, including pets' and put a pet-only example or two in the listing. People won't always think of it unless you explicitly list it and show it. And people will spend some crazy money on pet-related items, lol. 

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2 hours ago, katilac said:

She should for sure change the wording to something like 'loved ones, including pets' and put a pet-only example or two in the listing. People won't always think of it unless you explicitly list it and show it. And people will spend some crazy money on pet-related items, lol. 

Great idea!  Just shared it with her - thanks!!

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