These are my top tips for how make more money at craft fairs, as well as five craft ideas that I’ve found to be incredibly popular.
Craft fairs are the ultimate emotional roller-coaster. You spend hours and hours making beautiful products that you are immensely proud of. You price them according to the many hours of time and skill you’ve poured in. Then you watch as people pass by, barely glancing at your stunning creations. I’ve been there… a lot. But I’ve also been at craft fairs where I’ve had people queuing at my stall. I couldn’t figure out how to make sure that I’m actually making money at craft fairs. Sometimes it was worth my time, but a lot of the time it wasn’t and I wanted to give up.
And then it clicked- if I want to make money from it, then it’s about having a strategy and treating it as a business. I had to get into the right mindset.
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How to get your mindset right to make more money at craft fairs
View craft fairs as a long game
Like most things, craft fairs are certainly no get rich quick scheme! It’s very possible to make an extra thousand dollars or more each year by doing them. Although there are craft fairs throughout the year, in my opinion, the Christmas ones are by far the most worthwhile.
It’s better to make your crafts throughout the year, and then hit it hard at Christmas time- fit in as many (quality) craft fairs as you can.
But when I say it’s a long game, I mean even longer. The most successful stallholders are the ones who do this year after year. They know which craft fairs are lucrative, and they know which to miss- it’s hard earned experience!
Five bustling craft fairs are far preferable to ten with some hit and miss fairs in the mix. See the first year that you do it as just a trial. Which craft fairs were the most profitable, which products sold the best, and how was the experience at each one? Build this knowledge up and fine tune it year by year to make even more money at craft fairs.
Learn from other stallholders
Following on from this point is another crucial one- if you want to make more money at craft fairs then network with the other stallholders! Ask them about their experiences at different fairs and which are worthwhile.
I was at a craft fair recently and a stallholder told me about another fair where dinner is provided for stallholders, as well as complimentary tea and coffee throughout the day. This might seem like a small thing but it shows the value this place put on the stallholders. And sure enough, it was a craft fair where everything ran smoothly and efficiently, and one at which she made a huge profit. This was an amazing recommendation and this place went straight onto my list.
When the going is slow, head over and chat to another stallholder- you’re bound to receive tips, tricks, funny stories, and encouragement. And it certainly passes the time!
You can also join craft forums and Facebook groups for your area- you’ll glean a lot of useful information and it’s a place for you to ask questions whenever you need.
How to make more money- little by little
Profits really can be pitiful once the stallholder table fee and cost of materials are deducted, but if you make even a small profit at each craft fair then this is to be celebrated. After several craft fairs, this ‘little by little’ approach can easily add up to an extra few hundred dollars. And this will only increase as you fine tune your strategy year by year.
Practical Tips for Making More Money at Craft Fairs
Choosing your craft fairs to make more money
To make more money at craft fairs, I believe that we have to become choosy about the ones we go to.
In my city, there are close to a hundred Christmas Craft Fairs every year. Almost every school and church community runs one), but not all are well advertised or supported.
It can be all too easy to scrabble around on the internet looking for craft fairs to attend, and then booking one immediately when you find it.
This is why building a list is so important. Build up your list of the best craft fairs from experience and through networking with other stallholders, and stick to these. You don’t want to miss out on a table so instead of waiting for them to advertise, approach them yourself. Email or phone in late September or early October and ask if they are running a craft fair this year, and get your name down on the list. This method saves so many hours of internet trawling.
Of course, there may be times when you see an untried craft fair pop up. It’s still OK to go to these and suss them out for future years, but before you part with money for your table, you need to ask them about the service they’ll be providing for you!
My favourite craft fairs are the ones in which there is a large supportive community, so ask them about this. How many people do they expect, how are they advertising, and do they have anything linked to the craft fair to encourage people to attend?
Some schools schedule their school choir to sing at the craft fairs- this guarantees that these kids and their parents will all be present. Some places might have a local musician or a visit from Santa to draw in crowds. I think it’s important that there is something extra to entice people in.
Check how accessible the location is, as well as how many other stallholders there will be. Ask them how it will be laid out, and if they are limiting the amount of stalls selling similar crafts. I once went to a craft fair where they had placed me directly beside another stall selling incredibly similar crafts- it’s OK to ask to move! You’re paying them and they owe it to you to do what they can so the day is worthwhile for you as well.
Pricing your products right to make more money
Making more money at craft fairs requires you to price your products properly. There is some flexibility for pricing according to the kind of craft fair you are doing, and where you are.
In school craft fairs, I have been most successful when I have a range of crafty products that kids can buy with pocket money. Choose your crafts carefully so that what it costs to produce and what you can charge isn’t a massive mismatch. Set the profit that you want to aim for, but also have in your head the minimum profit that you would accept. Be willing to adjust.
The crafts I’ve suggested below are low cost to produce and can all be priced at around five dollars or less.
There is huge variation between countries and even cities as to what people are willing to pay for handmade products. Here in Belfast, I have been at many, many craft fairs where the stalls with higher priced goods didn’t sell one single item all evening.
I’ve certainly found that the lower I can keep costs, the more successful I’ve been. Remember that you can change your pricing strategy mid-way through the evening once you see how it’s going. Like everything else, it’s trial and error- find what works for you where you are.
Make your table stand out
Considering extra ways to stand out from the crowd will make you more money at the craft fairs you attend. I absolutely adore fairy lights and love incorporating them into a table display.
Think carefully about where you position your products so as to draw the eye. Bring extra stands and displays so you can make use of different levels. Also bring additional elements for decoration- ferns and berries are very Christmassy and will brighten up your whole table.
As to whether you display prices or not, there are both pros and cons to consider. If you don’t display your prices, then you will be able to engage with customers as they will need to ask you how things cost. I personally like to display prices as I know that for myself (as a definite introvert), I’d be much more likely to purchase something if I can see exactly how much it costs up front. It can feel like a lot of pressure to have to ask the stallholder and awkward if I then decide not to buy the item after all!
How to connect and make more money beyond the craft fair!
I said before that craft fairs are a long game. That’s why it’s so crucial to give customers an extra connection. You could start a Facebook group where you list new crafts as you make them. That way, customers who love your products have a way to purchase from you throughout the year. Have the details of your Facebook page on a business card, and give one out with each sale you make. This lets you build your network of repeat customers who will come to you- the ultimate dream!
FIVE CRAFT IDEAS THAT SELL
These were five of the crafts that helped me to make more money at my craft fairs this year. They’re so much fun to make and very popular with kids- fantastic if there are some craft fairs happening at local schools. I know you’ll enjoy making and selling them as much as I did.
1. Happy Hedgehogs
These little guys were my top sellers this year. I displayed them six at a time in a pyramid with a sign that read, ‘Happy Hedgehogs Seeking a Home for Christmas’. I had them right at the front of the table and they drew every single eye passing by. They look incredibly clever but are so easy to make. Check out these simple instructions.
Use old books that are about 100 pages in length. Decorate your hedgehog with large googly eyes (I love this huge variety pack). Use either assorted red buttons, cute pink buttons or these bright red pompoms for the noses. These red glitter pompoms were a huge hit!
The kids loved the pompom version, and lots of adults bought the button nose hedgehogs for their desk or as a gift for a friend. They sold like hotcakes when I priced them at £3.
2. Coaster Set
I made a huge range of these coasters and sold them in sets of four tied with bright ribbon and priced at around £5. The music sets and the map sets were the ones that I sold out of.
These were so popular as lots of people wanted a gift for someone who loves music or loves to travel. I did make some Christmas ones but they proved to be much less popular. I guess because you’d have to pack them away in January! You can buy tiles from amazon (12 ceramic tiles are $12.99) which are a perfect size for a coaster. However, I just went to a local tile shop and asked for ex-stock tiles. I got them for free which made my profit margin really good on this item. If you have a nearby tile shop then it’s definitely worth a shot!
You can also get this handy guillotine with measurements from amazon so that everything is clean and square and looks super professional.
I used a special Mod Podge that acts as the base glue and also the sealer. You can use varnish to seal it instead but just make sure that it’s heat resistant! It’s important to test these out for yourself for a good few weeks so that you can honestly tell your customers how they hold up.
I liked this YouTube video for making these products.
3. Sock creatures
For someone with limited sewing skills, these sock creatures are fun and not too difficult. I priced these at £5-6 and found that they appealed to kids of all ages.
4. Christmas rocks!
These painted rocks are bright and so visually appealing for your table. I found that the Christmas themed ones sold the best. I had to drop the price to £1, but once I did they proved to be incredibly popular. They are easy to paint in batches- much speedier than one at a time. I also found these acrylic markers to be such a life-saver as they sped me up massively. I did also use some acrylic paints with a very fine paintbrush. Don’t use sharpies as the color will eventually distort. Once I covered these in varnish they looked absolutely stunning.
5. Decoupage bottles
These wine bottles looked so smooth and pretty when I decorated them with this beautiful spray paint. (The wine bottle labels came off easily enough when I filled a basin with warm water, soap and vinegar and let them soak for a while).
I chose a gorgeous mint green color but I also loved how the black one looks. Remember to wear a filter mask to protect yourself- it smells pretty strong! I then decorated them with newspaper hearts and cute quotes (I used Snoopy ones from an old calendar I had). I also made a few with music sheets decoupage. Keep your eye out throughout the year for scraps of paper that would work well. These were so popular with kids buying gifts for their parents. Displaying them with flowers lifted the appearance of the whole table. I priced them at £4.
I hope that these tips and ideas for crafts have helped to inspire you to keep going with crafting and shown you how to make more money at craft fairs!
It’s not a get rich quick scheme, but it can be an amazing boost to your income- especially at the time of year when you might need it the most. Happy crafting!
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