Updated: Jul 17
For many many years I owned my own business and worked out of a brick and mortar. I knew when I woke up in the morning where I was going and pretty much what my day would be like. The only things I needed to do was have my product delivered and unpack and display it. When customers wanted what I sold they came to me. After many years and growing kids and parents who needed my help I closed that shop but never lost the love of being creative. When Covid came along I had a lot of time on my hands. I was indoors and pretty much going out of my mind until one day I watched a YouTube video on someone making soap. And so it began.
By the time Covid restrictions had lifted I had a pretty heavy supply of soaps on my hands. I would give them to my husband to take to work and give them to friends and family. One day a cousin of mine said you should really do this craft fair and sell your soaps, they are beautiful. At first I hesitated. This was new territory for me and sure everyone loved the soaps but then again they were getting them for free. Would someone actually pay me for my products. I said what the hell and signed up. It was in November and if nothing else there would be some Christmas shoppers who may be interested in them for Christmas stocking stuffers. I was on the third floor and the back room of an old building that had been converted into individual artists studios. Needless to say the room was not very attractive and I was sharing the space with three other artists. The night before we lugged all our stuff up the to the third floor and setup. For a first timer it looked really good. I brought a rug from home to put on the floor and set a table outside the door with cookies and cider and coffee to entice the weary. Long story short I did well over expectations and now I was hooked.
Fast forward to the spring. I hadn't planned any other showings during Christmas because most of them were sold out to vendors. Now here was where my first lesson began, you need to find craft fairs and sign up for them. I noticed other soap makers had a schedule of events for every weekend for the rest of the calendar year and began to panic. At this point I was booking anything I could because now I had made a pretty decent financial investment and if I don't get into places to sell (Pardon my expression) I'm screwed. So being desperate I did a flea market. Now I get to my point. As I'm setting up my table I'm realizing what is going on around me is not exactly what I'm doing. Tables of old furniture, books, jewelry, plates etc. This was basically a more organized yard sale and the customers there were interested in inexpensive not necessarily what I had. I did sell a few things but for a table that only cost me $10 I still made my money back.
So the point I want to make is this. There are a lot of talented crafters out there. I never realized how many craft fairs there were and how competitive it could be. If an artisan is at a craft fair they have gone to great lengths to be there. Preparing products, setting up tents, tables and chairs, stands for display all for maybe a 4 hour time period hoping to make back their expenses and a little more. All because they love what they do and want to share that with people. I have seen some truly unique items and ideas at these fairs and the people who make them are very proud of that. So a craft fair isn't a place where you will necessary be able to find something for a cheap price but where you will find a unique gift for yourself of someone else. These vendors are very accommodating and will do special orders if you ask. If you are looking for baby shower favors or bridal favors and you see an idea you like ask them if they can make that for you . Take their business cards or if they are offering you samples take them. These are passionate people who are doing a lot to be there because they love what they are doing.
Next time you drive past a craft fair park the car and see what's going on you may just be surprised.