Today I’m going to discuss one of the first things you’ll need to consider if you’re interested in selling your artwork at craft fairs—choosing the right craft fair for your work.
For some artists, craft markets won’t be the right audience for their work, but many artists do have a real opportunity to make sales and bring in commission work just by setting up a stall.
It’s a good idea to visit a market before you purchase a stall there, to see if the demographic, prices, and attendance make it worth your time. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine the right craft market for your artwork:
1. Are my prices too expensive for this fair?
How are you pricing your pieces? Are they on par with other crafts for sale in the market?
At any craft fair, original artwork is probably going to be one of the more expensive items on display. But people come to craft fairs to look for quality handmade goods—and they’re prepared to pay. Check out the stalls of other artists offering higher priced work and see how well they do. If you don’t see many people interested in high cost items, it might not be the fair for you.
That doesn’t mean you should give up altogether. You might be able to offer lower cost products and still make a profit. Many artists find they don’t sell a lot of original work, but make a decent profit with prints and greeting card sets at craft markets.
2. Does my work appeal to the people at this fair?
Who are the people visiting the market? What ages are they? What style are they most interested in? What kinds of crafts are popular? Who are they buying for—themselves or gifts for mothers, children or girlfriends?
It’s important to choose a craft fair that caters to your demographic. If your pieces are high end and the fair is all about quirky kitsch, then you’ll definitely feel out of place. Ditto if you’re selling modernist art at a vintage fair. A small fair filled with buyers who are into what you do will be more lucrative than a large fair where nobody is interested.
3. Is the quality of my work appropriate for this fair?
Look at the products for sale in other stalls. Are they of a similar quality to your own? Do you feel your work is inferior next to other stalls, or do you feel the overall quality of the fair is poor?
Remember that you’re name will be on the fair’s advertising, so you want to be associated with a fair that offers quality products. Don’t apply for a fair where you’ve seen several stallholders with sub-par products. If you notice, chances are, so will customers, and you don’t want your business to be associated with poor quality goods.
Likewise, if you feel your products are out of their league when exhibited alongside other items at the fair, look for another fair where you feel more equal. This doesn’t mean your products are low quality—just that it might be a few years until you’re ready to exhibit at that particular craft fair.
Choosing the right craft fair is important. . . it could be the difference between selling nothing, or selling out your entire stall. So make sure to visit different craft fairs in your area and get a feel for the different types of fairs and customers before you make a decision.