Are You Making Money At Craft Shows?
If you are involved in the crafts business, and are
profitable, you are among the rare breed who have successfully
combined art with business. If, however, you still have yet to
show a profit (or enough profit) after a show, this article may
get you going in the right direction.
Whatever reason you have to enter the craft show business
world, you probably will have a big wake-up call when set your
intention to move from pastime to profits. Because you may not
make a profit initially (it could take as long as two years to be
in the black) make sure you love the business, that is, producing
your craft product as well as selling it.
You need to give yourself a realistic amount of time to
establish your business as well as learn the industry too. Start
out slowly to avoid debt, and use your profits to learn and grow
your craft show business.
An online survey revealed several major issues affecting
Finding Time 28%
New Ideas 14%
Slow Sales 14%
Finding Supplies 10%
Although craft shows are not the only place an artisan can
sell wares, it is generally the best starting place, as it is
fairly easy and inexpensive to get into small local shows to
begin, and then build from there.
Craft Shows offer a short-term commitment of time and money,
(you also won't incur any travel expenses) and you can easily
assess your results quickly - before you commit to larger, more
expensive craft shows. You'll be able to change prices, spruce up
displays and add inventory based on the outcome of each show and
Your display booth is like a portable store you pack up and
take with you. But because you have less inventory than a typical
retail store, you are far more flexible. You can make adjustments
more readily. You can test new products without having to
manufacture large quantities. You can experiment with different
prices and signage. You can ask your customers what they like and
what they are looking for. And you can see what is selling at
By selling directly to your customer, without a distributor,
you get to keep the full profit minus supplies, overhead and show
costs. Since most craft shows are on weekends, you have full
control of your time and the freedom to create your products when
You can also involve your whole family in the business as is
common in husband and wife teams. Often the children help with
production chores or at weekend craft shows. It's a great
opportunity to spend time together and teach children business
You can do as many or as few craft shows as you desire,
working as much or as little as you want. You can travel anywhere
you would like to do a show, and perhaps use your trip as a
business tax deduction. The craft show lifestyle is not for
everyone, and you'll find out quickly if it suits you.
There are many factors affecting your ability to make your
craft show business a financial success, among them are: the
state of the economy, competition, quality & need for your
product, pricing, displays, choice of shows, cost of supplies,
show fees, show promotion, attendance at the show, your sales
ability and more.
But if you're wondering if anyone is profitable as an artisan
selling their creations at craft shows and fairs, the numbers
show that this is a big business. According to a recent CODA
(Craft Organization Directors' Association) survey, the craft
shows market is a more than $14 billion industry. The survey also
revealed some demographics of the typical professional
The average age is 49 years old
Approximately 2/3 are female
Almost 2/3 work alone in a studio
Around 79% of the studios are in or on residential property
Nearly 20% work with a partner
More than 15% have paid employees
Over 75% belong to professional craft organizations
The average annual income from crafts is $50,000
At least 52% of annual retail sales come from craft shows
Since most crafters work from home, for the convenience and
lower costs, managing their business around personal obligations
presents the challenges of dealing with distractions,
self-discipline and time management. Juggling all the demands on
their time and energy takes planning, commitment and systems.
You have to determine for yourself the level at which you want
to be involved: as a full-time profit- making professional or as
a part-time hobbyist making some extra cash.
When first starting out in smaller, local shows, keep a
notebook with you to record your observations, sales, the
weather, customer feedback and anything else you think will help
you learn what you need to improve at the next show. Ask
questions of your customers when they seem interested and don't
buy. Find out what might have made them purchase from you if they
didn't: lower price, different materials, other colors - or maybe
they were "just looking."
Build your confidence and sales abilities while working
smaller shows, you will see your progress as you move on to
larger venues. Talk to other more seasoned vendors to pick up
whatever you can learn from them. Ask them where other craft
shows are and what they see as hot trends.
To initially find your local shows, check your newspapers, the
Chamber of Commerce and other local civic and charitable
organizations. Ask at the nearest hobby or craft retail outlet.
And of course, you can use the Internet. Once you become part of
the craft show community, you will probably know about more craft
shows than you have time to attend. That's when you can become
Natalie Goyette shows you how to make your craft show
business profitable in her best selling ebook:
Craft Show Success Secrets. Visit her site:
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