Craft Shows/fairs

christopherhOctober 20, 2013

OK, who has been to or done any shows this year?

We're right in the middle of our busy season with a show just about every weekend until the first weekend in December. And from here on out, the shows are all two or three days.

Has anybody seen anything different? What about something old that's come back?

I'm seeing book folding making a comeback. It was popular in the late 80s and now I see some exhibitors doing it again.

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I am still doing local shows - none further away than 200 miles. I have to cut down on them as I have always gone it all by myself and my body is taking longer to recuperate afterwards... I only have 4 more craft shows this year with Farmer's Market in between. I have one two day show as I don't have to set up and break down each day... I have not seen anything new this year - sad really... Will update if I see anything new...

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 10:20AM
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By book folding, do you mean folding the pages of hard cover books to create a shape? I make the angels out of old religious books or hymnals. I have seen Christmas trees and snowmen.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 1:21AM
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I'm trying to come up with something new myself !
Did you see anything this fall Chris?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:54PM
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What I have found since the economy crashed and still is in the toilet, is that the customers want USEFUL items. Well made QUALITY items that don't collect dust.

Unless the show is a higher end show, the magic number is still $20. Over that, and customers look for something they don't normally see, or it must be original in every way. At a higher end show, one run by professional promoters, this rule doesn't apply, as they advertise to a broader audience.

Customers are starting to complain about the number of "jewelers" at the shows. Customers want a variety at shows, and no show should have any more than 10% of the exhibitors selling jewelry.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:31AM
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All good points and advice. I know as a shopper I'm tired of seeing so much jewelry also. Much of it is very pretty, but not much is unique. Even 20% would be a big improvement! I'm working on some ideas, but don't know if I'll be ready by spring with new inventory.
Good luck to everyone!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:24PM
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Jewelry seems to have over-run the craft shows. As well as the order it ready made and sit and sell booths. Good handmade crafts are getting fewer all the time. My friend has been making bowl mitts and has been doing very well. Couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was when she showed me. It is simply a square design, made with 100% cotton and microwaveable batting, like used for potato bags, She puts 4 darts about half up between corners making the square form a cup. The bigger the square the bigger the bowl can be that fits. Simply put it under the bowl before putting it in the microwave and it has it's own pot holder wrapped around it to get it out of the micro and can be left on to protect the surface you sit the hot bowl on. It is a very clever idea and since she has started demonstrating so to speak at her shows her sales has really picked up. just sitting on the table a person doesn't know what it is. I think she sells them for about $5 to $8 depending on the size. Hope this idea helps. I can try to post a pic if anyone is interested in seeing it.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 9:55AM
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I have one and am blown away that it is under $10... Very handy and lots of work. I understand that we are not able to get $$$ for our hand made items, but this is a bargain... I quit making the tortilla bags as Walmart makes/sells them for $4.00 - My potato bags have gone up to $10 and STILL going strong...

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 10:25AM
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Your potato bags are well worth $10 grandma bonnie! I bought two locally (support local economy and artisans was my thinking) and the one I gave my mom singed and blackened in a couple spots. So this person apparently is not using all cotton! :( I never saw her again so maybe she realized there were problems with her methods.
I have a cheapo microwave that doesn't get very hot and mine seems fine. Maybe my fabric is 100% cotton and Moms wasn't? Anyway, Never mind pototes - I cooked Brussel sprouts in it last night. What a wonder! Just like roasted in minutes. I just finished them up with some spices in the oven. Amazing flavor and time saver. You won't run out of customers until everyone in the country has at least one, lol.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 10:04AM
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I quit doing most of the craft shows in December. I did machine embroidery on microfiber towels, bibs, beanies, aprons and more. I did pretty good the first 3 years or so and I did have some regular customers come back but I found out most just don't want to pay $10 for a bib or $8 for a towel when they can go to Wal-Mart and pay half that. There is a show going on now that we have done the past 4 years that we aren't doing this year and I know at least 3 other vendors that didn't go either, sales have just been going down too much.

I"m now selling craft supplies on Etsy and doing better than I would have at the shows. As for products there is too much jewelry and too much commercial products at the so called craft shows anymore. I don't want to go to a craft show and buy tupperware or avon but that's what so many are doing now.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 12:17AM
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I know I really don't understand how some of that stuff wormed its way into craft shows.
I've noticed that supplies do sell well, and tools, thinking of ebay and etsy. I guess the good side of that is that lots of people want to make their own crafts. I'm working on developing a new kind of "tool" myself. But not sure I can compete with China ultimately.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:16AM
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I am cutting back on the shows this year - my choice but am still having fun. I tried a new show last month - hand made items only ... No advertising so I made my booth and gas $$ back only... Oh well, I didn't have to go far. I'll do my old favorites - just fewer... Of course, the potato bags plus I've picked up girls softball as I now use iron on vinyl to put the team/girls names on the neck coolers. Enough to keep me busy... I'm doing the Porterville Iris festival at the end of this month! To those of you who still do shows, I have found that I can advertise on the back of my business cards. If you like, I can show you what it looks like...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:00AM
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I'm slowing down too. We're down to about 15 or so shows this year. All within a 100 mile radius. The farthest I'm going is down to Chester, NJ to a show that I've been doing for decades. It's worth the 5 hour trip.

But I've noticed the younger people have no appreciation for handcrafted quality, and the price it commands.

I'll give you an example. I do a number of shows with one particular artist. During the show I watch people look at his work and ooohhh and aaahhh, and literally shriek when they look at the prices. I hear them walk past my booth and I hear comments like "He's crazy for asking so much". They have no idea of the amount of talent required to do it. Marquetry is becoming a lost art.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hudson River Inlay

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 7:46AM
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