When To Say No To A Craft Fair

Aug 16, 2022

I've done my fair share of craft fairs in the past and more often than not, they were a complete waste of my time. This was useful to me and lead me to change everything over to online selling because I refused to waste days of my time. Instead, I could use those days much more proactively by putting my full attention into my online business. It was just a no brainer for me. 

But, some of the fairs were awesome, and I really enjoyed myself there. There were some fairs that I earned a pretty good whack at!

I'm going to be sharing some of my tips about craft fairs, how to know when a craft fair is going to get you sales, and when to say no to craft fairs. 


So how do you choose a craft fair wisely so that you give yourself the best chance of actually getting sales and making money? Well, there's a few ways:


Look at Other Vendors

Many organisers and events actually have all of the attending vendors listed on their website now (thanks COVID for pushing everyone online!). This means that you can look at the other vendors that will be attending the event, and see if they have the same kind of target market as you do. This is a good indicator of whether or not your items are likely to sell there. 

Also, don't be afraid to reach out to these vendors on social media prior to the event and say "hey, I noticed that you are attending the craft fair. I'd love to know if you have attended this event before, how you found it, and would you recommend it? Was the traffic good? What kind of people came to your stall/ event in general?"

Have a chat with them and get to know as much about the event and the people who attend it as you can. It's a great idea to build a relationship with a vendor before you go because then you will have someone to talk to when you get there.


Look At Event Photos

Look at the event's website, or Facebook group or Instagram hashtag and see how the event looks. If the pictures are full of customers and it looks busy and bustling, then you know that it's likely to be busy when you attend too. 

You can also look at the customers in the photos and see if they match your target audience. If the majority are older men but you sell dainty jewellery to female 20 somethings, then is this the right event for you to take your items to?

You can look on the customers Instagram profiles if it's not set to private, and really get a sense of who they are as a person, and if they match your target market. 


Facebook Event

Quite a lot of shows now create a Facebook event to promote the upcoming event. I always go and check out who has 'RSVP'd' and is attending and who are interested in going. I will go through their accounts and see who they are, and if they are in my target market.

I know I'm mentioning target market a lot, but it is vitally important that you attend events that your target market will be attending too. 

The more information that you can gather about the customers of an event before you attend, the more you'll know if the event is for you or not. 


Go To The Event 

Head to the event itself, especially if it is held often and really get a feel for it and if you'll sell well there yourself. Talk to the vendors while you're there and explain that you are thinking of attending as a seller next time. Say "hey, how's your weekend/ day going, is it going well?"

If they say it's slow or that not many people have purchased, then you know that it may not be a good fit for you. If they say that it's been great and so busy (and you can usually tell by what's left on their stall), then you know that it may be worth attending. 


Get In Touch With The Organiser

I always email the organiser of the event and ask what they're doing to advertise the event, and who they are advertising to. I also ask them who their target market are. Many organisers have a ready made PDF pack that they can email to you explaining all of this. 

The successfulness of the event will depend on how well the organisers are advertising the event. You need to make sure that they are putting a lot of money in to advertising the event, and they're doing their fair share of bringing people to the event, and they're not just charging you for an event that is poorly advertised. 


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So when should you say no to a craft fair?

I have a pretty strict no policy on events and often say no more than I say yes. That's because I'm all about the chill life, and I would much rather invest the time in growing my online business than wasting a weekend at an event. 


Does It Fit With Your Schedule?

If you know that you're going to have to move things around in your diary, or that you are going to be completely exhausted after the event, then do not do it. It is not worth the amount of money that you may potentially make at the fair if you have to then take the next 2 weeks completely off work/ off your business because you're so burned out. 

I know this from personal experience. I made £2500 at an event, but I was so burned out that I had to take 2 weeks off which lead to me not fulfilling my online orders which equated to more than the £2500 that I had earned. It made no sense for me.


Is The Target Market Wrong?

If your target market is women aged 18-25, but the people attending the event are older women ages 50+, then it is not worth attending the event. It is ok to say no to an event that your target market are not going to be at. You won't sell anything, you'll be exhausted and pretty fed up afterwards. Again, it's just not worth it. 


Warning Signs From Organisers

What do I mean by this? If you are getting ANY gut feelings or warning signs from the event organisers, then do not do the event.

If you email the organisers asking for more information as to what they're doing to get people to the event and also what sort of attendance numbers they envision, the ticket prices, and how many people attended the last event. They should be able to give you that information. If they reply and say "I'm sorry, we don't have that information", then this is a warning sign.

That is their business, and they must know their numbers and be able to provide you with all the answers in a relatively quick time frame. If they don't know the answers, is it because they genuinely don't know them which is a massive mistake because how are they going to run their business effectively? Or is it because they don't want to give you the answer because the numbers are bad? Either way, this is a big red flag and you should avoid them and the event.

I know this may sound harsh, but remember, you're making an investment in your business when you purchase a stall at an event. You need to know that it will make you money for your business. 


Scope Out Busy Times

If you attend the event prior to the one you're thinking about selling at, and it's after lunch on a Saturday afternoon, that place should be busy. If it's not, then do not attend the following event to sell.

Remember, you can ask previous stall holders what the busiest time was, or ask the event organisers. If the event is quiet when it should be busy, avoid attending the event altogether as a seller. 


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