If You've Ever Been To A Craft Show, Please Help!

Business By ANicole Updated 4 Nov 2007 , 10:19pm by pieceofcake1

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ANicole Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 5:38pm
post #1 of 28

I am doing a craft show in 2 weeks. Last year, at this show, they had 2000 people. I took the figure 1500 and took 35% of that and figured that would be my customer base.

HOWEVER, I did a search on craft shows here on CC, and it's all NEGATIVE stuff, about how people are cheap and don't spend over a buck, etc., etc. I had this whole elaborate idea and my stuff is going to be jumbo sized. My list is pretty much cookies, some brownies and chocolates decorated for the holidays since it's a holiday show. I was planning on taking orders for other things and giving some sort of discount for orders placed that day.

Now I'm freaking out because I am not working right now and we're so broke, and I've spent a ton of time and money on prepping for this. I don't know if I should cut my list basically in half considering what everyone has said, or what..?

About a month ago, one CC'er told me no matter how much you make, it won't be enough and you'll run out. Now I'm wondering if I made a huge mistake. The booth alone cost $80!!! Please please please give me feedback. THanks!


27 replies
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JoAnnB Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 6:10pm
post #2 of 28

It is true that customers can be cheap. Things for $1 sell fairly well. Packages of items can also go well.

But, the whole thing is a guess. However, if you run out, you run out.

Much of what you are planning can be frozen, so it shouldn't go to waste.

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krazykat_14 Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 6:14pm
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Ok, take a deep breath. Unfortunately, I've been through the craft show circuit, but I have survived and you will too! My mom was a tole painter for years and I got to help at her shows. Then I started doing jams & jellies at a friend's show which blossomed into sugar art at the same show...

Have you been to this show before as a customer? Do they have anyone else selling baked goods? If not, you're doing good. If they are, yours are better, don't worry. Don't worry if you sell out-that just means that you have more money to take home than stuff to pack up at the end of the day. Yes, people are cheap, so selling single (small) brownies for $1 might be the way to go, or individually package them- make sure you attach a buisness card to them so people who love your stuff can contact you for orders. Also, remember the people you're going to have at your booth: crafters. They LOVE cute things. Intricately detailed artistic stuff probably isn't going to work well here. Googley eyes probably will.

Words of caution: You will hear the dreaded craft show phrase and it will make you want to cry, but don't let it get to you. That phrase is (in one variation or another) "Oh, I could do that..." it's not you, it's not your talent, it's that they're too cheap to dish out the money for something. Yes, they might be able to do that, but they won't, so they should just pay you since you've already done it.

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MomLittr Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 6:33pm
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I agree, anything for $5 or less is a best bet. I am again doing a "craft" show at the assisted living facility my husband works at. Last year my best seller was red velvet cupcakes with peppermint icing (at $1.25 each). This year I am going to do a bigger cupcake variety and more cookies, as well as chocolate covered Oreos and chocolate covered pretzels........truthfully the workers at the facility buy the most and something easy to eat is the best. I also bring in some hand crafted ornaments, but nothing too expensive ($10 max). From years of doing straight crafts, I find that being able to sell just a simple cookie is a good feeling and folks seem to enjoy something sweet. Oh, another observation from doing these years ago, people will walk by once and look, second walk by they stop and look, but if they come back a third time, usually they buy something.


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sweetideas Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 6:46pm
post #5 of 28

I haven't sold anything at a craft fair but I agree with previous posts, cute sells. And if there's a lot of mom's, cheap and easy to eat will be what I would buy for hungry kids I am dragging with me. I would spend more for something I was taking home if it's packaged easily to transport with a stroller in tow. I would agree with finding out if there's other bakers there...it makes sense to be a little different. Good luck! I am in MI also! South of you...wishing you the best!

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Tide89 Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 7:00pm
post #6 of 28

I have a small purse and jewelry business and have done numerous craft fairs. One thing I've noticed is people tend to buy more from food vendors that have samples. Even if you bake brownies and cut them into small bite sized pieces that would draw them to your booth. Also, anything with a Christmas name this time of year does well. Last year at a Christmas show a lady had these cookes that she had baked with a small peice of a Snickers candy bar inside them. She called them "Santa's secret cookies"......she sold out of them in the first three hours. She also had a sign that said "Let us do your Holiday Baking!" then a paragraph about not messing up your kitchen...let them do all the work.... Just a thought! Good luck!

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pieceofcake1 Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 8:02pm
post #7 of 28

This is such great help..I am going in a christmas craft show on the 17th Nov.I am the only bake table. My mind is spinning. I love the idea about naming the cookies etc. I plan on making tons of my caramel corn, putting it in paper bags with a pretty red/green ribbon. Simple and low cost. Giving out samples is a good idea too. Good Luck.

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krazykat_14 Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 8:59pm
post #8 of 28

I don't want to worry anyone, but you might check with the craft show organizers and make sure that you have your proper permits/licensing in order. They should know if you need to be a licensed kitchen/bakery to sell food products. I would hate for you to get there, get all set up and have a health inspector swoop down upon you and close you down.

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pieceofcake1 Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 9:16pm
post #9 of 28

I have a health permit. Funny thing though our craft shows and farmers markets don't require any permits. Thanks for the heads up.

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bethola Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 9:17pm
post #10 of 28

I haven't done craft shows, but, have for MANY years done our church bazaar. It is a sad, but, true fact, that people want a REALLY REALLY GOOD deal! LOL Get it? Trying to be positive here!

Last year I made 8 oz. pkgs of White Chocolate Chex Mix. It contained 2 different kinds of Chex Cereal; pecans; M&M's and mini pretzels all covered in white chocolate almond bark. I put a price of $2.00 on each pkg. They DIDN'T SELL! Customers bought the .75 brownies or the .50 cookies. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't upset at all. It was what it was. I just brought it home and my family ate it.

Having said that, I'm in Western KY, not "up nawth" and since most people can bake themselves (esp. in my little community) sometimes it can seem like 2.00 is too much money.

GOOD LUCK! I hope it all works out well for you!

Beth in KY

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auntginn Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 9:22pm
post #11 of 28

Craft shows are like any other business. You need to do some homework before you delve in head first.

In the craft show, #1 have you been to one before that was organized by this group. #2 Location, Location, Location. where is this craft fair being held. #3 Advertising, how well was it done, by both you and the promotors, #4 who is their target base. Families are always on a budget, stay-at-home mom's may have a little less than 2 income homes, Seniors on a fixed income.

You may want to take less because you can create a demand for your goods and get future orders and a better customer base.

By the way, I don't think people who go to craft fairs are cheap, I look at it as persons who are looking for unique items and when they find it they will buy.

At all fairs or shows I participated in I always pull out the bells and whistles. The more you have to attract people to you the more people will come to you and then buy. So dress it up.

One last thing, I usually have a drawing. You might try a gift basket filled with your items. It will draw attention to you.

Good Luck

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ANicole Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 1:57am
post #12 of 28

Thanks for the feedback. I have never been to a craft show! icon_confused.gif This is why I am clueless. I hear this is a rather "higher class" one. I don't know if that's the right word. Just that the things for sale there aren't inexpensive, they're higher end. There WILL be another bake sale going on provided by some church group. So they are my competition. I didn't find out about this until AFTER I paid for my booth, even though I had asked in advance! icon_mad.gif

I am going to do this in as much of a professional way that I can. I am having t-shirts printed w/ our info on it to look really pro, I am going to have my brochures available. And I'm going to have a large sign with our holiday cookie flavors posted on it. I am dressing the table up with a red tablecloth and some poinsettia garland. I am going to wear a Santa hat, too. Try to really lay it on thick, ya know? I am going to have a $5 off cookie baskets that day only sign. Other than that, my prices aren't cheap. They range from 75 cents to 3.00 (sugar cookies). I'm going to put a sign on the sugar cookies and the candies that say "Stocking Stuffers". Whaddya'll think?! Oh, and also I'm going to email my customers and tell them they get a free cookie if they come to the show.

??? My average cookie price is $1 but the brownies are $2.75 (jumbo). Should I just ditch the brownie idea?

Thanks again!

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auntginn Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 2:33am
post #13 of 28

NOOOO !!! Change the name of your cookies and brownies. Invent unusual and/or exotic names for the taste and flavors.

That's how the pros in advertising do it. People will be curious and if you do put out samples, that will be great. (Example: its just not strawberry, its Wild Strawberry Parfeit)

If it is allowed and you can do it, I would say to place some balloon bouquets in your booth as well. Red & Green is festive. Red and Gold is elegant and dresses it up just a bit more.

Other wise, sounds great! Don't worry about the competition. That's what going to make you stand out.

HTH Good luck, we'll all be praying for you.

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krazykat_14 Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 1:31pm
post #14 of 28

(in my best Mickey the boxing coach from Rocky voice) Ok, don't worry about the church bake sale-shake it off, you can do this. Church groups have "little old lady stuff" like no-bake cookies and apple pie. You're different. You're high-end. You're GOURMET!

Jumbo brownies are great-especially if you make little drop flowers to put on top of them... bright red with yellow centers-to resemble poinsettias...

And I like the unique names-something festive is good. Reindeer Crunch for a snack mix? Fat-man's-failing for double chocolate brownies?

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CarolAnn Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 1:47pm
post #15 of 28

Without reading all these posts I'll just say that one of my favorite fall craft shows is coming up soon and my granddaughters and I are excited. My dd goes for the shopping and the girls and I go for THE COOKIES!!! Yep, we all pick a bag of our favorite and we walk and sit and munch. We usually get three cookies per bag and I pay a couple bucks a bag. They aren't decorated, just really good cookies.

Maybe this doesn't help with your question, but we're three very satisfied customers.

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CakeMommyTX Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 1:54pm
post #16 of 28

I've never sold baked goods at a craft fair but I have sold hand painted wooden crafts (jewelry boxes, paintings, picture frames) people were more than willing to pay the big bucks for something hand crfted and one of a kind. I attended one were there was a lady with her cakes and what not in the booth across from me and she was selling out of everything, she even sent her daughter home to whip up some more cupcakes. The thing that did sell the most was her individual packaged things like marshmallow pops and cookies on a stick, I think people thought she was more of a snack vender than a cake decorator. But at the end of the day she walked away with 980$, I only made about 500$ but it was still worth it. Good Luck! thumbs_up.gif

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ANicole Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 2:51pm
post #17 of 28

Okay, I can do it! I LOVE the balloon idea and the naming the stuff idea. Maybe I can come up with some creative stuff. And I agree that some simple decorations on the brownies may be in order. I had already planned on decorating the chocolate chip cookies...

Game on!

Thanks for the support, again!

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krazykat_14 Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 2:59pm
post #18 of 28

Ooh! I just saw a recipe for "Coal" chunks-a chocolate chunky looking cookie for "naughty" kid's stocking stuffers... they also had "Angel Kisses" a merinque cookie... from the King Arthur Flour catalog. That'd be cute. Celo bags with curling ribbon ties... very festive, and people might buy one to take home but eat it at the show and have to buy another or two to actually make it home!

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sweetideas Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 3:15pm
post #19 of 28

Ok, nothing important to say, but you've made me really excited for a good-quality craft show!! GOOD LUCK!!

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southerncake Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 4:47pm
post #20 of 28

I everyone has made such good points and given such great tips!!

I think the biggest thing to remember is what kind of show it is -- church bizaar/small community show versus large commercial show. IMO when folks go to a small church/community show they are lookking for small, inexpensive impulse items. When people attend these large commercial shows, a lot of times money is no object. Around here, most of these shows charge between $4 and $7 to get in the door and these ladies come in credit card in hand ready to shop, shop, shop!! They are looking for something unique that they (and their friends) have not heard of or tried. Once a buzz starts around a particular booth it becomes the "thing" they all have to have!

Good luck!

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auntginn Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 6:13pm
post #21 of 28

It goes to show that we can't always rely on all this negative stuff people have about craft fairs. We've had positive experiences as well.

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southerncake Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 11:57pm
post #22 of 28
Originally Posted by auntginn

It goes to show that we can't always rely on all this negative stuff people have about craft fairs. We've had positive experiences as well.

Exactly!! My parents did approximately 35 to 40 shows each year when I was growing up (they did wood crafts and small wood furniture) and it afforded us a lot of luxuries we would have never had otherwise. It also took my sister and I all over the east coast to places we would have never seen! Crafters are also a great group of people who were really fun to get to know!

Good luck to you!

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ANicole Posted 31 Oct 2007 , 1:41am
post #23 of 28

You guys got me excited about doing this again. Thank you for that. I am really excited about meeting the other vendors. I think I may meet a friend or two, who knows? icon_smile.gif

The coal cookies sound really great. I might substitute one of my others for those if I can find the recipe somewhere. Also, the meringue is a great idea. I love meringue!

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grumpyx07 Posted 31 Oct 2007 , 2:30am
post #24 of 28

I just did my first craft show last Saturday...I don't think I was prepared for it though. I was highly disappointed. I only sold 18 cookies at $2 and I made 300!

I was also selling my wood crafts and not one order or sell. And to make matters worse there were two other people that had chocolate lollipops and pretzel rods and those were selling like crazy.

This Saturday I have another and decided to make a little of everything. Some cookies, lollipops, oreos, pretzels and marshmallow pops. Plus, I think I'm going to decorate my table much better. I think that was my problem, I didn't have anything set up properly.

That is my advice, take time to get there early and set up your table. Also, when people pass your table talk to them and be inviting. I noticed the people sitting down no one came to their tables.

Oh! And don't forget some sort of shopping bag...that way when people by stuff from you have a bag or box to give them.

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MomLittr Posted 31 Oct 2007 , 10:14am
post #25 of 28

Grumpyx07, where in Jersey are you?

YoursTruly, did you happen to notice what prices that other vendor was charging for the pretzels, marshmallow pops, etc? I am curious as to what price these items seem to sell at.


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pieceofcake1 Posted 4 Nov 2007 , 8:30pm
post #26 of 28

I need ideas ladies....I am in a craft show in 2 weeks and am the ONLY bake table. I need ideas on how to package squares.brownies. I don't have time to order fancy boxes. Ideas please...I can get plain white ones but the lids will be closed..Do you think this matters, I know it sounds stupid but will people want to see whats inside?? Like I said I need creative ideas.

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ANicole Posted 4 Nov 2007 , 10:13pm
post #27 of 28

First off, you're lucky you're the only baker there. I asked ahead and was told I was the only one, only to find out there is a bake sale going on. That being said, I would not package anything that cannot be viewed without opening it. Personally, just as a shopper, if I was looking to buy a baked good, I wouldn't want to have to open it to see what's in it. I wouldn't want to touch it unless I was buying it because it's food. You don't want all those hands touching something, then if they don't buy it, it's kind of contaminated. I would definitely use a window box or, better yet, what I am planning on doing is only showing 1 or 2 of each item on the actual table for display only and then storing them underneath in tupperware (or on the side or whatever) sealed in a container. For brownies and the basic cookies, I'm storing in the tupperware. When someone buys one, I'll pull it out w/ one of those waxed paper sheets and throw it in a paper bag. As for the decorated cookies, they will be individually wrapped in cellophane bags w/ ties.

As for displaying the few cookies so that people can see what they look like and read a description, I am going to get a cheap-o covered cake plate for the mini cakes and put some of those in there. As for the brownies, I may just get a clear box for one of each, so that they can see/read the description, and like I said, I'll be storing the ones for eating down below in tupperware.


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pieceofcake1 Posted 4 Nov 2007 , 10:19pm
post #28 of 28

Thanks for the ideas. I like the idea of using the waxies and bagging stuff. Thanks again.

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