STOP procrastinating and START selling at craft fairs.
How to find your fair and get in.
Are you ready to start selling in person? Have you applied to a craft fair and gotten the dreaded “maybe next time” email? This blog will show you how to find the fair that best fits you, and how to submit an application that will get you accepted!
1. Start small
Don't stress out about applying for huge fairs right off the bat. Work your way towards it by trying some smaller, in-person selling events first. For example, you can partner with a local store or coffee shop to do a pop-up. You can host a small selling party for your friends and family members. Try selling at a church bazaar or a local community center event.
2. Find the fair that best matches your brand
You are more likely to be picked if you are applying for a craft fair with a similar aesthetic. Is your brand minimal and modern? Look at Porter Flea in Nashville. Maybe you repurpose barn wood or make organic soap; the Market Square Farmer's Market loves homegrown, Southern goods. Do you sew stuffed animals shaped like banjos out of vintage dresses? Retropolitan Craft Fair is your place.
Whatever it is that you make, you are more likely to find your ideal customer at a fair that looks like your brand.
You can check out our list of craft fair markets in the Southeast to research the fairs that look and feel like your brand.
3. Don't just tell them, SHOW them
Think you’re ready now? Let's look at how you can best represent yourself when introducing your brand to a craft fair. Time to apply!
Most online sellers will say that photos are the number one way to make sales. This same principle applies when you are "selling" your brand to a craft fair. Show them what you've got with these craft fair application photo tips:
- Use all of the photos you are allowed. Most applications will ask for 3-5 photos. This seems obvious, but don’t miss a chance to show yourself off!
- Show a range of products. Show them what you plan to sell at their event. Include your most unique products and your best-selling product. You can also tailor your photos to their fair. UT Vol fans love orange and white, so maybe I will show a product that includes those colors.
- Show your products in use. Context is everything! If you make jewelry, show it being worn. If you make throw pillows, show them on a couch. Whatever you make, show them where it lives.
- Natural light and clear, focused photos are key. Having clear, bright, professional-looking photos will help you to build trust. You don’t need a big expensive camera or a fancy photo studio to make it happen. Try using a piece of curved, white poster board next to a window.
- Show off your craft fair setup. If you have a really cool booth design and have a great picture of it, add it as one of your photos. Only do this if you are allowed five or more photos in your application.
For more tips on product photography, check out this blog post.
Most applications will ask for a short bio about your brand. Show them who you are instead of merely telling them by using visually descriptive language. Instead of "Cold Gold is fun yet minimal," you can say, "Cold Gold uses the nostalgia of 90s Claire's earring sets with the sleek, purposeful design of a pocketknife." (P.S. This is also a great tactic when writing your dating profile - HEY-O!)
Can't think of where to start? Here are some questions you can answer to start thinking about WHO your brand is, not just what it is. You can also pretend your brand is a close friend and you are introducing it at a dinner party.
What do you make?
Is there a personal story to why you make your craft?
What makes your products better than other similar products?
If your brand had a favorite band / magazine / food / region of the country / animal, etc, what would they be?
What are words others have used to describe your products? (If you don't know, ask some of your friends what they think!)
Photos: PurlBKnit, Paula and Waffle, Phillips Forged, Wind Blown Jewelry
Lastly, pay attention to the details! Here are some pieces of info to keep in mind:
When is the last day to apply for the fair?
Does the fair require that every item you make be handmade?
How much space will the fair give you for your booth?
When can you load into the space, and how much time do they give you to set up?
Do you need a state sales and use certificate to sell at the fair?
These tips are a great step towards finding your fair and getting accepted. Good luck, and happy (in-person) selling!