Are You Making Money At Craft Shows?
Author: Natalie Goyette
Article source: http://morganarticlearchive.com/. Used with author's permission.
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
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 customer feedback.
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 other booths.
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 wish.
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
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
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
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
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 more selective. 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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