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Finally able to do shows again!

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Angie Gail

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We (my mom and I) were finally able to our first craft show of the year a couple of weekends ago and we made 9x back what the booth fee cost! It was an outdoor show so it wasn't very expensive. It was also our first outdoor show. My mom sews and I make soap/bath salts/lotion. We just started doing shows at the end of last year and only did two. We were hoping to have a full slate of them this year but that didn't work out. We have another outdoor market show planned for next weekend and we'll have our booth decorated for Christmas so that will be fun.
 

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jcandleattic

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YAY!
All of mine have been cancelled for the rest of the year, and most counties have been asked to stay at home, and if our numbers keep spiking, we will be on total lockdown again. :(
 

Angie Gail

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Thanks! We're going to have to set up a little differently for the next show because the tents/booths are right up against each other so we'll set up where people will come inside the booth. It's a lot of work but it is fun and so far we've made a profit at every show we've done.

wow go you! Tell me, what were your biggest sellers? Did anything surprise you?
We sold a good mix of all the things we had but I was surprised that the small jars of bath salts didn't sell very well as they are by far my bestseller online. I also make Texas shaped soaps and they were a big hit.
 
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lunasol

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lovely!! I am not there yet but would like to do shows once I get better at soaping.. may I ask an estimate of how much does a booth cost? I know it would vary from show to show
 

jcandleattic

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I know it would vary from show to show
That's exactly right and it's hard to give an estimate. For example, my shows range anywhere from $20 a booth per day all the way up to $200 per day. It will depend on a lot of variables. Inside/outside, table provided or not, venue, location, key demographic, etc.,
Best way to gauge is to go to some shows in the locations you want to sell in and talk to the venue representatives.
 

dixiedragon

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Obviously not recommending you attend shows now, but in the future, ask the vendors how many years they've been attending etc. My mom went to one show and realized that almost all of the craft vendors were first time. It's not a good show for crafters - it's a community festival with food and kids activities but few people buying crafts.
 

Angie Gail

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The most expensive we've done was a two-day indoor show that was $250 and this most recent one was $40 for an outside booth. Outside is generally cheaper and a lot of times are one day shows.

I use the festival.net site to find shows in my area and it also has info about how many years they've been around and what the average attendance is and how to apply. That's how I've found all the ones I've done so far.
 

AliOop

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I use the festival.net site to find shows in my area and it also has info about how many years they've been around and what the average attendance is and how to apply. That's how I've found all the ones I've done so far.
I just looked at Festival.net, and it seems like all they do is sell promotional items and swag. Is there a different part of the site where one can find the calendar of events? Or is that perhaps not the correct website address? Thanks for your help!
 

cmzaha

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The most expensive we've done was a two-day indoor show that was $250 and this most recent one was $40 for an outside booth. Outside is generally cheaper and a lot of times are one-day shows.
I am glad you did well at your first show. In my opinion, 250.00 is way too expensive this day and age for a two-show in my opinion and almost impossible to make any money at those types of shows. Back 10 yrs ago when the economy was good and craft shows were extremely popular you could do well but now with the competition, it is very hard. The problem with festivalnet and others like it the promoters are expensive promoters which I learned my first year not to use. But to be fair it is hard when your first start. The best is to talk to vendors at the craft fairs about where they do shows, make friends with them even sharing your product with them. In my last few years of doing shows I would never do any over $60 per day and that was a 3 day Holiday show that I knew I could make at least 2k. I even gave that one up this year, since they cannot have their cookies that brought in the crowds and had to limit vendors. This is a twice a year Craft Fair to raise money selling Ginger Cookies. In So Cal many weekly farmer markets, most are shut down now to crafters are $60-$75 per day and not even close to being worth the money, it is a losing proposition. Plus I would never consider working with the promotion company that has eaten up many of the small promoters So the CA area. I will finish my rant, I only recommend, especially to anyone in So Cal to stay away from the expensive venues it has really slowed down here, do not think because it is an expensive show it will be good. My best weekly market which I lost due to covid cost me 10% of sales. To go to this much work and walk away glad you made booth space is just not worth it, that means you lost money.

As for booth setup, I will mention you can set up 4 tables with a 2' walk space in the front of your 10' tent, or 8 tables with a walk-in. A little side note, when selling in a high Asian populated area they do not normally come inside a booth, even with the proper invitation signage up inviting them in we found they would not come inside the booth. Just many things to consider, when learned that tidbit when attending a very expensive Cherry Festival, and it was not the promotion company that had the courtesy to inform us of such.

Sorry, for the long post but you learn a lot when selling in these venues for 10 + yrs. Others here also will have a wealth of info because they have been selling just as long or longer.
 

jcandleattic

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In my opinion, 250.00 is way too expensive this day and age for a two-show in my opinion and almost impossible to make any money at those types of shows.
I don't believe that to be necessarily true. It's going to depend on the market, how well it's advertised, etc., as well as a lot of other factors.
Not this year since it's been cancelled, but my $200 2-day show, in October is typically my best show and I normally bring home at least 10x -15x my booth fee at this one show.
The one I do in November for the same amount doesn't yield as much of a return, but I still do well enough to make it worth my while.
 

Angie Gail

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I am glad you did well at your first show. In my opinion, 250.00 is way too expensive this day and age for a two-show in my opinion and almost impossible to make any money at those types of shows. Back 10 yrs ago when the economy was good and craft shows were extremely popular you could do well but now with the competition, it is very hard. The problem with festivalnet and others like it the promoters are expensive promoters which I learned my first year not to use. But to be fair it is hard when your first start. The best is to talk to vendors at the craft fairs about where they do shows, make friends with them even sharing your product with them. In my last few years of doing shows I would never do any over $60 per day and that was a 3 day Holiday show that I knew I could make at least 2k. I even gave that one up this year, since they cannot have their cookies that brought in the crowds and had to limit vendors. This is a twice a year Craft Fair to raise money selling Ginger Cookies. In So Cal many weekly farmer markets, most are shut down now to crafters are $60-$75 per day and not even close to being worth the money, it is a losing proposition. Plus I would never consider working with the promotion company that has eaten up many of the small promoters So the CA area. I will finish my rant, I only recommend, especially to anyone in So Cal to stay away from the expensive venues it has really slowed down here, do not think because it is an expensive show it will be good. My best weekly market which I lost due to covid cost me 10% of sales. To go to this much work and walk away glad you made booth space is just not worth it, that means you lost money.

As for booth setup, I will mention you can set up 4 tables with a 2' walk space in the front of your 10' tent, or 8 tables with a walk-in. A little side note, when selling in a high Asian populated area they do not normally come inside a booth, even with the proper invitation signage up inviting them in we found they would not come inside the booth. Just many things to consider, when learned that tidbit when attending a very expensive Cherry Festival, and it was not the promotion company that had the courtesy to inform us of such.

Sorry, for the long post but you learn a lot when selling in these venues for 10 + yrs. Others here also will have a wealth of info because they have been selling just as long or longer.
I didn't know that about Asian people/culture, very interesting. We did another show this past weekend with an $85 dollar fee (outdoor/one day) and we made almost $400. It's not a huge amount but so far we've always made a profit at craft shows and the things we sell aren't real expensive. This isn't my primary income source so I'm okay with that for now. We did better last year but that was before the 'rona. There was a pretty good turnout though and we've got one more (another $40 one day show) in mid-December and I hope people will really be in a shopping mood then.
 

cmzaha

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I didn't know that about Asian people/culture, very interesting. We did another show this past weekend with an $85 dollar fee (outdoor/one day) and we made almost $400. It's not a huge amount but so far we've always made a profit at craft shows and the things we sell aren't real expensive. This isn't my primary income source so I'm okay with that for now. We did better last year but that was before the 'rona. There was a pretty good turnout though and we've got one more (another $40 one day show) in mid-December and I hope people will really be in a shopping mood then.
For me $315 is just not worth the effort once I deduct food for the day, gas, packaging, time etc, it leaves no profit. My weekly market I lost would earn me $400-600 in sales at a $40.00 per day charge. That was worth all the hard work.

@jcandleattic, the problem in So Cal is living expense is extremely high with Job losses also high, creating a low disposable income, so a 100.00 booth fee is hard to make and has been for several years. I have watched and talked to many vendors attending well-advertised high-priced, high traffic Craft Fairs and Holiday Markets take a batch. It is really sad with all the hard work, time, and expense that goes into doing such shows.
 

Angie Gail

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For me $315 is just not worth the effort once I deduct food for the day, gas, packaging, time etc, it leaves no profit. My weekly market I lost would earn me $400-600 in sales at a $40.00 per day charge. That was worth all the hard work.

@jcandleattic, the problem in So Cal is living expense is extremely high with Job losses also high, creating a low disposable income, so a 100.00 booth fee is hard to make and has been for several years. I have watched and talked to many vendors attending well-advertised high-priced, high traffic Craft Fairs and Holiday Markets take a batch. It is really sad with all the hard work, time, and expense that goes into doing such shows.
I'd certainly like to do better but I'm glad we're at least making profits. Hopefully more and more people will start coming out as most of our regular monthly markets just started up again around Sep/Oct. I definitely think we'll keep doing the cheaper, one-day outdoor shows as there's more profit margin.
 

jcandleattic

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@jcandleattic, the problem in So Cal is living expense is extremely high with Job losses also high, creating a low disposable income, so a 100.00 booth fee is hard to make and has been for several years. I have watched and talked to many vendors attending well-advertised high-priced, high traffic Craft Fairs and Holiday Markets take a batch. It is really sad with all the hard work, time, and expense that goes into doing such shows.
Sorry that has been your experience. That has not been my experience at all pre-Covid. Now what happens next year - well, that remains to be seen. All my shows this year have been cancelled, so once next fall rolls around for me it will be interesting to see what happens.
 

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I don't believe that to be necessarily true. It's going to depend on the market, how well it's advertised, etc., as well as a lot of other factors.
Not this year since it's been cancelled, but my $200 2-day show, in October is typically my best show and I normally bring home at least 10x -15x my booth fee at this one show.
The one I do in November for the same amount doesn't yield as much of a return, but I still do well enough to make it worth my while.
I agree. I think advising makers that these shows aren't profitable is rather one-sided. There are variables that affect every maker's area differently. In my area, many times the cheap shows aren't profitable because far too often they're flooded with MLM booths. I've learned (and it's been a hard lesson) that I'm only profitable at Handmade Only shows. In my area "craft show" is a very loose term, if you're new to the game and unsure it's always best to check with the organizer if it is handmade only or open to all types of vendors. In my area that means that I also pay a higher booth price to get into those shows, but I've discovered that it's worth it. I do have a few low price shows that I do (one is $10 booth fee and the other is $30) but my sales are 50x that. I got lucky with those two I think. I used to try annual shows twice before I gave up, but now I'm just vetting with a heavier hand.

This year I've done two shows, all others have been cancelled, and I have one more on the books the end of this month. Can I just say that 2020 has been nuts? Two months this year I have made more at my soap biz than my FT salary, and the way November is going I will probably do it again this month. This is so not normal for me, typically after mid-Oct I might make a few hundred in sales... but right now I'm looking at 5x that, just based on what's on the Wait List. I'm not sure if it's the awareness of hygiene, the support small business movement, or that I finally got my product lineup in-line with what people actually want... but it's making sooo happy!
 

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