Finding local craft shows is an effective way to make a living selling what you make. Regional shows help you save your travel costs and also are a great place for connecting with fellow makers. Selling at local craft shows can be a great way to build a loyal fan base for your products by putting you in front of customers that want to support the makers in your region. However, it is important to choose the right ones because each craft show has its own flavor as well as attracts a different type of buyer. So, you must spend your time learning about all shows in your area to decide to spend your time applying to and hauling your products the right ones.
Here are some ways to find the local art and craft shows that are suitable for you:
Many Etsy sellers don’t know that the best way to find local shows is on the site itself. The Teams section of Etsy has groups that are located throughout the U.S. with each team’s own forum being where members interact. Many local teams have an ongoing thread listing upcoming events of interest to crafters, such as SF Etsy. Try to find an active team with such a thread and access to upcoming events in your area.
Event Listing Websites
There are many event listing websites which keep track of craft shows throughout the U.S. You can get basic information on events from them and register for an account when you need to get more details. Here are a few event listing sites:
Community Facebook Pages
Many neighborhoods have their own Facebook pages for local makers to share information. On these pages, you can often find smaller organizations post when they are searching for vendors for upcoming events or you can let the community know that you are looking for art and craft shows and crowdsource a list of leads to check out.
- Create your plan
You should think about the schedule and the deadline when each item on your To-Do-List needs to get completed. Some factors to consider when creating your plan are:
- Suitable space
- The number of items
- Number of artists
- Event Day and Time (does it conflict with anything else?)
- Marketing and Promotion
- Signs and Directions
- Responsibilities and point of contact on the event day and crowd management
- Marketing and Promotions
This is critical, but a lot of fun. It is clear that the more people know about your event, the more will attend. Firstly, you have to create a flyer with all information about the event. This flyer can be printed, scanned, e-mailed, or posted on a webpage. You must make sure that all your marketing and promotions are consistent. Here are the most effective and maybe the least expensive ways to promote for your event:
- Word of Mouth: Every communication is an opportunity for you and your staff to talk about your art and craft event as well as ask to pass on that same message.
- E-Mail: This is the easiest step. Send e-mails to all of your contacts and then ask them to forward the information of your event to everyone they know.
- Local Organizations: You can connect with local organizations, churches, and clubs, and have them share the event among their communities. Consider the win-win proposal and how they can benefit as well.
- Social Media: It is simply word of mouth on the internet. For example, if you are using Facebook, you can create an event and invite all your friends to attend. If you are using Twitter, you can connect the event to your tweets.
- Advertisement: Advertisement is the last option as this is the most expensive. You can print flyers or buy advertising space in magazines, etc.
You know that a well-organized art and craft event can leave a long-lasting memory and can even help build lifetime customers for your business. The local craft fair or Saturday market are great places to showcase your crafting work; however, organizing your own event can provide a unique environment for attendees to connect with your business, resulting in more customers and sales. Although it’s certainly not as easy as opening your front door, if you follow these basic principles, it will not be too difficult but very effective and fulfilling.
- Involve your community
Involving the community around can help you reach out to more people than you have ever imagined. Your art and craft event can be just only you or as many of your friends as you like. Remember that the more the merrier and you can provide the attendees with a variety of options by connecting with your local art and craft community.
- Find the anchor
Every event should have a well-known artist to pull people in – the anchor artist. If you are not the anchor artist in your community, try to connect with one to participate in your event. This will establish buzz and credibility for your event.
- Create a catchy name
The name of your event says it all! Therefore, you have to create a catchy name for it. It should be intriguing, descriptive meanwhile showing that it is a local community event so people around you can relate. For example, The Fall City Stimulus Art Fair name not only describes the event but also intrigues and invites everyone to come to support their community.
- Connect with your local organizations
A great way to spread the word is to connect with your local organizations and invite them to help and collaborate with you. You can connect with your local charities and help to raise donations during your art and craft event. Another great way is to have a local business sponsor your event such as offering coffee and snacks for the attendees.