All right, artisans and vendors. Are you ready for this? It’s time to take the plunge!
Yes, you’re on your way to becoming a successful handmade business owner. You got yourself some inventory built up. You may have even begun selling online. And huzzah! Just like that it’s time to start thinking about applying to the Fall craft fairs.
Oh, you thought you’d just stay home and sell online? Well, that’s okay. But I always suggest giving the craft fair circuit a go, even just to confirm you don’t want to do it. However, you might just find that you love it! There’s nothing quite like the excitement of the doors opening and crowds of customers rushing in to ooh and aah over your creations, and most importantly, put some cold, hard cash in your hands.
Granted, not all craft fairs turn out to be doorbusters and it does take some testing and tweaking to find your best shows. Ultimately, with some front-end detective work, research, and networking, you just might find that you really love meeting your customers and selling to them face-to-face. But how to find fairs in your area?
I’m glad you asked! I’ve done a little bit of research for you in hopes that you find it helpful. Here are some handy dandy ways and places to find craft fairs in your area.
Free Online Services
FestivalNet.com (formerly Festival Network Online) is one of the premiere festival listing services available. You can sign up for a free basic membership to search for fairs and festivals in your area. You can filter your search by month, state, and radius from your zip code as well as by type of fair. The listings will show the basic information for the show and you can then search online for the event’s website and contact information. For about $60/year you can sign up for a professional account which will give you all the information you need to apply–though for your first year doing fairs and for smaller businesses, this would be overkill.
FairsAndFestivals.net, similarly, has a comprehensive list of craft fairs all over the country with a filtered, searchable database. It also includes helpful articles and vendor listings. Poke around and see what you can find … But don’t get too distracted. We’re on a mission.
Eventbrite.com is another searchable database of events in your local area. It lists not only fairs and festivals, but classes, meetings, conferences, and fundraisers. This site has some great social networking capabilities and I think the site will continue to gain popularity with event organizers and promoters in the future. It’s worth a peek.
Etsy Teams can be a helpful method of gathering information about local craft fairs. Do a quick search through the teams and find one in your area. Join up and check out their listings of local fairs. If you don’t find a thread listing local events, check with the moderator to see if you can start one!
Etsy Local is a hidden little gem filled with information. Simply enter your location and desired dates and you will receive not only a listing of local events but details on other handmade sellers who have already committed to the show.
Local Event Calendars
Search out your local community event calendars online. They can often be found via the Chamber of Commerce for your city, news agency websites, elsewhere. A simple “<my city> event calendar” Google search should bring you plenty of helpful results. These calendar sites often have many more listings than the larger national directories. They can be a treasure trove of craft fair finds.
Many craft fair organizers are enjoying the benefits of the free advertising afforded by social media. By searching on Facebook for your locale and “craft fair” you may find either a listing site or a vendor group that is dedicated to sharing information on community events. Facebook can also be a great place to find your desired event once you’ve learned its name from one of the larger sites. Many shows are creating their own page and uploading an application right there for your convenience.
I know, sometimes we think of Craigslist as just a place to sell things and forget that it’s often a hub for community resources as well. Search in the Community and Event categories for “vendors,” “craft fair,” and “craft show” to get a listing of upcoming events.
Keep in mind that some of the larger fairs fill up quickly and may have started accepting applications months (even a year) prior to the event. Don’t worry though, you can still have great sales at smaller shows and can use any fairs you participate in as a learning experience for the next, bigger, more successful show on the horizon. You can do this!
To make your application process go a bit more smoothly, I’ve analyzed my years of experience with craft fairs big and small and created a printable Craft Fair Tracker Worksheet. With this form, you can compile all of the important information for possible fairs including craft fair details, contact information, payment information and more! Print out as many copies as you need and keep your planning organized and in one place – it’s been so helpful for me. I think you’ll love it, too. You can find yours in my free Business Resource Library for Crochetpreneur subscribers only.
Price Your Products Like the Pros
Includes: the exact formula I use to price my products for maximum sales and profit while attracting my ideal customer.