The Other Side of Craft Fairs
+ Are craft fairs worth it? +
We ask ourselves this question all of the time. It’s a lot of work putting together craft shows. We need to frame everything, price everything, decorate an eye-catching booth, and transport all items in the early mornings. We dedicate an entire day to speaking with people face-to-face, and, we hopefully make a sale by the end of the day.
I recently attended a very small craft fair in Kittery, Maine. I was one of the only painters at the fair, while most of the crafters were in jewelry, knitting, and pottery. Most of the items available were holiday themed, which was fitting since this was a holiday craft fair. My paintings were not exactly in the same market, so I was happy to make my one and only sale that day. It was a painting I had for a long time and one of my favorites, so I was pleased to finally sell it to a happy customer.
I had my doubts as the hours went by and I hadn’t made a single sale. Suddenly, a man approached my table and handed me his card. He owns a small gallery in Kittery, and he told me to give him a call about exhibitions he was planning for next year. I was surprised by this connection I made, and I realized that this day had not been completely wasted.
Less than two weeks went by, and I finally gave him a call. My expectations were to discuss submitting maybe one or two pieces to his gallery. The reality was much different. He wanted me to come by and look at the space, and determine if I was interested in a solo show or a duo show. I was completely shocked and overwhelmed by this opportunity.
Once I told my mother about the phone call, she said, “You see? This is why you should do these small shows and craft fairs. You never know who you’re going to meet.”
To answer the question, “Are craft fairs worth it?” My answer is yes. You’re putting yourself out there, meeting new people, and exposing yourself to the world in order to get your name out there. I would never have ever guessed that my one day at this small craft fair would result in a possible solo show. Even if you feel yourself drifting, doubting the time and energy you put into these shows, it never hurts to try.