Articles

2011 Fairs and Festival Trends

February 2011

Image: Filomena ScaliseImage: Filomena Scalise

For crafters and vendors who make their living offering their artwork at craft shows, fairs and festivals, there is much to be learned about trends and expectations each year in order to make the most of each event. By keeping aware of what is expected to be popular, both in handmade items and sales methods, you can make sure that your artwork has a step up over the competition.

You will need to consider the upcoming trends for craft fairs, shows and festivals and you will need to learn how you can use those trends to make your events more successful than they ever have been before. You may find that some of these trends will work well for your own artwork. If you choose, you can take advantage of knowing what will be popular this year and tailor your artwork and sales habits to meet. Here are some of the 2011 trends that you will need to know and know how to use in your favor.

How the Economy Affects You

It is certainly true that the downturn in the United States economy has definitely had a negative effect on all types of businesses, including artists who sell as vendors at fairs and festivals. However, there is definitely a good outlook for an upswing in the economy and in sales in this coming year. 2011 has promise. However, if you do not take advantage of this promising outlook, you will still find your sales lagging.

No matter what, the economy is always a factor. Denying this will only lead to disappointment for you down the road. We all know that the economy has slowed immensely over the past couple of years. However, analysts and economic professionals have indicated that it is now moving toward an upswing. This means that in 2011, people are expected to be more comfortable spending their money. For craft shows, fairs and festivals, this means more patrons over all.

 ‘Tis the Season

You first thought that it may be nothing new to sell seasonal items at fairs and festivals. It is true that seasonal items have had their place, but it seems that for 2011, the trends are definitely pointing toward an emphasis on holidays and specific events.

If the types of items that you create can be seasonal in nature, then, by all means, make that work for you. Consider the season in which you will be attending the craft show. What holidays are within a month or two of the event? If you take this into consideration and then create artwork accordingly, you can take advantage of this heavy emphasis on seasonal this year.

If your artwork cannot be altered for the seasons or the holidays, then there are still ways to take advantage of this trend. Consider billing your work for the holiday or time or the year. In other words, if you create handmade jewelry, and the craft show you are a vendor at is in the fall, then it is the right time to create displays that emphasize that your jewelry would make an excellent Christmas gift. You can display your artwork, no matter what it is, to appeal to the need for seasonal items.

The Scrapbooking Boom

It seems that, for the past few years, two handcrafted items that have taken charge of the market are jewelry and scrapbooking. Many trends for 2011 indicate that handmade jewelry, while still popular, may have peaked last year. This is not true of scrapbooking.

In fact, with the creation of new and interesting items that go along with scrapbooking, like cards, explosion boxes, and purses, there will be no waning in the craft for the coming year.

Digital Age, Digital Art

Of course, any form of digital artwork is continuing to do well at craft shows, fairs and festivals. Many people who sell their photography at these events are turning to digital methods of altering, enhancing, and printing their images in order to make a picture stand out as fine art portraiture.

The digital method can be used in many different ways though. Digitally printed art can be used as a part of handmade jewelry, purses, handbags, and even clothing. In 2011, there will be a trend toward more and more creative uses of digital artwork in many different craft forms.

Selling in a Branded Society

One change in trends is not what type of items are popular, but instead is how buyers shop. Buyers now, consciously or subconsciously, look for branding. In modern times, buyers and customers are much more likely to gravitate to a branded company than they will an independent seller. This does not mean that your products need to be in all the major department stores. After all, you are still an artist selling your work at craft shows and fairs. What it does mean is that you need to create a brand for yourself so that customers will recognize your booth and keep coming back with repeat business.

You can create a brand for yourself in a few ways. First of all, you need a logo and a look and feel for all of your signs and promotional materials. You should keep this look throughout all materials so that it becomes recognizable as yours. You also need to consistently display your work in the same manner so that customers will recognize your booth right away.

This is a branded society, and in order for you to keep up in 2011, you are going to need to start creating your own brand.

Sales Approaches that Work Now

Sales approaches have changed for 2011 as well. There was a time when vendors and artists could display their work on tables and shelves and then just sit back and allow customers to come to them. However, this laid back attitude will not get you far in today’s world.

You have to find a balance between a proactive sales approach and being too pushy. Customers have no patience with pushy vendors; however, with the sea of competition, you must get your name out there through branding and through taking active steps like setting up email mailing lists or distributing flyers. Just waiting on customers to come to you will no longer work. You have to actively participate in selling your work.

2011 has many promises for the artist. As the economy begins to swing upward, this will affect the number of potential customers available. However, any good artists or vendor must understand the trends that are coming into play and then adapt their methods in order to work with those trends. Hope that all of you have a positive and successful 2011 at fairs and festivals.

Comments

Awesome advice.  Your articles have been very helpful to me. I am definitely going to use the advice in this one to better market my items.

By Mary Gaskins on February 22, 2011

Very good advice. trying to jump back in to this competivie biz. i was thinking the same thing.:)  You have to go with whats rolling as a whole.

By JULIE SHINABERRY on March 2, 2011

I’m a Crafter & Designer of Beautiful Quilts,Throws,from infants to Seniors. All the designs of Wild Life, Flowers, Precious Moments and what ever your child would like or looking for I can Design. I’m looking for Quality and Reasonable Shows.
Sue Carlson 651-702-1178 any orders or designs.

By Cozy Covers Sue Carlson on March 8, 2011

I’m in direct sales, designer for Celebrating Home.  I’m looking for any expos or events that I can set up a booth to display my products.  We also have a fantastic fundraising program when a school/organization can earn up to 50% profit selling select items of candles, gourmet food, etc.  You can visit my website at http://www.celebratinghome.com/sites/judyritter to see our complete line of products.  You can place ind. orders or host a show & receive rewards for your efforts.  We have the best hostess rewards in the USA.  Just email me at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for further info…thanks
Judy Ritter 859-781-4786

By Judy Ritter on March 20, 2011

Excelent advice for an artist getting back into the art fair biz after a very long hiatus (the early 90s!!) I will be working on branding and putting up a website, etc.  to accompany my ‘table’
Thanks!

By Jason Howard on March 22, 2011

I am a Tupperware consultant and we are planning a vendor fair and Bizarre at our church.  If you know someone who would like to participate all we are asking is $10.00 per vendor to go towards advertising and a bag of chips or cookies and a 2 liter for all vendors to share.  I will give more info as soon as all plans are set.  The date will be November 5th and will be in our church fellowship hall.

By Pam Blankenship on August 28, 2011

Where is your church located?

By Fran on September 7, 2011

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