Articles

What “Sells” at the Arts and Crafts shows?

March 2013
Best Selling Crafts that Will Sell

Image Courtsey: Lehigh Valley, PA / Flickr.com Image Courtsey: Lehigh Valley, PA / Flickr.com

What "sells" at the small and large arts and crafts shows and fairs? If you are asking this question because you want to start a business that is a "sure thing", or even if you are already working the arts and crafts shows and festivals and are doing market research, you should know one thing - there is no firm answer to the question. Rather than saying "this sells or that sells" we would say the following:

Think "Unique" - We can tell you that there are some very general categories of goods that sell well - jewelry, paper goods, bath and body goods, candles, and handmade clothing - you will not be able to sell your "take" to a high degree if it is predictable, like many others, or just "average". You have to put your own unique "spin" on the variety of goods you sell. Need some examples? Rather than just selling pretty or scented soaps, why not find a way to make them super eco-friendly. Goat's milk soap with organically grown herbs? Ancient formula soaps based on Egyptian beauty secrets? These are unique and will grab attention.

Think "Quality" - Here is an example of "how not to sell something that usually sells well". Let's say you want to sell beaded jewelry. You have some chunky glass beads that you whip up into a necklace, earrings, and matching bracelet set in around 30 minutes. Did you know that a few customers watched you do this and realized that you were seriously overcharging for stuff that took you less than ten minutes to make? If you are not going to go "unique", you have to definitely "up the ante" and boost the quality of the materials and the techniques. You cannot show clients that you are charging top of the line prices for things that are less than the highest quality.

Think "Like Others" - If you are stumped for a way to make your preferred goods in a unique way, just go online and look for some ideas. We are not advocating any blatant copies, but you can find a lot of inspiration on sites like Pinterest and Etsy. These are sites populated by people who make a full-time living from their work and who already understand the need to produce unique and high-quality goods in order to sell the most possible.

Use these three tactics and will soon see your numbers increasing, even if you only attend one or two art fairs or shows each year.

Comments

Such good advice. I’m a jewelry artist and I always remind myself to create pieces that my customers cannot buy at a department store for a fraction of the cost. My “best practices” include using high quality stones, pearls, crystals and metals and create a work of art. I’m not talking about something that’s over the top in high fashion. Make it wearable for the girl next door.

By forever diva on March 6, 2013

I think these ideas are great.  I do look at my competition BUT never copy.  I put my own spin on things and find that there are lots of people like my work.  I sell to brides - A BRIDES EYE VIEW at Etsy and there are so many talented people there!

Best wishes to you and yours, Pat

By Pat Snyder on March 6, 2013

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