When I first started Booty Beltz (check out one of my very first articles!) my goal was to wholesale to as many stores as I possibly could. I hadn’t been to many craft shows, and back 7 years ago they were not nearly as plentiful as they are today. But, my very first craft show was life changing! After dealing with endless store buyers, line sheets and NAFTA, I was thrilled to finally sell my belts directly to the end customer. It was so much fun and I loved being able to bring a bunch of stock, sell my heart out and then leave with a wad of cash!
At first, I just signed up for any craft show and festival I could find. This lead me to become a travelling gypsy and I did at least 20 shows a year all over Canada. Some were fantastic and some felt like torture! I soon learned that you needed to do a little research before you mailed off an application.
Here are some tips to help you find the most successful shows:
- Ask around. Crafters are friendly folks and love to give advice about what shows rock and which do not. Don’t be shy to email your peers or just approach them at festivals and shows
- Check out their press page. Does the show you are considering have lots of amazing press? If they have substantial media coverage, chances are they get pretty good attendance
- Contact the organizer. Ask them about previous attendance, how long they have been in business and marketing plans. If they are hesitant to give this info to you it should be a red flag
- Check out their social media. Do they have 150 Facebook and Twitter follower or 5000?
- Read the about page. Are the people running the show experienced veterans or total newbies? Do they look like they are fun and personable?
- Trust your gut. If you get a good vibe from their website and the people running it seem cool, it might be worth a shot
Remember, so much of your success comes from your own attitude. Even if a show is slow, remember to turn lemons into lemonade and make the best of it. You never know who you might meet or what other opportunities might come out of it.
Jenna is the founder of Make It University, an online business program for creative entrepreneurs. After running a successful accessory company for over 8 years and producing one of Canada’s largest craft shows, Make It! The Handmade Revolution, Jenna loves nothing more than to see people do what they love as a full time career. She is also a certified Etsy Educator and teaches sellers how to rock their shops.