Craft Fair Trial and Errors

So life lately has been a little crazy… I quit my second job to become a crafter FULL TIME. It’s scary, but it’s my passion, and I LOVE it. I recently did a craft fair in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and got some great advice from a fellow crafter. “Do not give up!” She saw it was my first time at this fair and I was struggling with the wind from the lake affect almost blowing my tent to the next county and she had some kind words for me. I love the crafting community, they (so far) are very kind, welcoming, and helpful people. They watch your tent when you have to use the bathroom, they chat with you during the fair, and help save parking spaces for you afterwards.

lake geneva

The view from my tent in Lake Geneva was very gorgeous! It was also soothing to hear the water all day. The sun was shining, and the boats were buzzing. The wind was blowing… On day 2 the wind was so bad we were holding the legs of the tent with our full body weight to keep it from bending and breaking. Stuff was blowing off the tables left and right. Other crafters were giving us advice, like taking the sides off the tent to let the air through, and lowering the tent a few notches to strengthen the legs which actually helped a lot. We even tied weights to the top of the tent and let them hang to the ground, and some crafters had long ratchet ties from the tops of their tents at an angle into the ground with spiral dog leash steaks and that seemed to help them too.

tent in lake geneva

We had bags displayed on peg board and the wind wanted to take that thing home! The weight of the pegboard was doing damage to the tent, since we hung it from the top. Some other crafters had metal racks that were free standing, and the air flowed through them much more freely. I’ll be ordering those soon!

lake geneva 3

There were a LOT of great crafters to check out. I saw so many dogs, and it was great for people watching.

lake geneva 2

There were gorgeous buildings along the coastline, and a paddle boat giving tours all day.

After much trial and error, I’ve compiled a list of the things I bring to the fairs. Here’s a PDF of my checklist for the craft fairs. —> Craft Fair Check List Sheet

I know my list is specific to what I do at the fairs, but it may help some people! I compiled it from a bunch of other lists I’ve seen. Washing your hands with your drinking water at your tent after eating an apple and letting your hands air dry -vs- wet wipes… no brainer.

Some other advice we got from other crafters- Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to sell wholesale. Make connections and talk to the people around you, always. Build those relationships, you’ll be seeing a lot of the same people around!

I hope this helps some of you!


3 thoughts on “Craft Fair Trial and Errors

  1. I’ll be participating at the local handmade craft show this December (it’s my first time ever doing something like this), so thank you for sharing your craft fair check list. I read that you recently started working full-time on your own craft business, and I was wondering if you would have any tips for a novice. One challenge I have is striking a balance between expense and “income”. On one hand I would like to at least cover for the expenses spent on all the materials/tools that go into making the handmade crafts, but I’m always afraid that the price I set for the handmade items to break even might steer people away. Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts and I look forward to hearing from you 🙂

    1. I wish you the best of luck on your venture! Finding a balance in spending vs income and pricing is always hard for me too. I found a chart for pricing that I trip follow somewhat- but I lower the prices anyways because people at craft fairs won’t spend what people on Etsy would. The chart states that cost price is your time + materials. Figure your time as a skilled crafter is worth at least $15/hr. You wouldn’t take a job for less doing what you do and your time is worth something! If cost is materials plus time than wholesale is that x 2 and retail is cost x 4. I realize this marks up items quite a bit, and you may not want to go that high, but you definitely want to do more than break even! I try to earn back what I spent and then enough to pay the bills. Don’t ever sell yourself short! And good luck to you!

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