by Rena Klingenberg.
These craft show ideas highlight alternative places to set up your booth and sell your handmade items.
An additional benefit in many of these venues is that you’ll have virtually no competition from other sellers; most people don’t pursue these great DIY (do it yourself) craft show ideas.
So don’t be discouraged if good craft fairs and festivals are scarce in your area. Instead, consider some of these places for selling your handmade items.
Craft Show Ideas:
Do a Party Swap
If you sell your work via home parties and know someone who does some other type of home party (Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Stampin’ Up, etc.), try hosting parties for each other.
I have a friend who’s a Mary Kay lady, and a few years ago she and I hosted very successful parties for each other’s products.
I rounded up about a dozen friends who attended her Mary Kay party at my house, and she invited a similar number of people to attend my jewelry party at her house. Some of our mutual friends attended both parties.
We both experienced higher than normal sales. I think it may have been because the party guests felt so comfortable with us – we were perceived as another friend at the party instead of as an outside “saleslady”.
Set Up at
a Retirement Home
This is one of the most emotionally rewarding craft show ideas! Your customers there will make you feel very loved and appreciated.
You can provide a much-needed shopping opportunity to retirement home residents by bringing a selection of your handmade wares to them.
Many of these folks have a hard time getting out to shop – but they still need to purchase gifts to give. So be sure to provide gift packaging as well.
If you schedule your craft shows at retirement homes a few weeks before major gift-giving occasions, you’ll net some nice sales while providing a welcome shopping service to your customers.
The retirement home employees also will often come and shop from you while you’re there.
Craft Show Ideas
Any business that gets a lot of lunchtime traffic may be an excellent venue for selling your handmade items.
For successful lunch hour craft shows, contact restaurants, banks, and other local businesses where people go to eat or run errands during their lunch break.
Ask to set up a trunk show of your items there, in exchange for a percentage of your sales, or a donation to their favorite charity, or a free gift of one of your items.
In just an hour or two of being set up in a high-traffic spot at mid-day, you can have a very profitable show!
Set Up a
Profitable Fundraiser Show
A fundraiser show can be a great way to make sales – as well as grow your customer list.
In addition, you’re helping a worthwhile cause by donating a portion of your sales (which is much nicer than paying a booth fee to a show promoter!).
When you set up your own fundraiser shows, you won’t have competition from other craft sellers in your niche – and your customers are likely to buy more generously than they normally would since they’re helping a good cause.
Fundraiser shows also give you some wonderful, positive publicity.
There are a lot of possibilities for fundraiser craft show ideas. Nearly any organization you can think of – schools, synagogues, churches, hospitals, sports teams, band / orchestra, scholarship programs, children’s charities, halfway houses, foundations, and other nonprofit organizations – will welcome you to put on a fundraiser in their honor!
And you’ll have access to all of their customers and benefactors, who will of course be invited to the event (and will want to spend generously).
Learn more about doing fundraiser jewelry shows.
Sell Your Items at Work –
or at a Friend’s Workplace
See these excellent tips on selling your handmade items at work – and having your interested spouse, friends, and family members take some of your products to their workplaces.
Not all employers permit this, but many do – so be sure to secure permission first.
Co-workers can become excellent repeat customers. They also often appreciate the opportunity to do some shopping without having to make a trip to the store.
Open Studio Show
Why not get together with other artists to put on an open studio show in a public location?
A public place can hold more customer traffic than your home or studio can. It also offers the benefit of not revealing to strangers the location where you live and store your valuable inventory.
Working with other artists to put on this event gives each of you the benefit of exposure to one another’s customer lists – plus the customer list of the place that hosts the event.
The other artisans can also pitch in with the tasks of creating promotional literature for your event, sending in a press release to your local newspaper and radio stations, and arranging for any snacks or drinks you may want to serve.
Check with Your
Convention and Visitors Bureau
Many organized events in your area involve wholesale or retail vendors selling their products in booths – such as women’s career expos, gun and knife shows, garden shows, etc.
Although they’re not craft shows, these events are usually well promoted and attended, and are not likely to have other crafters.
And they can be great venues for selling your items.
To find out about events like these well in advance, call your local tourism commission, visitors / convention bureau, and chamber of commerce. Ask to be put on their mailing lists of upcoming events.
When you receive the listings, carefully consider each event for potential craft show ideas.
Set Up a Display
Where Tourists Shop
If your area attracts tourists, consider creating at least one line of your handmade items to target the tourist market.
Local handcrafts receive the second-largest total of travelers’ shopping dollars (after vacation T-shirts / sweatshirts). And over 70% of tourists buy gifts to give for upcoming holidays when they travel.
What do travelers like to buy? They love useful items that evoke the region they’re visiting – and that will fit easily into their luggage. They like unique mementoes and souvenirs of their travels.
So it’s worth looking into craft show ideas and opportunities in your area that occur during the main tourist season, or that target tourists in particular.
You can tap into this lucrative market very successfully if you do a little research and then design and package jewelry in a way that appeals to the people who visit your area.
See more on Creating Souvenir Jewelry.
Get Craft Show Ideas
from Your Customers
I’ve lost count of the number of times my customers have given me leads for shows, shops, and other places I might try selling my jewelry.
Many of these tips have really panned out into great opportunities – things I never would have known about without my customers’ helpful suggestions.
So make a point of asking your customers conversationally if they know of any other places you might sell your work.
You may even wind up with personal referrals for trunk shows or other opportunities, thanks to your kind customers who want to help you succeed.
“On the Go”
Craft Show Ideas
If your iPod, MP3 player, or cellphone can hold and display photos, why not load it up with a few dozen images of your handmade items?
Then no matter where you are you can show people a selection of your best work.
Often this kind of spur-of-the-moment, virtual craft show results in making a great sale while the customer’s interest is hottest.
This can be especially handy if (like me) the one day you don’t have any samples of your work with you is the day someone asks about the things you make!
How to Succeed
with These Craft Show Ideas
The key to success with doing these shows is to be sure to get the word out – to as many people as possible.
Email your customer list before every show – or send them a promotional postcard via snail mail. Consider personally phoning your best customers.
Encourage the owner of the venue to notify their customer list about the event. Or offer to send your promotional postcards to their customers while you’re doing your own mailout.
If the event is open to the public, submit press releases to your local newsmedia.
As with any show, the higher the attendance, the higher your sales will be.