Perhaps you are already selling handmade jewelry at craft fairs and art shows but not enjoying great sales. Maybe you want to expand your reach from your Etsy sales pages or your website’s shop and enter the realm of the real world? No matter where you are in terms of selling your handmade jewelry in a craft or jewelry show, there are always ways to improve on the situation. In this article, we are going to cover some fundamentals of jewelry and craft show selling, and many of our tips are going to be quite useful to even the experienced makers.
Ask the Big Question
No matter your level of experience, it really pays to ask yourself a hugely significant question: Am I working the right fairs and shows?
The answer to this question involves a lot of different elements, and you need to be honest and realistic as you respond. After all, choosing the right venues makes the difference between fair to “blah” sales and selling out while also taking custom orders. So, how do you get to the latter? Consider these points:
- Did you take the time to actually identify your target customers? Jewelry is a form of self-expression, and if you are at a fair or venue where your customers are unlikely to shop, you won’t make sales. One expert suggests you always “be a customer first” at any show or fair to be sure it is the right fit for your audience.
- What patterns do your target customers have? Would they be likely to shop at a farmer’s market and craft fair? Maybe they are specifically oriented towards a certain style such as “earthy”, “modern” and so on. Only by knowing what “other” patterns your target customers have can you choose the right fairs and shows. For instance, would they even go to a fair or show? Would they be more likely to shop at a music festival?
- Can you afford it? The answer is always yes. Why? Because you cannot afford NOT to develop a presence. As one article in Entrepreneur indicated, a single show in California lasted three days and saw more than “$4 million in artwork from more than 330 exhibitors” sold. Giving artists the rare chance to connect with buyers, it is also an easy way to make sales, and is actually one of the most affordable ways to do so. If you cannot underwrite the cost of a booth, most allow sharing and splitting spaces. Your market research can even help you find compatible vendors selling items your audience also wants or is likely to buy.
Naturally, with that last point about affordability, it is a good time to discuss the budgeting. Running a booth means investing in the physical structure, the space, inventory, materials and more. Sit down and create a line item report for every single item – right down to the last staple or nail. This is the only way to know how to pass on the costs of the show or fair site to buyers, i.e. pricing everything accordingly. You do have flexibility in pricing, but you cannot make any real profit from your sales until you know the actual cost of selling at a show or fair.
Once you have figured out which shows and fairs are for you, what it costs and how to get yourself in place, ask yourself how you intend to tempt your customers to approach? After all, you are but one of many, and up against others who may have done all of the same research and planning. Sharp looking displays that hit on your audiences’ style preferences is the surest approach. Figure that into the budget, too, and you will have a booth or table at the ideal venues for making optimal sales and enjoying success.
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