While reading about craft stories that became businesses, I found that most people eventually came to the point where they wanted a physical location. Some crafters turn to consignment while others start exhibiting at local craft fairs.
Craft fairs have a lot of benefits that include checking out the competition, exposure, networking and feedback.
Checking out the competition
Everyone and the world is at a craft fair, so it’s an outstanding opportunity to take a look at what’s going on.
Who’s selling what?
What are they selling it for?
What’s the actual quality of the items sold versus what’s really being posted online?
Craft fairs are a great source of information that you might not necessarily find elsewhere. A friend of mine was actively involved in the bazaar business for several years, and she made it a point to go around the fair a few times a day to see how things were going.
Ken Samudio is a marine biologist turned accessories designer whose flower earrings are sold by Luisa Via Roma, Modus Operandi and Bergdorf Goodman.
But it all wouldn’t have happened without his attending the International Fashion Showcase in 2014.
While there, his work was spotted by Sara Maino who was Italia Vogue’s senior editor and lead talent scout. Their emails led to him being picked for a profile on the magazine’s 50th anniversary and eventually, this led to his being one of only twelve designers shown at the Milan Fashion Week.
Think about the odds of that.
And all from a craft fair.
In Manila, he appeared in the 2016 MaArte fair for the benefit of the National Museum and in Manila Fame. Both are big, well respected trade shows with big opportunities to draw in clients, get a lot of press and get to know a market.
Peachy is an online shop selling craft supplies and polymer clay products.
In 2015 she was featured by Chasing Dreams Design Co., who talked about meeting her through the craft fair Pursuit Manila. It was an interview on her business and crafting and what she values, and it has continued to provide exposure to her, long after the initial meeting.
In fact, it’s how I found her.
There’s so much information on the web (in 2013, there were 1 billion websites out there) that the mentions, shares, likes and interviews you have, the better your chances of success.
So, don’t forget it’s all about the people.
Craft fairs instantly tell you if you’ve got the right product.
For instance, Lux 400 started by going to craft fairs and pop up stores and selling fashion accessories.
But if was only when she picked up crocheting as a side hobby and making cute crocheted food items called amigurami food that she found some success. She joined the BGC Art Mart exhibiting them, and customers responded well.
These days Lux 400 is started to get some press – who knows what will happen on her journey?
And who knows what will happen on yours?
A craft fair opens up opportunities and has a lot of value, so why not consider it? Admittedly there is a lot of preparation, but it can pay off in the end.
Have any good experiences with craft fairs? Let us know.