Craft Fair Question: How many items should you make?

October 6, 2010

in Craft Fair

I get emailed this question quite often, so I thought I would do a post about it. It's tough to say how many items you should be making, especially if this is your first fair. The things I would take into consideration are:
  • How long is the fair? Just a few hours or all day? Your busiest times of the fair are usually in the middle. The beginning & end of the fairs usually drag.
  • How many days is the fair? If it's just one, you need to plan accordingly & not make too much. But if it's a 2-day fair (I've never a 2-day one) - then you will need plenty of items.
  • Is it during or around the Holidays? If so, then you will need to focus heavily on the next Holiday coming up & have plenty of those items on hand. If it's a fair during the Spring or Summer, I would say you need to make less volume than you normally would. I've found that people just don't spend as much $$ at Craft Fairs during the Spring or Summer. The Holidays are where it's at. You want to capitalize on that.
  • In general, Christmas stuff sells the absolute MOST. Halloween stuff does pretty well (as long as the fair is nice & close to Halloween). Fall stuff sells decent - but not that great. And general everyday items sell about the same at all my fairs.
  • Know your audience. Is this for a church, or school? If so, go HEAVY on the kid & Teacher items. People LOVE Teacher gifts. I've done a fair at a school & the Teacher Gift Items literally flew off my table.I find that kids have a small amount of $$ to spend, and the items I make are usually within their little budget - so be prepared with lots of small $1 items that appeal to kids.
Overall, I don't have a set formula to calculate the # of items I make. If I'm using candy, I make as much as the bag of candy will allow for. I decide how much $$ I'm willing to invest in the candy & go from there. I try not to overdo the candy as it doesn't last & can't be resold next year. In all honesty, I just make as much as I think I can get done before the fair. I wouldn't say that I only make 5 items, but I certainly have never made more than 50 of any one item. (For one fair). Lastly - keep in mind that different things sell better at different fairs. I've had bookmarks sit on the table & not sell a single one during a fair last October. But then I had a fair in November of the same year and I could NOT keep the darn bookmarks on the table! It's all a toss up of who the fair attracts & what the customers are looking for. It does take some experience to learn what people like & what they don't like. I hope this helps some of you doing fairs this season. Good luck to you all!

{ 14 comments }

Lisa T October 6, 2010 at 10:33 am

Thanks for this post! This has been my experience as well. I try to make a variety of things and try to have a back up plan if they don’t sell. (Save them for another show or use them as gifts.) What sells like crazy for a while eventually doesn’t but if you drag it to enough shows, it will sell once again. ;-) lol!

laura j October 6, 2010 at 10:55 am

great tips ….all of them so true! i find it easier to be involved in multiple craft fairs because what doesn’t sell at one fair may be the most popular item at the next! go figure! lol i’m going to take you up on thed small teacher gifts that are affordable for children to buy…what a great idea!! best of luck in your upcoming shows and looking forward to future posts!

madebymum October 6, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Thanks for the advice I have done quite a few craft fairs over the last couple of years and there is no pattern of what sells well. Some events i have done people have not even looked at some of my things and at others its all i sell.

Alex October 7, 2010 at 9:26 am

Hi Kerry! I am so glad you posted this, it has been very helpful!!! I am doing my first Autumn Arts and Crafts fair at the local mall here next weekend, and it is a 3 DAY EVENT! Since it is at the mall and I am not charging high prices, I am worried that I might sell most of my items the first day and not have enough for the next 2 days. I don’t want to have to stay up all night after the first day trying to recreate items to sell. Do you recommend that I space out what I sell? For example leave some thing aside to sell on the second day and whatnot? I am selling handmade jewelry as well as Christmas and Halloween goodies. Thanks so much for sharing your advice, it sure has given me some relief!

Kerry October 7, 2010 at 9:18 pm

@ Alex – hmmm I am not sure. I usually find that when I run out or am running low on something, everyone wants to know if I have MORE! So I would not be able to lie & hold out on them. haha. I have never done a multi-day fair so I’m really not the best person to ask on this one, sorry : (

Sara October 7, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Hi Kerry! Thank you so much for this post!! I’m doing my first Christmas craft show in November and I really don’t know what to expect! Your tips were very helpful. I started with just cards but have moved on to other paper craft items just so I have a variety of things to sell. It is a 2 day show, so I’m also wondering if I should hold some things back for the second day???

Thanks!

Monica October 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Thanks for the great tips Kerry….you are so right…it all depends on the crowd!

Debra K October 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm

I too want to know if you hold stuff back for the next day. You did say you’ve never done a 2 day event, so maybe you never faced these issues. What would you do if you did have a 2-3 day fair? Thanks for sharing. I would easily pay $4 for the wooden purse goodies. Maybe $5 each and 3 for $12? Let us know what you go with and if they sold well. I’m betting you sell ALL of them!

Roxanne O'Brien October 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I’ve been following your blog for a while now, okay, lurking if you want to call it that :) and I LOVE that you posted this!!! My friend and I are interested in doing a craft fair hopefully next year with all these types of things. I sooo appreciate you taking the time to list all these answers. Your goodies are amazing!!!! Thank you!

Emma October 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Hello!
I just wanted to let you know you are my Monday Blog! :)
You can read about it on my blog.
I borrowed a few pictures, hope it’s okay, if not let me know so I can remove them.

Have a nice day!
Emma

dawn October 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Hi. Thank you so much for posting this. My hubby has wanted me to do craft fairs. Thanks to you and all your help in this great blog i am now not afraid to try. Thanks so much you do a great job. hugs

Karen November 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I am starting to think about doing craft fairs and I often wondered how much product I should do. I know I am not ready for more than a 1 day fair. I want to get my foot in the door first. I think this year I am going to just scoop out a few fairs to see what is there and to maybe ask what sells the best. And to see if I need to step up my stuff. Keep up the great work.

Karen November 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I am starting to think about doing craft fairs and I often wondered how much product I should do. I know I am not ready for more than a 1 day fair. I want to get my foot in the door first. I think this year I am going to just scoop out a few fairs to see what is there and to maybe ask what sells the best. And to see if I need to step up my stuff. Keep up the great work.

Donna January 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Thanks Kerry for all your help. I did 4 craft shows this fall and have 2 coming up in February. The problem I have is that I need items for more “mature” customers. The composition books and kid stuff did not do well at all. I live in SW Florida where the population is older. My best sellers were gift baskets that I filled with Santa’s soup, four thank-you notes, four gift tags and the acrylic post-it note holder. I sold them for 10/each. Do you have any suggestions about other types of items for these fairs or can you aim me to the best Split coast thread for ideas

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