Craft Fair Question: How many items should you make?

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!