Should You Sell Your Jewelry at Craft Shows?

Jul 19, 2007

Summer is a popular time for craft shows. As you wander down the aisles, you may be wondering about selling your own jewelry at a local show. Is it worth it?

Viki Lareau, author of Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry and the "Bead Biz" column in Beadwork, advises, "Regardless of whether your ultimate goal is to have a catalog, sales reps, your own gallery, or be a private stylist to movie stars—I think everyone needs to start with doing some craft shows. Why? Because shows will prepare you for any other direction you decide to go. They give you exposure and experience with the public, they let you try new designs and pricing structures, and they give you the chance to network with other people in the same business."

This is not to say that the craft show route is an easy one. There are a number of challenges you'll want to consider—increased competition, the mix of handmade crafts alongside cheap junk, and the hard, physical labor of setting up a booth and standing behind it all day. More than a few beading and jewelry bloggers have some good advice to consider. Here's a sampling:

  • Nicolette Tallmadge tells you why you need to know what other booths will be selling
  • Katie Hacker talks about differentiating your work from the competition
  • Lori Greenberg offers a show checklist to make sure you have everything you need
  • Tammy Powley suggests checking out other types of festivals

    What do you think? Have you tried craft fairs? Would you advise a new beader to go this route?

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Angie@73 wrote
on Aug 1, 2007 11:42 AM
I couldn't agree more with what Nicolette says about Buy/Sell items. It truly is one of the most frustrating aspects of doing craft shows. Frankly I won't do shows anymore that allow these types of items, and I also make sure there is a limit placed on a specific type of vendor - like jewelry - and I also like to inquire as to if they are allowing "business opportunity" booths in. If they do - I won't be there.
For a new beader, I would start not at craft shows, but by asking your friends and family to host a few home or trunk shows to get feedback and most importantly, build confidence.