After I wrote about selling jewelry at craft shows, I received a wonderful email from Beading Daily reader, Wendy Hitchins who recounted her own experiences with craft shows and offered some advice on the topic:
"I've done craft shows now for over 5 years. It's a gruelling way to start selling your jewellery but absolutely essential. It's true that by selling at shows you become known. You gain valuable insight into what your customers want and what sells and doesn't sell. I've learned there are no magic answers when it comes to shows. If the weather is too hot, people don't come. If it's too cold or wet, they don't come. To make up for fewer customers you need a range of prices for your work. Some days earrings sell and others necklaces. Be flexible in your selection. Always look professinal. Don't eat at your display. Definitely DON'T read a book. It's okay to work on some jewellery but I find it may take me a full day to do something that usually takes 15 minutes. Keep your tables covered in a way that hides all the periferral stuff like boxes, etc. Be prepared for any eventuality. Don't forget your tools. If anything is going to break it will break as a customer picks it up. Murphy's Law.
Picking the right craft show, in my experience, is a lot of trial and error. Even those that say they are juried can be disappointing. I try to stay within 1 hour's drive of my home. If they want a lot of money for entry fees, I want to know why. Just because they bill the show as huge, with a large audience, doesn't mean those people will shop.
My first outdoor show was over a long weekend. The weather was shockingly bad. The organizers promised over 10,000 people would visit the over 400 vendors. They all did visit—on the last day. And, they were just looking. Most had kids in strollers and there were so many people going by my booth they looked like they were riding a conveyor belt. It was a crush. Not condusive to those impulse buyers we all need. So, I learned that bigger is definitely not better."
Wendy also generously offered to answer some questions on this topic, so please post your questions below!