Monday, June 8, 2009

Selling Handmade at Family Festivals

I don't often "do" the family festival-type shows. Instead, I prefer to show my creations at handmade fairs and craft shows. Yesterday, I did a 12th annual, local family-type festival and really didn't know what to expect.

The reason I rarely do these types of shows is because of what I call the "money-suck factor". Family festivals have many diversions for the customers money. Ice cream, hot dogs, kettle corn, get the picture. In these shaky economic times, there may not be a lot of money left to spend on a piece of jewelry, some photos, or a knitted scarf.

My observations on the turn-out of yesterday's Barnegat Bay Festival....

After a week filled with rain and thunderstorms, the weekend finally cleared up and Sunday was the best day. And the people came out in droves! The festival was held on very large grounds and the vendors were spread out (I lucked out by getting into one of the two huge tents & it was the one closest to the bay...which provided a nice breeze all day).
Many people came through the tents, some for a reprieve from the all-day sun, others were there to look and shop. It was clear that many people that attended had a "festival-budget" and the budget didn't always include spending money on handmade items.
However, some people were already buying gift items (it helped to have gift boxes for my sea glass jewelry with me) for birthdays and even the holidays. In a few cases, it helped to have the hubby or boyfriend at the festival, because they were often the deciding factor in the purchase, and in yesterday's case they were the reason the purchase was made! (A plus for family festivals)
People go to family festivals with the idea of spending a day out and having a good time. They may or may not have money to spend at your display, but if they see something they really like, they will look for your business card at the very least.
If you can find an established family festival event that is inexpensive to attend as a vendor, consider giving it a try. The vendors around me yesterday said they would all be back next year. The show was run flawlessly, the traffic was very good and there were enough people spending to make it a worth while event. Plus we were able to enjoy a great breeze and a constant view of the boats sailing on the bay.!

Not a bad day at all and the show opened my eyes to the possibilities of doing future festivals during these shaky economic times.

til next time,


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