You can make good extra money selling your handmade jewelry and crafts at local art shows and festivals. Start near where you live, grab an artsy friend and get started promoting your business and crafts today. Learn to create eye-catching, colorful, lightweight displays that will make craft show selling a breeze.
Start in your home town. Sign yourself up for a local craft show or festival. Pick a craft show with a booth fee that is under $100.
Ideally, you should pick a fall show or craft festival. Fall festivals and pre-Christmas craft shows are extremely lucrative because buyers are searching for handmade gifts. If you make quality pieces, you have the potential to do very well selling in December shows. Juried craft shows require an application to assess whether the quality of your work fits the type of show. Vendors are screened by a jury (which can be one person like the craft show organizer or a group of people on the board or committee) to make sure that the artwork is appropriate for the particular type of show. In some cases, juried shows limit the number of crafters in each category. Handmade jewelry is an extremely popular category. Jewelry making encompasses a wide range of materials. Although each designer may make a different types or style of jewelry such as leather bracelets or spoon rings, buyers and show promoters like to see a wide range of artwork. You will be competing for spots with seasoned crafters and new jewelry artists. Your application for a juried show must captivate the jury. Submit only high quality photos. Often applications require a written section which includes a description of your work as well as photos of your craft show booth setup and artwork.
Non-juried shows usually have lower booth fees. Booth fees are based on art/craft show quality. Small shows that are not juried generally attract fewer customers. Paying high booth fees does not guarantee that you will make more money, it can mean the organizer has spent money advertising the show. If the booth fee is very high, say $500 or $1000 and up, you can expect excellent show promotion and larger crowds. Ask other experienced vendors which shows they recommend.
When you are first starting out, you will probably want to select a non-juried craft show. These “craft” shows often allow sellers of Pampered Chef and Mary Kay as well as individual artists. You can ask the promoter if that’s the case. Some organizers are eager to book as many vendors as possible and do not care if work is handmade. This can be discouraging as an artist but the most important factor when starting out is simply to gain exposure. Put yourself out there. As you gain experience, you can evaluate the type of shows and focus on the shows that you enjoyed most and eliminate ones that were not profitable.
Local churches often hold craft shows on weekends. That is a great way to gain local exposure and test the market. I suggest you avoid flea market sales unless you can price your work dirt cheap. Table fees at flea markets are super low. But buyers are not looking for handcrafted designs. They want cheap goods. It is possible that there are better flea markets in your area that would be worth checking out. Farmer’s markets are another venue worth checking out. Some are very selective. They may not allow jewelry making unless you can show that you use only materials which you produce.