Applying to the Best Art Fairs For Your Unique Art Style

You did your search and found a few art or craft shows where you would like to sell. Now, which fair is best for to to apply to based on your unique style and needs?

Do a little work and think about what you sell. Who do you think buys what you sell? Do you sell soap, photographs, hand-knit baby blankets, paintings? What is your price point?  Where would your potential customers be shopping?

Now go back to your list of potential shows you found from your previous search.  

Click into the event or go into the application and look at the information the event organizer is telling you. Is this a small-town show with a few vendors? Is the small town wealthy? Quirky? Full of tourists?

How many people do the organizers estimate come through the show? Do they give you estimates to the average amount spent? Do they tell you how the average artist did with sales?

Knowing this information, does what you sell fit into their show? Do you have a high-end price point in a small-town show? Will the average patron be able to meet your price point? Or on the opposite end, do you sell at a low-end price point in a community where the average patron expects to buy expensive things?

Either way, it might not be a fit for you. You want to match your style, genre, and price to the style and price point of the event. Fair organizers may use these in their decision to accept or decline your application.   

Rejection wouldn’t be a bad thing since you do not want to build your inventory, drive to a show, spend a day or a long-weekend working and then not be able even to recoup your booth fees.

Dig carefully through the information you see in the application.  

If you have additional questions, there is usually a way to contact the event organizer to ask questions. Zapp tends to give detailed information, if this is where the application is, look at what they are showing you. If you have questions reading through the app, contact the event coordinator. And if no one answers your email, this could also be a sign regarding the show.

If you know anyone who sold at the events you are interested in, ask them questions. Were there people shopping at the fair. Not just from their tent, but were people carrying bags. Did they have a good show? Why or why not? 

There could be a lot of reasons why they did not have a good show. It could be it was too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy, too sunny, too….

An event organizer for a spring event in Ohio mentioned they do a ton of marketing for their show. (Something which is a good thing for you!). However, she recalled a particular year when the temps hit the mid-70’s in March, and no one came to the craft fair. Everyone was outside enjoying the unusually warm day!

Again, a 70-degree day in June would not keep people from attending an indoor craft fair, but in March, it was a different story.

So, when you ask questions, make sure you understand the why behind why someone may not have had a good show. Weather can make or break everyone’s show, but it is also something out of your control. 

Having a good show can also vary by what people sell and the time of year. One crafter I met mentioned she only does fall and holiday shows. She sells hand-knitted items and discovered when she did a show in July; no one was buying. It is tricky selling winter hats when it is 80 degrees out!

So, when choosing a show, make sure what you sell not only fits the price point of the show but also works seasonally.

Next, look at the booth fees for your shows. How many of your items would you need to sell to make up just the booth fees? Does it seem reasonable to you? If you sell cards, stationery, and the indoor booth fee is $150, maybe this seems very doable for you to not only make back the booth fee but your cost for making the items and your time. If it is a large outdoor fair and the charges are $800, will you be able to make back your costs?

Of course, both answers are dependent on the average attendance of the show and the people interested in purchasing what you are selling.

Once you have your list whittled down, start filling out the applications. Remember, just because you apply does not mean you are going to get into the show. Organizers tend to get way more apps than they have spaces in their event. You will probably get a few rejections along the way, and this is normal.

But you still have to apply to have a chance to sell. Be brave and submit your applications!

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