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How to Start Selling at Craft Fairs and Handmade Vintage Markets (The Beginner’s Guide)

by Contributing Author

If you’re a kitchen table creative like most of us, at some point you’ll get the urge to start handing out items (even more terrifying) or actually sell your items. While there are many platforms today like Etsy, Tik Tok, and Instagram that allow you to sell all your handmade goods online, no one else has the experience of handing a full bag directly to a delighted customer. You may be wondering how to start selling at craft fairs and handmade vintage markets.and 15+ years of experience I wanted to share the many tips and tricks that can only be learned by being in the trenches at countless markets and shows.

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Attending your first show can be intimidating. That’s a giant leap of faith. It’s easy to ask yourself:

“What if no one buys anything?”

“What happens if you don’t make money and do this for free?”

“What if I’m not ready?”

And “What if I don’t have enough?”

It’s so easy to ask yourself these questions that you might get in the way of moving forward! The first thing to recognize is that we all feel this way. Second, do the best you can with what you have and everyone is doing the same. In fact, you can read about my first trunk show experience and how scared I was here.

Jennifer Rizzo at the Urban Farm Girl Show

So what should you know about selling at your first market or craft show?

You can start small like your local church craft fair!!! In fact, it is better in many respects. First, it gets you started, and second, it helps hone your experience as well as your display. sales are low. Also, you may find that customers are more picky at smaller shows. Most of the time you won’t get big profits. It’s not a problem. Because eventually these little places will grow.

How to start selling at a craft fair or handmade vintage market and booth layout at a market with a tent

Make sure you’re applying for the “right show”

While there is always the temptation to apply for shows and festivals that are popular in your area, it is advisable to find out where your customers are. Not only does it give you a better fit, it makes selling easier and gives you the right exposure. It can be a frustrating experience if you’re not at the right venue. It may not be appropriate if it is in. Your customer is not there. Before applying, research the market on social media and visit first if you have enough time. Go where your customers are.

    urban farm girl

Bigger Markets Tend To Be “Judged Shows”

Some shows are judged. This means choosing your vendors carefully based on the appearance of your merchandise and booth space. They will not only ask where else you sell and whether you fit their aesthetic, but also whether you fit their customer base, which could have more applicants than spaces. I want to know if I have sex. If you’ve never done a show and don’t have photos to share, set up a booth space in your living room or garage to take photos. Several small venues may be required to prepare the images. If there’s a show you absolutely want to attend and you applied and didn’t get in, chances are you’re not the right fit or another vendor just like you has already accepted.

Fresh flowers and brass booth display

How much does it cost to attend a craft show or handmade vintage market?

Show booth fees are generally based on foot traffic. The average cost of a space or stall (depending on location) ranges from $100 to $250 for a 10 x 10 space.Massive shows like One of a Kind Show There can be thousands of similar spaces. It can also vary depending on whether it is inside or outside the booth space, 1 or 2 days, or whether or not you provide electricity. Small church shows range from $25 to $75. Also, there are always hidden costs such as hotel rooms and trucks (if needed). Try to keep track of it all.

Jennifer Rizzo at the market booth

Do I need a business license to attend a craft show or flea market?

Check your local requirements for business licenses and permits, as they vary by state and location. Many smaller shows don’t require a business permit to attend, but it’s always a best practice to ask.

Do I need insurance to attend a craft show or artisan market?

Again this varies by location, but many of the larger markets require itInsurance is easier and cheaper than you think and it’s always best to protect yourself.If you are a handmade seller act insurance Great place to start. Some insurance policies even cover the loss of products you’ve seen many times at outdoor shows due to unforeseen weather.

Display at Urban Farm Girl Main Street Market

Do I have to collect sales tax when selling at a craft fair or market?

yes. If your state requires it, you do. If you use a credit card reader or POS app, you can set the rate for your region. Sales tax amounts paid by customers must be remitted to the state in a timely manner. It’s super easy to do online. Check your state’s site for all requirements. Illinois has different payment requirements below certain thresholds. If you also sell online, payment may be required.

Need to get a credit card reader?

yes. You can actually make more sales. You’ll need a cash box and some extra change, but many people pay with their credit or debit cards on their smartphones. With his POS (point of sale) on your smartphone, like Square (now Block) or Shopify, you can easily sell your handmade goods.

Pipe rack for pine garland display
Booth in the middle of setting up an exhibition area

Should I bring one item to sell or mix?

Whatever you sell, stock a little more and sell it at different price points. We have customers who pay a lot of money but many customers may not be able to afford the high end price point items so they get smaller items but a small portion of what you do All these bases should be covered.

End of booth exhibition with chairs and art

What should I bring with my marketing materials?

Although QR codes and other similar items are great. Some people prefer good old business cards, so bring some of them. Also include social media information on boards and banners. Also, find ways to collect emails or encourage potential customers to immediately sign up for your email mailing list. Also, have your prices ready in case a retailer or store wants to wholesale.

What other items should I know about trade shows and market sales?

Create a checklist, but don’t forget small things like a table to run the checkout, a chair to sit on, a bag, tissues, pens and water. Or if you can make friends with the vendor next door. Pack lunch and snacks, sunscreen (if outdoors), and block cell phone chargers if electricity is not available. Everything to make your craft fair or handmade vintage market sales experience go smoothly!

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Handmade at craft shows and how to sell at vintage markets

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