Monday, 21 November 2016

My First Vendor Fair... And Possibly My Last

This past weekend I tried my first ever Holiday fair - and it was certainly an experience. I have sold my artwork and various things at anime conventions in the past, but selling at a fair outside of an established convention was new to me. 

I really love making things and seeing them go to others. It brings me joy to make something that others love just as much as I did making them, haha. Ever since I started crocheting, I was inspired to do just that with my yarn items. I was hoping this new type of fair would enable me to do this more than once or twice a year.

I was under the impression that there was going to be a majority of crafters at this event, but the fair ended up being a mishmash of MLMs (multi-level marketing - read: Avon, Tupperware, Scentsy etc) with a few crafters here and there. It was a bit disheartening, but I wasn't discouraged. 

Day 1 - My table layout
The whole event wasn't organized terribly well, unfortunately. The whole area was under construction outside, which should have been my first sign that things weren't going to go well. When I did get inside, it seemed people were placed at random. 

There wasn't much care where each type of vendor was placed. I was smack stuck between two MLMs on each side and across from another apparel seller across from me. All of my neighbours were very friendly, but it seemed the MLMs drew all the customers and left myself and the other apparel seller in quiet.

On the second day, I decided to switch things around in my table. I also dropped some of my prices and added some buy '1 get one x off' deals in hopes that it might encourage more customers. I didn't get a chance to do much perusing of the other vendors outside of my row. There were a few other crochet vendors and we all had the same problem. No one would buy crochet once they've spent all their money on MLM things. 

Day 2 - Changed the table up a bit

Now I have zero issue with MLMs. I'm a sucker for a few of them myself, but I found it so unfair that they had such a large presence at this fair. It really changed the whole mood of the fair. People would pop in for the one MLM they wanted to visit and just glance at everything else. I wasn't the only crafter that left without making enough to even cover the cost of the tables.

 All in all - I don't regret the experience. I just wish I had known how bad it would have been and not stress over possibly not having enough stock for the event. 

Of the 1500 daily visitors promised, we had under 600 on Saturday and under 300 on Sunday. I did my research on how to prepare for craft fairs, had both in-season and holiday themed items and all of my items were priced fairly and competitively. I only had three sales over the entire weekend. Talk about depressing, haha!

My favourite little applique. I need to snazz up this hat and gift it to someone for Xmas.

My specialty is of the nerdy variety. I am not bad at making things to suit everyone, but I don't nearly have as much fun as when I get to make something related to geek and nerd culture. Who doesn't love Mario?

I think in the future I might just stick to making things that appeal to my initial audience and selling at the anime conventions I do so love. Next time, I might put in the extra effort to travel farther and find a convention dedicated to handmade items! We will have to see. :D


  1. MLM .... seems to be taking over everywhere, including Facebook. :( Sorry to hear your experience wasn't very good at the craft fair. Do you have an Etsy shop? I've been considering opening one, but so far haven't buckled down to get it done.


  2. Thank you for your sympathies. It really is such a shame, they are just everywhere. I'm definitely open to having an etsy shop but because of the fees ($0.20 per item, per listing/month) plus high shipping costs in Canada means I'll probably only list larger or more complex items there.

    I say it's definitely worth a shot opening one! I highly recommend researching into it. There is a lot of good information online about running an etsy shop and marketing yourself out there. :) Good luck and good wishes!