Finding local craft shows is an essential part of making a living selling what you make. Regional shows keep your travel costs down and are a great place for connecting with fellow makers.
Selling at local shows puts you in front of buyers who want to support the makers in your region and can be a great way to build a loyal fan base for your wares. But it is important to pick the right ones. Each craft show has its own flavor and attracts a different type of buyer. It is important to put in the time to learn about all of the shows in your area so you spend your time applying to and hauling your products the right ones.
Here are some of the best ways to find the local craft shows that are right for you:
Many Etsy sellers don’t realize the best way to find local information is on the site itself. The Teams section of the site has groups located throughout the U.S. and each team has its own forum where members interact. Many local teams have an ongoing thread that lists upcoming events of interest to crafters (SF Etsy is a great example). Find an active team with such a thread and monitor it for free access to upcoming events in your area.
There are multiple event listing websites that keep track of craft shows throughout the U.S. To get more information, you’ll often be required to sign up for an account, but you can get basic information on events from each of them and register for an account when it becomes necessary to get more details. Here are a few event listing sites:
For one of the best resources, head over to your city or county websites, which generally maintain a calendar of events. You’ll find many of the smaller events that might not take the time to register with national event listing websites. Also track down local or state craft organizations that sponsor regular fairs. The booth fees on these events may be high, but the exposure to buyers who are constantly on the hunt for great crafts can be a good investment.
Many cities and neighborhoods have dedicated Facebook pages where local makers share information. You’ll often find smaller organizations post on these pages when they’re searching for vendors for upcoming events. Even if you don’t see an existing posting, you can let the community know you’re looking for craft shows and crowdsource a long list of leads to check out.
Don’t limit your search to the events you see in traditional craft show listings. Many local churches and schools have bake sales, craft fairs, and carnivals to raise money. You’ll either pay a booth fee or donate a percentage of sales in exchange for being able to sell your items to a built-in audience of that organization’s supporters. In addition to checking their websites, follow their Facebook pages or Twitter accounts so that you’ll be alerted when they’re signing up vendors. You may even have luck by reaching out to each school and church to let them know you’re available for any craft fairs they might have.
For more tips on finding, selecting, and applying to craft shows, check out Nicole Stevenson’s Craft Show Secrets: How to Get In, Make Sales, and Grow Your Business.