It’s the question everyone wants to know: how much money can you really make at a craft show? It’s not an easy one to answer and of course there are SO many factors that can affect the total but I’m going to give a general idea here.
You don’t want to know how much any vendor can make, you want to know how much money you can make right?
If you live in a small town, have just started a handmade business and are trying out the weekly farmers’ market in town, how much money you make is going to be completely different from someone who’s been in business for years and travels to Chicago for the Renegade craft shows, which attract tens of thousands of people over a few days.
Using the steps below, you can estimate how much money you can bring in based on your business and the events you plan to attend.
And if you’re curious about which products are trending at craft shows in 2019, check out
CRAFT TRENDS FOR 2019
How much traffic an event gets will be an important number to determine how much money you can make at it.
It can be hard to find how many shoppers an event gets and even then, without a counter, those numbers are estimates.
But general numbers are still helpful and may be found through an event’s social media posts, interviews with the media or even on their website.
You can also contact the organizer and ask for a rough estimate of traffic they’re expecting.
And if they’re unable to provide those numbers, you can go by the very rough estimate of traffic I’m providing based on the size of the event.
Big Craft Shows
A large-sized event may:
Approximately 10,000+ shoppers
Medium Craft Shows
A medium-sized event may:
Approximately 2000+ shoppers
Small Craft Shows
A small-sized event may:
Approximately 300+ shoppers
These are, of course, rough estimates of traffic and how to define the size of an event. There may be a craft show held in a school gym that attracts thousands of shoppers so contacting the organizer for estimates is always the safer bet.
As with anything, conversion rates can be higher or lower and affected by several factors. Conversion rates are the percentage of shoppers who buy.
In general, brick and mortar conversion rates are higher than ecommerce conversion rates.
When people are taking time to drive to a store, find parking, etc. they’re usually planning to buy. Online, it takes less effort to shop so fewer people buy.
Although craft shows are more of a brick and mortar type setting, craft shows have multiple vendors that 20% – 40% must be split among.
There isn’t a general conversion rate that’s going to be a fit for everyone but I still like to go by the 1 – 2% conversion rate for craft shows. I’ve found, based on my sales numbers at craft shows, comments in forums, etc. 1 – 2% is the average.
If you have your own craft show stats to work with, a higher or lower than average online conversion rate or there are variables (e.g. your price points are higher than average) that might increase or decrease your conversion rate, go by your own percentage.
If you’ve never participated in a craft show, go by the average of 1 – 2%
Take a look at the event you’re considering vending at and the traffic it estimates to attract. Multiply that traffic by 1% or 2% to get an idea of how many of those shoppers might buy from you.
Now take a look at your prices.
You likely have more than one price point. And if you don’t, you should. Even if you only sell one product, you should offer options to increase and decrease the price point to appeal to more shoppers and their budgets.
If you typically sell one product per transaction and sell equal amounts of each product, add the prices together and divide by the number of products.
Magnet set = $5
Greeting card set = $12.50
Larger prints = $30
Total = $47.50
Divided by 3 = $15.83
Average sale per transaction = $15.83
You may offer promotions that encourage people to buy multiples, which might alter your sales per transaction.
For example, if a card maker sells their cards for $5/each but offers 3 for $12.50, most people may buy 3 cards at $12.50 rather than one card for $5.
Multiply your average sale per transaction by the number of customers you calculated, based on event traffic and conversion rate.
Let’s take a look at how much money the card maker might make at each type of event, based on their average sale per transaction of $15.83
Before you count your cash at the end of a sale, you must remember, the money you gather at the event is not all profit.
With the sale of each product, you’re covering the time and materials it took to produce it. But other expenses you must cover through your sales at the craft show are:
Add up each expense, along with the cost of your time (hourly wage you’d like to by paid multiplied by number of hours worked at the event). Subtract that total from your revenue.
Let’s say the card maker sold at a medium-sized event:
Revenue ($633.20) minus expenses/wage ($585.80) = $47.40 profit
As mentioned, there are many factors that can affect conversion rates and how much money you make at a craft fair. Here are some variables that amount:
Events planned around holidays that encourage gift giving (e.g. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc.) will usually boost conversion rates.
Are your products seasonal? What they are and when you sell them will impact sales.
If you sell beach cover-ups, summer events will likely bring you more money than winter ones. You can still make sales year round but must get creating with branding, packaging, marketing, etc. during the winter if you want to keep sales coming in (e.g. try marketing the beach cover-ups to vacationers in the winter or communicate how they make a great gift any time of the year).
Higher price points can lower conversion rates, while lower price points can increase conversion rates. However, although a lower price point may increase conversion rates, you must sell more volume.
I had a friend selling original paintings next to me at a community outdoor market. He only had one sale that day but that’s all he needed to make a profit as his art was over $100. If the event had 250 shoppers, his conversion rate would have been 0.4%.
Someone selling $5 items at the same event may have sold to 15 people with a 6% conversion rate. But they would have made less money ($75) than my friend with a 0.4% conversion rate.
If you’re selling products that a lot of other vendors at the event are selling, your conversion rates may go down. Fewer vendors overall at an event may mean higher conversion rates for you, however, a small selection of vendors typically means fewer people helping to promote the event and fewer shoppers attending.
What type of products are you selling and what type of shopper is the event targeting? If your products are a little quirky and the event is marketed towards the quirky, your conversion rate may go up. If the event is marketed as a sophisticated and polished event, quirky products may not do as well and conversion rates may go down.
How much money you can make at a craft show relies so heavily on how many shoppers you can turn into customers.
Imagine selling at a big craft show and having a 1% conversion rate vs. a 5% conversion rate.
For a vendor selling $15 items at an event with 10,000 shoppers, that’s a difference of $6000. Would you rather make $1500 at an event or $1750?
And at a small craft show, a 1% compared to a 5% conversion rate can be the difference between losing money vs. making money.
You don’t have much control over how many people stop by an event. You have more control over how many of those people buy from you. Here’s how to increase those odds…
Do your research and choose the right event for your business. There are so many factors you should be aware of before you apply to an event.
Plus many, many more questions you should know the answer to before applying.
MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS will walk you through exactly what to search for and ask. Grab a free sample chapter for that ebook here.
Your display gives off an immediate impression that causes shoppers to decide if they even want to stop at your space and how much they’re willing to pay for your products.
Would you take the time to walk into a store that’s on a block with a bunch of cool stores, if it looked as though there was no thought put into the presentation? Their front windows had no lighting, products were simply set down on a table and signs were handwritten?
Retail shops must wow you with their window displays in order to draw you in and away from the dozens of other stores you can choose from in a mall or shopping complex/street.
You must do the same at a craft show; your entire space is the window display that draws people in.
This free 5-day challenge will help if you’re stuck on how to spruce up your display
Step up your sales techniques; do not expect your products to sell themselves. Of course, sometimes they will but if you simply sit back and stay quiet while people shop, you’re missing out on opportunities to make money.
Brush up on what to say to shoppers to start a natural conversation, keep them comfortable and share interesting facts that keep shoppers engaged and impact sales. These articles may help:
Offer something craft show shoppers can’t find anywhere else (or at least not easily).
Ten years ago, the easiest way to buy handmade was at a craft show. Now there are so many ways to buy handmade online. You really must make shoppers feel they’re finding a unique gem at the event and that they better buy now or they may be out of luck.
Selling a red knitted scarf? There are over 10,000 listings on Etsy alone for “red knitted scarf”. What makes your red knitted scarf better?
That’s where your USP (unique selling position) comes in. If you need a bit of help and a really simple formula I use to create a super impactful USP, join my free 5-day email series: BEAT LAST YEAR’S CHALLENGE.
I do NOT advocate offering a wide range of products…I encourage sellers to offer a variety of options in a focused set of products (I explain it in my free challenge BEAT LAST YEAR’S SALES so I won’t go into detail here).
Offer products that fit within a category and/or theme and create opportunities to upsell (increase your sale per transaction by showing a shopper a more expensive, complimenting or completing product).
A lot of vendors add more products in an attempt to upsell, figuring, the more products they have, the more likely someone will find something they like. But when products are added without rhyme or reason and don’t jive with the main feature product, it ends up creating confusion, lowering perceived value and coming off as unprofessional. Again, all explained in the BEAT LAST YEAR’S SALES CHALLENGE.
Do not lower your prices in an attempt to make more sales. You’ll be in trouble if a retailer finds you at the event and wants to purchase your products at wholesale.
Lowering your prices also lowers perceived value. If someone was selling an all-inclusive trip, boasting a five-star experience for half the price you might expect…would you really believe you’re getting a five-star experience or be skeptical of some kind of catch?
If you make a beautiful product but lower the price, people start to wonder what’s wrong with it. Are the materials low quality? Is it really handmade? Does the vendor really know what they’re doing or is it going to fall apart in a week?
Offer a variety of prices for each budget but do so by adjusting your production costs first (through materials, labor, size, etc.).
And keep in mind; most people will be discovering your business for the first time and they likely won’t be ready to spend a lot of cash on an unknown brand. You need lots of entry-level products to encourage people to buy, get them signed up for your newsletter and then stay in touch to encourage future sales.
Having a busy booth can definitely help draw more shoppers in as people want to know what the fuss is all about.
BUT, having crowds in your space that aren’t flowing can have the opposite effect.
You want to set up your space to move people through by streamlining the shopping process.
If people see a couple of people waiting to pay, it’s enough to get them to think: ah, I don’t really need it or I’ll circle around and come back…sounds promising but they may find something else to buy or forget to circle back.
Set your space up to draw people in from one side, shop the middle of your space and pay at the opposite end they enter. This creates flow and helps prevent your space from getting clogged up and looking too hectic for people to stop in.
Yes, this can be achieved, even if you only have a 4-foot table. I teach you exactly how to set up “zones” in your craft show display space in MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS. It’s a technique I used in multi-million dollar retailers to direct shoppers. Download a free sample chapter of the ebook here.
Sales can happen after the craft show too, which doesn’t impact how much money you make at the craft show but it does impact how much money your business makes in general.
Add marketing material (business cards, flyers, newsletter sign up) in the last zone of your craft show display. If people like what they see but are unsure, need to think about it or just aren’t interested in buying that day, they have a way to find you after the event.
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Pricing self-created items can be a complex feat for individuals who are new to the craft show business. Ideally, the prices should be high enough to be profitable for you, but low enough to be attractive to customers. You can determine the value of your product manually or you could use a program designed for this task. There are several factors to consider when pricing, regardless of the method you select. These can help you keep you prices competitive among other sellers at the craft show.
Many crafters begin calculating the price of their products with the cost of the supplies used to make them. You can determine the total cost of production by summing up the value of each item used in the design. If the product is a necklace, for instance, add up the cost of the chain, the pendant and the fastener.
Some crafters pay themselves an hourly wage and include this in the price of their products. Your hourly rate can be any figure with which you feel comfortable. You could start with a fairly low rate and increase it as your business grows. To determine the cost of labor on one item, keep track of the amount of time you spend making it, then multiply this by your pay per hour. Some individuals lower their rates or try to work faster to keep the cost reasonable.
It's important to find out what your target customer would be willing to pay for your products. You could visit various retail stores and look for items that are similar to yours. If you have the opportunity, attend other craft shows and search for sellers with products like yours. Take note of the prices and see where yours might fit in. If your items cost significantly more than others, consider lowering your price. If this isn't feasible, then think about selling lower-cost items at lower-end craft fairs and reserving your higher-price products for other venues.
You can add the cost of overhead expenses to the price of your products. At your regular workspace, these could be the rent for your work location, electricity and advertising. Your expenses for the craft show would include the cost of the gas used to get to the location, the cost of renting the booth and the cost of preparing a banner. Add up the various figures, divide by the number of products you plan to sell and add the value to each item.
Keep in mind that some customers expect to haggle over prices at a craft show. If you allow this, ensure that your product price gives enough allowance for bargaining so you don't end up losing money. Also consider offering products at different price points to appeal to a variety of customers with different price expectations
If the process of calculating the price of your products becomes too complicated, you could use a software program. Several companies have designed craft software that can help you keep track of various aspects of your craft business and calculate costs of finished items. A few of these applications are available to try online at no charge (see References).
Tina Amo has been writing business-related content since 2006. Her articles appear on various well-known websites. Amo holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in information systems.
I was a Renegade Craft Fair vendor; here's everything I was scared about but I went to the internet with questions like: How much inventory should I bring? Huge Fear #1 I am going to be totally embarrassed by my lame booth display . Add to that a charge for wifi, table rental, parking, gas to-and-from.
Craft show season will be upon us soon, and I know that many Cutting for Business readers are already signing up for shows and events. Today, let’s tackle how much inventory you should take to your next show.
First, there are no set rules on how much inventory you should take. You should strive to have your craft show booth full (but not overcrowded) of inventory for customers to browse and buy. You should also have enough stock on hand that you can replenish your display as customers purchase your products. Ideally, your back stock should be under the table or behind your display so that replenishment is easy.
Remember, these are just suggestions on how to determine your ideal inventory to bring to a craft show; but there are no hard fast rules. If I’m attending several shows in one season, I might bring much more inventory to a particular show since I can always use it at a show at a later date. If I am not attending another craft show, I might bring less so that I don’t have a lot left over at the end.
Worried about having enough time to create all these products before a show? Take a look at my strategy to quickly build up inventory in this post. If you are looking for more craft show tips, I’ve compiled my favorites in this post.
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This is one of the biggest questions and hurdles crafters face. There are so many things to consider and it can be quite daunting. This post will break it down and help you systematically come up with a minimum ballpark figure.First of all, before you consider the rookie mistake of “low balling” to try to get the most sales; you need to understand that your price points say a lot about you and your products – and it may not be flattering.
If you are charging barely above wholesale prices; your potential customers are going to wonder why so cheap? Perhaps you are using junk materials, it isn’t really handmade, or isn’t high quality. That’s not the message you want to send as a professional.
Also, if you price your items too low, you will not make a profit. People who do this are not considering all of the costs – including being paid for their time. Here is a list of things to consider when setting your prices (and how to keep your costs down)
Now let’s look at each of these in detail.
To figure out the materials costs you need to sit down and make a list of the “ingredients” in your product. This includes your item and the packaging! consider how much each one costs.
Let’s say I am making hair bows. My product includes the barrette, the ribbon to make the bow, the glue to affix it. I also package them on cardboard backers slipped into plastic sheets.
For simple math lets say the following for each hair bow
So we have $1.80 in supplies.
Let’s say you can make 6 barrettes in an hour and you want to earn $10 per hour you take 10 and divide by 6 and get $1.66
So now we have $1.80 in supplies + $1.66 in salary which comes to $3.46, but we aren’t done yet!
The next step is to consider how many can you sell per month? At first, you will be estimating, but over time a clearer picture will emerge as to how many you can sell. For this example let’s say you can sell 200 per month. ($692)
Next, we have to figure out your other expenses. How many shows will you do? Let’s say this is a sideline and you are only doing 2 craft shows per month. The rental fees are $80. Your travel expenses are $20 and your hours worked at the fair will be 20 total. (yes these numbers are generic for the sake of easy math lol)
Ok, so now we add these fees 80 + 20 + 200 (hourly rate) for a total of 300.
We said earlier we were going to sell 200 per month – so now we take this 300 add it to our 692 from earlier for a total of 992.
Take your $992 total and divide it by 200 for a total of $4.96
This means to meet your basic goals you need to sell each barrette for $4.96.
The next question becomes can you sell for that price in your local markets? If so, price your items accordingly.
If not, you will have to cut some expenses or change your production somehow. Perhaps you’re willing to take $9.00 per hour instead and you can find a less expensive wholesale price for your materials, but still keep them high quality.
Maybe you are not being the most efficient when it comes to assembling your items? Once you reconsider these scenarios, rework your calculations and your new number should be something the market will bear. If not, craft fairs may not be the ideal market for you and you may want to consider other avenues (or even a different craft)
Remember – people will pay for high-quality handmade items if they deem them to be truly high quality. If you are selling “cheap” – then your customers will believe your time and products to be “cheap” and will not pay fair prices.
When you set your prices too low; you not only shoot yourself in the foot – you also do a big disservice to all other crafters!
Consider also in this scenario I did not include fees for credit card transactions. Every company is different. Not every crafter can afford or wants to accept debit (but your sales will usually be better if you can manage it without cutting too deeply into your profits)
If you decide to accept these payments then you need to factor those in as well.
There are some free calculator apps out there that can help you, but I recommend working it out on paper yourself first. Every person is going to have different things to consider and it’s very important that you understand how and why you are coming up with the price points you are.
If you have any further questions or need some help hammering it all out feel free to comment below and I’ll work with you to ensure you are getting the right numbers.
Having a booth at a craft fair is hard work, so in the interest of helping Thankfully, part of our fee covered security for the night so we could It was my best day of selling but I still didn't sell nearly as much as I hoped. . I hope your next craft event is one of those that earns 4 or more times its booth rent!:).
I recently worked my first (and last!) craft fair. It had long been a dream of mine to have a booth at a craft fair. I had big dreams of this being another way I could supplement our family income. I was surprised when a month ago, there was a notice in our local paper advertising a couple craft booths still available at our local fair.
Now, our local fair is a big deal! It’s a 3 day event that is attended by people from all around the area. It’s been said that our town of 1,000 gets 100,000 people who attend the fair. There are over a hundred craft booths and dozens of food vendors. We’ve always enjoyed attending the fair so with my husband’s encouragement, I decided to give it a try and signed up for a craft booth. I hoped to earn some money and clean out the crafts that had accumulated in our attic.
Since I’ve been creating custom, Biblical versions of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” and selling those successfully for several years now, via my website, I thought I’d see how those did at the craft fair, too.
I signed up for the smallest booth (a 10 by 10 size) and committed to being at the fair for 3 long days. I found a tent to borrow from one friend as well as some folding tables from another friend. Thankfully, I had dozens of wreaths and other assorted craft items in the attic, but I still invested time in rounding out the selection. Every night, I spent time crafting in preparation for the fair.
A friend from church and my mother-in-law agreed to help baby-sit Nathan so I could have this craft booth. And of course, my husband was home with Nathan all day Saturday. I went to the bank and got money ready. I researched how to accept credit card payments. I priced all my crafts and organized them in plastic bins.
Before I knew it, the week of the fair was here! I set up my booth on a Wednesday night so I was ready to go on Thursday morning. Thankfully, part of our fee covered security for the night so we could leave our booths set up overnight. I did put most things in bins for protection from the weather.
Thursday morning, I headed out and got my booth set up. I was excited to see what would happen! I sat….and sat…and sat. The weather was pleasant. My booth looked nice. I got lots of compliments on my wreaths and other crafts for sale – but little was bought. In my initial dreams, ah-hem, I had hoped I’d sell enough the first day to make back the cost of my booth. That didn’t happen. I was a reassured a bit by the couple in the booth next to me who had been doing this fair for 33 years and said it was a horrible day of sales for them. I was glad I wasn’t alone!
Friday’s forecast held rain so I was prepared for a quieter day. My tent didn’t have sides but thankfully, the gentle and steady rain came straight down so the tent did its job. I flipped plastic bins upside down and over crafts, then I covered up with a quilt and umbrella and sat cozy in the corner of my booth reading. Some people ventured out but the rain kept most everyone away. This was my worst day sale wise as I sold only $10 worth of crafts in 12 hours! I did read 4 books that day so that was the good news of the day. (Please note that when I say I was reading, as soon as anyone appeared even slightly interested or came close to my booth, I put down the book and welcomed them and asked if they had any questions. I was not, as some may assume, oblivious to my potential customers!)
By Saturday, I gave myself a big pep talk and reminded myself that I couldn’t do worse than the previous day. I tried to be hopeful that I would sell lots but also realistic that this was the last day. Whatever I sold, I sold. I marked prices down again and sat. Once again, I got lots of compliments but not a lot of buyers. It was my best day of selling but I still didn’t sell nearly as much as I hoped.
For three days I sat (10-9, 10-10, and 10-9) and would you believe it? I didn’t even sell enough to cover the cost of my booth! This was a failed craft fair experience and one that I won’t be repeating. Still, I did learn some valuable lessons. I’m sharing what I learned in hopes that it will help everyone who decides to sell at a craft fair in the future!
What you think will sell quickly might not, and the items that you are not sure they will sell may do great. I had 2 dozen different wreaths available for sale and only sold 1. The one that sold was my least favorite wreath that I threw together quickly the week before. You never know what may or may not sell!
When you are sitting at a booth, the day will get long. Be ready with snacks to munch on and a variety of drinks. Caffeine is good, too!
Bring kleenex and ibprofuen. Bring pens, sharpies, tape and scissors. Bring umbrellas, blankets and jackets (if you are outside). Bring a power strip and lighting if necessary. Think of anything you could possibly need and bring it.
Decide if you are going to offer credit card sales. I sell a couple things on Etsy so planned to use their quick sale method on my tablet if I needed to for credit cards. It’s a great perk of Etsy!
Bring crafts to work on and books to read. I ended up reading 5 books over the course of 3 days in my booth. Please note that I am a fast reader! 🙂 A Kindle, tablet or smart phone is great to have on hand, especially if you have the free Kindle app.
If you don’t have someone sitting in your booth with you, arrange for someone to stop by – so you can stretch your legs and use the bathroom! My husband hurried home after school each day to give me a break. That was necessary and very much appreciated!
The days can be long and they may not go as planned. Give it your best and keep a smile on your face.
You don’t know how your craft items will sell at a particular fair until you give it a try. The worst that happens is you are out a couple days of your time, but maybe you’ll be a huge success. Take a risk and give it a try!
Even though I have no plans to have a craft booth again, I’ll enjoy supporting vendors who do. For now, I do better selling my custom books on Etsy and here on my blog. If you decide to sell at a craft fair, be sure to let me know how it goes! Any other experienced craft vendors want to add some additional words of advice?
Hello and welcome! Check out how we're thriving when our income has been cut in half, take a look at some of my custom, Biblical books (with free printables) or learn how to build a stockpile that works for your family. You can sign up for blog updates with my email newsletter here. Thanks for stopping by!
Filed Under: Life, Making Money
Thinking about selling your art or other products at a craft fair? I'm detailing Learn about applications, fees, booth planning and setup, and lots more! 1) What do you sell & what kinds of materials to you use? 2) What's your Speaking of fees, let's touch on how much it costs to rent space at a craft fair.
KigajinnDecember 22, 2018 6:54 AM
What charming answer
AkinonrisDecember 18, 2018 9:15 AM
And as it to understand