How to Find the Perfect Market or Craft Fair to Sell At
Posted on August 31, 2019
Market season is coming up quick, ya’ll! I do the majority, if not all of my events, between September and December (with maybe a January and February thrown in, if I’m feeling like an over achiever). I have been selling my crocheted goods locally over the last 6 years, and I’ve learned a lot! Over the next few months I am going to be running a Handmade Markets 101 series on the blog to help you have a successful market season! The first step in having a market season is finding some place to sell your items! Personally, I find I do the best selling my winter wear once it gets cool, and the closer to Christmas time we get the better!
Now not all markets/craft fairs are created equal and sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the ones that are the right fit for you and your business, but here’s a few resources that might help you in finding a good event for you to sell at in your area this season!
FairsAndFestivals.net here you will find a database of events all over the USA. You can search by zip code, description, month, distance from your location, and state. Maybe not all of them will apply to you, but it’s a good place to start!
FestivalNet.com this is a similar database with a variety of filter options. They have a paid ($49/year) version that will get you some more information on applications, etc, but the free version with get you the basic information that you will need to then find the event site or contact information necessary to apply. You should be fine to just to use the free version, especially if doing events is new to you and your business. Just another resource you can add to your arsenal!
Eventbrite.com This site isn’t really set up to be a just a small business resource, as you will also be able to find things like conferences or concerts, but it’s worth checking just in case someone has listed a fair or festival that might apply to you!
Facebook can be a great resource to both find events, and find other vendors who might have some leads! You can search events for your location and keywords like “craft fair” or join groups. I’m part of several specific to my state, like Connecticut Craft & Vendor Fair Network, Connecticut Craft Community and Ct Maker Community. Often people put up event postings, or give reviews of events they have just completed and their experiences so you can take it into consideration for further years! Join some groups, make some friends! Networking is super valuable in finding events that would be a good fit for you!
Another great place to check is in Etsy Teams! Simply search for a team in your area, join it and seem what is listed for events near you! I personally haven’t found much success through this, just because I live in a small state and I wasn’t able to find much! But if you’re in a bigger state you might be able to find more applicable event listings for you to apply to!
Sort of related to the idea of Facebook groups or Etsy teams, if if there are any artisan groups in your area that you might be able to join. They might be paid, or have an application process to join, but personally I have benefited so, so much from being a part of the Nutmeg Collective, a Connecticut-based artisan group. I’ve been able to network and learn a great deal from other people in my state who understand owning a handmade business. They’ve had some great leads on which events to go for and which to avoid!
Local Event Calendars:
You can also just do a simple google search for events near you. Sometimes you can find an event calendar listing on your town website, or at least pull up something that might be of interest nearby! Try googling your town/county/state and key words like “craft fair,” “farmers market” or “holiday bazaar.”
Churches and Schools:
When I was first starting out I did a lot of school and church events. Now I have narrowed down my target audience and have found that artisan markets work a little better for me, but if you’re just starting out and looking to get your feet wet in the craft fair world, local school and holiday church fairs can be a great place to begin! You can search out their website, follow their Facebook pages or even contact them via email to let them know you might in interested in applying to their future events!
I’ve personally found that doing solo pop-up shops in collaboration with local businesses can be really beneficial too! It’s a little more work on your part reaching out to potential locations and pitching the idea, but if you have some prior market experience this can be a great way to expand your selling territory! For me, I’ve noticed that my ideal customer- a true lover of artisan goods- tends to be someone who not only appreciates handmade crochet items, but also might like fancy hand poured cappuccinos or craft brews. Reach out to other small businesses in your area and see if they might allow you to come sell in their location for a Saturday afternoon! I’ve also had success setting up a table during lunch hours at the multi-floored, multi-business office building where my MIL works. Think about what pop-up opportunities you might be able to work out for yourself!
Scope them out:
Besides word of mouth from other makers I know and trust, I find the best way to find events that might work for me is to check them out the year prior. It’s kinda a lengthy way to get involved, but I have definitely been able to narrow down my potential event list by attending as a shopper myself! (I will have an upcoming post on what I specifically look for in the events I sell at!) You can learn a lot about being a seller at an event by going as a shopper and “spying” on the attendance, other vendor types, price ranges, layout, etc. Keep a notebook or note in your phone of your experiences at these events to help you make a decision later on when application time rolls around.
Hopefully a few of these suggestions help point you in the right direction for scoping out some good craft fairs and markets in your area for you to sell your handmade goods at! There are so many other variables (I’ll touch on those soon!) that go into a good craft fair/handmade market, but this is a good place to start in finding the perfect on for you this season! For some tips on how to select a good market to apply to- what to look for and what to avoid- you can check out this post! Or give a look through the whole Handmade Markets 101 series!