I’ve only been doing craft fairs for 2 years, but I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences. And, if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at, right? So, here are the worst craft fair experiences I’ve had so far. I’m sure there will be a volume 2 at some point because I just have that kind of luck.
Sometimes, Mother Nature decides to play rough with us. We’ve been rained on, blown over, and more. You can’t plan for everything!
Once upon a time, we decided that we’d brave an event despite the forecasted rain. A light rain never hurt anyone, right? Well, this turned out to be more of a torrential downpour with water rushing across the pavement beneath us. Selling paper in 100% humidity doesn’t work so well, so we packed up our stuff after an hour or so.
Losing the entry fee is totally worth it sometimes! (But the kids had fun.)
It was a breezy fall day. We packed up our inventory & 2 young kids into our tiny Corrola. As we made the 45-minute drive to the event, the wind picked up. No big deal, so it’s a little windy! That’s why we bought those weights for our tent. It only got worse from there. The light jackets we brought for the kids were no match for the wind storm. The gusts were so strong that 2 or 3 tents blew over. Ours got horribly bent before we finally took it down. Selling paper on a windy day also doesn’t work so well.
Check the forecast for the specific town of the event (not just your local one!) because 20 miles makes a big difference for weather!
One sunny summer day, we took a long drive to a Peach Festival. While the event itself was not new, having crafters and artists there was a fairly new part. We were in a field off to the side away from the main events (live music, rides for the kids, local produce). With no shade, temperatures in the 90s, and humidity so thick you could feel it hugging you, hours passed without a single person venturing over to browse our booths. It. Was. Awful.
Summer events are only worth it if the event can guarantee heavy foot traffic. Don’t waste your time like I did!
I signed up for my first 2-day event – a Christmas market.
Hosted at a nearby fairground, it boasted thousands of visitors and years of experience running this event. When we got there, we were directed to a small, “rustic” shed where we quickly set up our booth. That first night (a Friday), we sold more than I’ve ever sold at an event. I was so excited that I still had another whole day to go! Then, Saturday happened. The temperatures dropped over night, so no one wanted to venture away from the heated main building over to the crafters in the sheds.
Know the layout of the event. If you’re not in the main building, lower your expectations.
We journeyed from the faraway vendor parking lot, carrying our burdens of tables, chairs, inventory. We set everything up. We brought our adorable children. We sold nothing. Customers would bounce from one neighboring booth to another – right past us. At the end of the event, my husband talked me into putting a sign advertising everything for $1 each. Not a single sale! The whole day!
Your set-up needs to grab attention because competition is fierce!
Remember that Christmas market with freezing temperatures? The story takes a terrifying twist when we realize that rustic shed had no central heating. We had to rely on a small space heater (provided by the event staff). My fellow vendors decided that the next morning we’d try to bring in our own space heaters to supplement the lone heater. Well, the electric grid in that cute rustic shed couldn’t handle the extra strain and went out. The event coordinators cautioned us against using any extra heaters.
Don’t assume that just because the event is indoors that you will be safe from the elements. Don’t assume that they will have central heat or A/C. You might want to ask just to be sure!
For the final chapter of this Christmas market story, you might remember that the electricity went out. So, not only were the heaters not working, but the whole windowless shed was plunged into utter darkness. OK, not utter darkness, but we had to keep the door open to have light (which let any of our stored heat out & the bitter cold in). If I heard one more customer (those brave souls who went out into the cold) made a comment about the darkness or the cold, I was going to scream!
Sometimes you just can’t plan for everything. You just have to take it in stride & try to laugh about it.
If you’ve survived this post, you now know the ugly side of those pictures I’ve posted on Instagram! Craft fairs can be a lot of fun, but they take a lot of research & preparation. But even the craft fair veterans can’t predict everything that’s going to happen. It’s all about being flexible & rolling with the punches.
Tell me your horror stories on my social media or by sending me a email! I’d love to know I’m not alone!
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