Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Craft Fair vs. Online Sales

This post might get long. I have a lot to say. I will start by saying that this post is in no way a bashing of craft shows. It is just to document my experience so other people can learn from it. I LOVE craft shows.

This past weekend I set up my booth at the New Salem Mountain Festival. It was supposedly a big show with 8,000-10,000 attending. So I figured that maybe 1% of those people would buy from me. That's 80 people, at about an average of $20/sale equals $1600. I thought that might be a stretch so I put $1200 in my head for a sales expectation/goal.

Here's how the weekend breaks down:

  • $85 Booth Entry
  • $50 Gas
  • $20-30 Food
  • 6 hours to load/unload/setup/breakdown/load/unload
  • 4 hours of driving

For $600 in sales. And I'm not even counting the money I put into my display since that is not a specific cost to this particular show. So now let's put a dollar amount on my time. For custom orders, I charge $15-20/hour depending on the difficulty of the project. Let's say I got paid $15/hour this weekend. I worked a total of 26 hours, which amounts to $390.

So taking sales, less the costs, my business profited $45. And that's probably a stretch since I didn't even count the hours I spent sewing the products. Also, I did not include my dear husband's time. He helped me all weekend and I didn't even really ask him to do that.

To sum it up, I just don't think these craft fairs are for me. I don't think they are worth the time and stress (I lost a ton of sleep last week getting ready and worrying). To test this hypothesis, I will be spending $135 on relisting on Etsy and possibly some advertising spots on a few blogs to see if I can get $600 in sales from that. This will take away the driving and setup time and time spent sitting on my behind at the fair, giving me a better profit margin.

On a not-so-sour note, I met these two fun ladies! They have nicknames for each other (and everyone at their work, I learned) and wanted koozies with their nicknames stitched on them. They were so sweet and I was glad to have met them. Turns out that Robin lives a few miles from me!

2010 13 Craft Fair-1


  1. Wow, that's a lot of work for not a lot of payoff. Hopefully at least you got some good exposure for the business.

  2. Hi April,
    My craft show experience was similar. I'm sorry you didn't have more sales. I guess it's a good experience, but it's so hard to make a good profit because it requires so much time and labor. Yeah for etsy!!

  3. I totally agree with you! You are a smart business woman! Well, you had to give it a whirl to figure all that out.