Although there are websites that help artists find and rate art and craft festivals and fairs, it is a decision that often requires a bit of personal research. Use these tips to find your own best shows.
Before applying and exhibiting at shows, attend as many in person as is reasonable. This gives you an opportunity to take a look at how it is run, the quality of work, and the crowd attending before you decide if it is right for you. Consider:
- Was the show organized and well-presented?
- Take a look at the variety of displays. Are different mediums well-represented, or is it heavy on one medium? (jewelry, for example.)
- Is the atmosphere upbeat and exciting for shoppers?
- Were there a lot of customers shopping?
- Were they “lookers” or did they have shopping bags?
- What do exhibitors have to share about their experience?
- Is this show a good fit for what you are making and selling?
Once you have exhibited at a show, evaluate your experience and decide whether it is worth repeating. Take a look at:
- How much was the booth fee? Were sales sufficient to justify this expense?
- Was the booth size as promised, and was it adequate?
- Was the length of the show appropriate for the amount of sales made?
- How much travel time was involved? Was the show worth the trip?
- What other expenses did you have? Hotel, gas, meals, parking, etc.
- What was the quality of the work other exhibitors were showing?
- Was the show advertised well?
- Was show management reasonable and responsive?
- Overall, were you satisfied with your experience and your sales?
Doing this type of research can often lead to changing your schedule for the better. Artist Carroll Swayze did an in-depth analysis of her shows and her outcomes, and came up with a plan that involved less work and more income. She shares her story here.
What else do you take into consideration when you preview or evaluate a fair?