7 Things Artists Need to Do Before Selling at Arts and Crafts Festivals

Updated on March 9, 2019
Jada Stuart Clark profile image

Artist, seller, and writer. I write articles to help new artists succeed and grow their career.

Introduction

If you have never sold art at an arts and crafts festival, you are probably wondering how to go about it. Craft shows can be a great way to sell art and help build a reputation as an artist in your community. But before you jump right into selling at craft shows, you need to do your homework. If you want to have the best experience possible selling at craft festivals, you need to do these simple things.

1. Pick the Right Festival

Do not make the mistake of just choosing any random festival in your area. If you do, you could end up not making any money because: the festival did not advertise well, your work doesn't fit in with the type of customers that the festival is bringing in, or perhaps the festival isn't in a good location. You need to make sure that the festival you choose to sell your art at will actually be profitable. Talk to other more experienced artists who have been doing craft shows for awhile and ask which festivals they would most recommend and which ones to avoid. These veteran festival sellers will be full of knowledge that will help you pick the best festival for you.

Bonus Tip: Festivals that have been around for several years will typically do better than brand new festivals because veteran festivals have built up a reputation in the community and are more likely to have more buyers than new festivals.

2. Have a SquareReader

Today, many people do not carry cash anymore; even some vending machines take debit cards. You do not want to lose out on a sale because you cannot take debit or credit card transactions. Invest in a SquareReader. SquareReaders are easy to use and more convenient for your customers. You simply connect it to your smartphone and link it to your online bank. It's that simple!

3. Invest in a Heavy Duty Tent

While you may be tempted to save money by purchasing the cheapest tent, do NOT do this. Every time I bought a $70-85 tent, they only lasted about a year before breaking. I would recommend spending at least $100 on a tent. I have the Coleman Straight Leg Instant Canopy ($115.50) and I love it!

**Remember to get a 10x10 tent because that is the size that most festivals require!

4. Be Prepared for Bad Weather

While most festivals will cancel if bad weather is in the forecast, sometimes it just seeks up on you. Rain, wind, and heat can take a toll on a festival.

For Rain

If it rains, you need covers for your tent so the water doesn't damage your work. Consider purchasing covers or perhaps a tent that comes with a cover.

For Wind

A strong wind can blow your entire booth down; get some weights to prevent this. In the past, I have tried using milk jugs full of water and even big rocks; while that worked well during most weather conditions it was not enough for strong gusts of wind. Investing in good weights will save you more money in the long run. Check out these inexpensive weights on Amazon: USW Tailgater Canopy Weights and YELAIYEHAO Industrial Grade Heavy Duty Double-Stitched Weights Bag

For Heat

A hot day can be absolutely miserable. Make sure to bring a cooler with water and other beverages to help you stay hydrated. If the festival happens to provide outlets for an additional cost, it would be a good idea to pay the extra cost and bring a fan, especially if the festival is in the summer. Both you and your customers will be happy that you brought a fan.

5. Bring Help

While it only takes one person to man a festival booth, you will need someone to watch the booth to: go to the bathroom, eat, or maybe you just want to check out the other booths. Bring someone to help you.

Bonus Tip: You can share a booth with another artist and split the cost of the festival. You'll have less space for your own work, but if you are on a budget this might be a great arrangement.

6. Test out Your Display

Before going to the festival, you need to have a plan of how you are going to arrange your work. Put up your display in your backyard and figure out what looks best. Move things around. Find the absolute best angle. This will save you a lot of time when you go to set up for your booth at the actual festival.

7. Always Always Use Black Tablecloths!

Do not make the mistake I did and buy bright colorful tablecloths. People should be focused on your work and not the tablecloths. Black will contrast well and help draw their eye to your work.

Below is an example to show how bad colorful table cloths look. the colors of the painting and the anchor would pop more against a solid black background.

Bad choice of tablecloth
Bad choice of tablecloth

Now You're Ready to Sell

If you follow these basic steps, you are sure to have a successfully and profitable day at your arts and crafts festival! Before you know it, you'll be a pro festival seller!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

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      • Erudite Scholar profile image

        Jeff Zod 

        4 months ago from Nairobi

        Hi Jada,

        Your articles are excellent as usual.Thank you for the handy tips.

      • bhattuc profile image

        Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

        5 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

        Very helpful for the new enterpreneurs. Good reading. Thanks.

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