HOW TO ENJOY CRAFT FAIRS – a sneak peak behind the scenes

Roslyn Our Journey adventure, appreciation, beaded Jewelry, challenges, craft shows, customers

It is summer time & as you travel on vacations or weekend forays, you might attend a local craft fair. If you do, it is clear that you already appreciate handcrafted. Add to this level of appreciation that there is the possibility of relatedness to your surroundings, environment & the crafter as you begin to see the event from a vendors perspective.



My guess is that you have gone to a craft fair at some point in your life & probably later in the day than I. As a vendor, we often arrive  at 7:30am, our space has been assigned & the car gets unloaded. I look around at an empty field & in 2 hours or so, colorful canvas tents, tables covered with handcrafted wares & smiling faces are present. An empty field of grass has transformed into a sea of blue, white & beige canvas tents. What was barren is now thriving with activity.The transformation from empty to readiness is complete & it thrills me to see this occur show after show.  What I love most about this experience is seeing something created from nothing & being part of  a community of artists with their handmade crafts awaiting the flow of customer traffic.


When you arrive as a customer, your interest is to feast your eyes on products, some you will buy, some admire, try on or pass on by. It wouldn’t occur to you to think about the labor that went into , not just creating the products but creating the displays. At every show we face different spatial requirements that determines if we create a booth to invite you inside, or a U shaped outside display . Even after 6 years of setting up I still get some anxiety about the display. Is it the best setup for the space? Do I put out most of my jewelry, use layers but some the customer can’t reach?  Are necklaces that are lying flat in front safe from slippery fingers? Will my neighbors & I get along as we sometimes share a common wall or aisle?




YOU, the potential customers, are the other transformation. Perhaps you arrive with an idea in mind of what you are looking for. You might be trustful that you will be captivated by a handmade item. I hand you a mirror for you to see how the design of a particular necklace flatters your neckline. I watch your face alight when that perfect selection is made. I listen as you talk with your friend about this being the perfect gift for your sister.

Many connections get made & on different levels. I am flattered that you chose us to do business with. Every craft fair is filled with amazing talent & we are all aware of the competition for your eye. I watch as you try on different necklaces & we talk about how they look, fit & feel. We exchange information & I do my best for you to learn a bit about us, who we are, what inspires us as I try to learn more about you. As strangers we make a connection & a transformation has occurred.

AND THE POINT IS…Screen-Shot-2013-06-11-at-8.36.58-AM

I know why I love craft fairs & I hope the next time you are handed that mirror you will appreciate your experience on another level. ENJOY!

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I loved going to work each day for 30 years as a professional career counselor. When I retired, I explored my creativity and regard for crafts until I discovered beading. At age 68 I turned my new found passion- jewelry design, into a business. At age 72 I took on learning about social media marketing and developing my computer skills. I am sharing my journey from inception, to frustration, to elation -in the hope of inspiring others that 'it is not too late to start again'. Welcome to my re-invention!

Comments 13

  1. Thanks for such a lovely post! Love the pics as well. I enjoy craft fairs and almost always find something special. I’m sure you do well with all your beautiful pieces. 🙂

  2. It is always so fun to walk through craft fairs…everyone is so creative…AND everything is so different from vendor to vendor! I hope you have a wonderful time at your upcoming events!

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      Yes, It even amazes me how different our work/art can be from one to the other. I always try to do 1 tour around & have made friends with vendors.

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  3. Whether setting up at a craft fair or at a massive trade show, the energy is the same. Out of chaos comes … commerce! And I know that feeling of anxiety, when you realize you’ve invested time, energy and money … and, ta-rah! … you’re open for business. Lovely pieces, Roslyn, and the header with the white pitcher is stunning!

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  4. Thanks a lot for the info about the craft fairs, as you said it is about the client, isn’t it like that in everything we do as small business owners? It is amazing when we can make connections and have a little talk when we are buying the pieces we felt in love with :)!

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