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Make Money at Christmas Craft Fairs

Updated on February 20, 2015
Handmade wooden display for jewelry at a craft show.
Handmade wooden display for jewelry at a craft show. | Source

How to Sell Your Crafts at Holiday Bazaars and Fairs

Do you enjoy browsing and shopping at holiday craft fairs during the Christmas season? Have you ever thought about selling your crafts and merchandise at such a holiday bazaar?

If so, then hopefully this page will help you get started on deciding if such an endeavor could be right for you. There's a lot more to being successful at holiday craft shows than simply having attractive and unique items to sell. You need to know your market, how to find shows, how to find the right shows, and many other aspects of crafting as a business.

As a crafter who has been vending at many different shows and fairs for over ten years, I'll share some of the basic information you'll need to keep in mind, especially for the holiday craft market. There are certain things to know about what make these shows different from your typical craft fairs and markets, which can make them both easier for a "newbie" just starting out but also harder for making a good profit if you don't plan and market successfully. I'll also provide information on what kind of Christmas crafts to sell at craft fairs and what kind of merchandise seems to sell best at these events.

Your Experience Selling at Holiday Craft Fairs - Before I begin this article, I'd like to know a little bit about your experience crafting and selling crafts at

Hand crafted jewelry on display at a craft show.
Hand crafted jewelry on display at a craft show. | Source

What is your experience vending at holiday craft fairs?

See results

Basic Information on Becoming a Crafter for Profit - My Tutorials on Building a Crafting Business

Before getting into specific information on holiday craft bazaars, I'd like to recommend the tutorials I've written on the craft market: a 5-part (so far) series entitled Becoming a Craft Show Vendor.

I don't want to repeat myself or bog this one page down with too many details, so if you are entirely new to the business of crafting for profit, I'd recommend you read these articles first. If you're an experienced crafter, feel free to skip or only look at the subjects in which you might need a little "refresher course." In the series I talk about issues including pricing your crafts, finding the right markets for your crafts, what kind of materials you need besides your products and also how to deal effectively with customers.

Make a statement with an attractive craft display!

Make a statement with an attractive craft display!
Make a statement with an attractive craft display! | Source

Jewelry and Fashion Displays for Sale on eBay - Good for Other Crafts as Well

eBay is a great place to hunt for bargain displays and fixtures to use for craft shows. You can often find display trays, heads, racks, even gridwall supplies at bargain prices. Just be sure to read the description to find out if the item is previously used, what condition it is in, and pay for insurance on any fragile display items such as acrylic cases and racks.

Gridwall Fixtures - Great for Craft Fairs and Bazaar Displays - Create attractive displays with transportable gridwall fixtures

Gridwall is great for displaying everything from clothing to ornaments, wreaths, signs and even jewelry at craft fairs.

Build vertical space for your craft fair display using gridwall

Build vertical space for your craft fair display using gridwall
Build vertical space for your craft fair display using gridwall

Dressforms and Mannequins on eBay - Great for displaying all kinds of craft accessories

Whether you knit sweaters, scarves, hats, make jewelry or fashion lace, a dress form or mannequin will make your craft display stand out. You can find all different varieties available on eBay from vintage units to brand new models direct from manufacturers.

Table Skirts for a Professional Look - Dress up your craft show table

Forget about cheap and flimsy paper party tablecovers, or an old blanket from your house. Invest in some professional quality table skirts to make your display stand out from the crowd. These are generally sized to standard folding event tables and oftentimes fire-resistant or fire-graded - which may be a requirement at some higher end crafting events.

Be unique! Create crafts that make a statement and catch the customer's eye.

Be unique! Create crafts that make a statement and catch the customer's eye.
Be unique! Create crafts that make a statement and catch the customer's eye.

Best Bazaar Crafts to Make and Sell During the Holidays - What to Make for Vending at a Christmas Craft Fair

Do certain types of crafts sell better at holiday bazaars than others? In my experience, absolutely! Knowing if your work will fit in the holiday craft market is an important thing to keep in mind before investing too much time or expense into trying to sell at these shows.

Of course, Christmas and holiday-themed items are always a good choice. Handmade Christmas cards, beaded or fabric ornaments, knitted items such as scarves, hats and baby booties, holiday table centerpieces, Christmas wreaths...these are all safe bets. Shoppers will go to a holiday bazaar specifically looking for these items or with them on their minds.

Attractive yet inexpensive gift sets work well also at Holiday Bazaars: if you make jewelry, have sets already boxed and ready to make a quick gift item, such as a matching necklace, earrings and bracelet set. Do you make handmade soap? Put together assortments in attractive baskets or bags so people won't even have to think about how to wrap up their gift for someone when they get home.

Items for children are also generally a good idea. Not only do parents often browse holiday bazaars with their children but they will be on the lookout for unique gifts to buy for their own kids, relatives' and friends' children, and otherwise. Handmade childrens clothing and blankets always seem to sell well, as does jewelry for children - but be sure to follow guidelines for child jewelry safety. Avoid materials and designs which could be choking hazards or contain poisonous materials if swallowed or chewed on.Inexpensive items really are your safest bet for most holiday craft shows, unless you are selling at a very elite, high-end marketplace.Try to keep crafts in the $5-20 range as much as possible.

Survey for Holiday Craft Fair Shoppers - What Do You Look For When Browsing a Christmas Bazaar?

Here's a question for those who regularly shop at seasonal craft fairs. When you attend, what are you most looking for when browsing the merchandise and crafts on display?

What are you looking to buy when you attend holiday craft shows?

See results

Bazaar Crafts to Make and Sell - Need Some Inspiration? Check Out These Books on Amazon

Need some fresh ideas for holiday crafts to create and try to sell? Check out some of these titles from Amazon, which could bring you new inspiration.

Be Prepared - Stock Up On Gift Wrap and Boxes - Bring Wrapping and Gift Supplies to Holiday Craft Bazaars

Craft fair customers during the holidays love it when you can box or otherwise gift-wrap your crafts for them. Amazon has lots of gift boxes and related supplies you can order in bulk.

100 Pcs Organza Drawstring Pouches Gift Bags Assorted Colors 3x4 Inches
100 Pcs Organza Drawstring Pouches Gift Bags Assorted Colors 3x4 Inches

Drawstring pouches are great for small craft items like jewelry.

 

Holiday Craft Bazaars: What To Look For When Selecting Shows - Finding Fairs Right for You and Your Merchandise

So maybe you've compiled a list or seen advertisements for dozens of holiday craft fairs in the coming months. Many may be scheduled against each other; how do you know which ones you should apply for? There's no guarantee of success, ever, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Be wary of first-time events. I don't want to suggest that you never do a craft fair that's being held for the first time, but my general experience is they can be quite risky. A new fair may be scheduled at the same time as one that's been running for 5 or even 10 years in an area, one that people already make annual plans to attend. A new show may not know how to successfully advertise to get people to attend. A new show may also need to work out issues with table space, facilities, load in and load out, and just generally not run smoothly nor draw enough customers to make it worth your time.
  2. Church and School Bazaars are generally not for high-end merchandise. If you're doing a holiday bazaar held in an elementary school gymnasium, where you paid no more than $10-25 for your vending space? Don't plan on bringing $100+ original paintings, gold or sterling silver jewelry. People go to these events looking for small, inexpensive gifts: think items that individually are priced no higher than what your vending space cost you - and maybe even less! When I've done small events such as these, it's mostly the $5-10 items that seem to sell. You might get one or two people who ooh and aah over pricier pieces and who ask for a business card, but they'll rarely follow through beyond that. If your crafts are mostly more expensive items, stick with more selective, higher profile events such as juried craft fairs that have long standing reputations in your city or area.
  3. Better shows may ban those selling crafts from kits and resale merchandise. A true "craft fair" will make it clear in their rules that only hand-made items will be accepted; no resale, no Tupperware, no Tastefully Simple, no Avon, etc. Not only will the rules specify this, but at a good craft fair those rules will be enforced. I've been disappointed in the past by showing up at a craft fair that promised only hand-made crafters would be accepted and then been surrounded by junk and generic merchandise. I've rarely done well at such shows and I won't go back to them, as the quality of the vendors and workmanship around you will reflect well - or poorly - on your own work.

Wholesale Gift Bags on eBay - Great Supplies at Cheap Prices!

Stock up now on gift bags - customers love it when they can walk away from a craft fair with their presents ready to present on Christmas morning!

Christmas Crafts to Make

Best Christmas Craft Pages on HubPages

Still need some ideas for craft projects you can sell? Maybe these tutorials will give you ideas...

Christmas Crafts - Decorations, Gifts, Giftwrap and More
This Christmas crafts lens is filled with free holiday crafts projects, decorating tips and crafty freebies. You'll enjoy the Christmas crafts resources...

Recycled Christmas Crafts
Whether you're looking for ways to stretch your holiday dollars, or just want to bring a more handmade feeling to a very commercial season. these crafty idea...

Christmas Paper Crafts
Christmas Paper Crafts are traditional and inexpensive decorations, cards and gift tags almost anyone can make. You can find ideas and patterns for Christmas...

Beading Tutorials: Christmas Projects
Whether you're a beginner or expert, you can enjoy creating your own custom holiday decorations, jewelry or accessories, with Christmas Beading. Using beads...

Angel Crafts for Christmas
Creating Christmas decorations and crafts is an American tradition. In our family, we love to make our own decorations and ornaments and many are passed down...

A craft fair with no customers can be a lonely place. Choose holiday bazaars wisely.

A craft fair with no customers can be a lonely place. Choose holiday bazaars wisely.
A craft fair with no customers can be a lonely place. Choose holiday bazaars wisely. | Source

Final Tips for Success at Holiday Craft Fairs - Some Last Suggestions and Recommendations

For the new or amateur crafter, or just someone who hasn't worked a holiday show before, here are my final specific tips and suggestions for better success.

  1. Bring gift boxes and wrapping supplies. People are often there to shop for gifts, and love it if you can make their gift-giving that much easier. So have plenty of gift bags, boxes, or wrapping supplies on hand and watch how excited potential customers may become when you mention you can wrap their purchase for free.
  2. Stay merry and upbeat. Don't lose your holiday spirit, even if sales are slow. You want to give off a positive vibe and presentation to every potential customer who comes your way.
  3. Dress your table for the season. Leave your standard plain black or white table cloths at home, and try some silver, gold, or Christmas-colored cloths (or disposable paper ones from a party supply store.) As another idea, scatter gift bows on your table or otherwise add in some holiday decorations to make your display look more lively and seasonal.
  4. Be unique. Stand out from the crowd. Try to come up with ideas for your holiday crafts that will catch people's eyes and make them stop, comment - and hopefully buy. If you're selling handmade ornaments, try to have a unique spin on them, such as using only recycled materials, original designs, or funny themes. How about Steampunk Christmas centerpieces? Wreaths made with dried herbs and flowers from your own garden? Think outside the box, be different.
  5. Browse a few holiday craft fairs first before signing up to vend at one. Be familiar with the market. Look at what other crafters are doing, who seems to be having success and who isn't. Don't simply copy what successful crafters are selling, but look to them for guidance and inspiration. Talk to a few of them. Evaluate if this is an endeavor you really want to pursue and feel you could enjoy as well as from which you could profit.

Do you have any other tips or recommendations for crafters looking to get into the holiday market? Feel free to leave your thoughts here. And thanks for visiting my page!

© 2011 Nicole Pellegrini

What Are Your Suggestions for Holiday Craft Fair Vending? - Your Final Thoughts and Comments are Appreciated

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    • profile image

      Toni 2 years ago

      @Linda Booklady -

      I wouldn't really knock the small town fairs. I haven't personally done any holiday craft shows, but I've done a lot of festivals. There was a festival I did about a month ago in a town of only 650; but there were about 15,000 people that came to that festival and I did over $1300 there. The last show I did was 3 days ago, and I was a little skeptical about that one to because they only had a little more than 1,000 people in the town, but the festival drew in about 7,000 people earning my booth a little over $600. The amount I made may not sound like much, but the bulk of my items are priced between $3-$5. I do have a few things that are $10 - $15; but I sell TONS of smaller price items that only takes minutes to make.

    • Tricia Deed profile image

      Tricia Deed 3 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Right on. Your experience is showing. I think you illustrated very well that when selling crafts...get serious. It is a lot of fun, but profits are the end results. I think you did a good truthful job.

    • profile image

      Doc_Holliday 3 years ago

      Some useful tips here. Thanks for sharing.

    • sockii profile image
      Author

      Nicole Pellegrini 4 years ago from New Jersey

      @noner: Are there any school or church craft shows in your area? These tend to be smaller and great for someone who just wants to get started.

    • noner profile image

      noner 4 years ago

      I want to do a craft fair, but I've never done one before and the only ones I can find locally are both HUGE and not good for a first timer.

    • Retro Loco profile image

      Vicki 4 years ago from USA

      This is one long and thorough lens on selling at Christmas crafts fairs! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and tips. I have not sold anything at a crafts fair yet, but I will in the near future; and I bookmarked this lens to refer back to. Great tips, and great lens!

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

      I think the main thing is to pick popular markets that lots of people visit. This was a great lens with lots of resources. Thank you.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Like you said, choose venues wisely so there will be plenty of traffic from buyers. There's just not enough people in our tiny town to make most businesses capable of prospering.

    • KandH profile image

      KandH 4 years ago

      Excellent tips - Well deserving of my 100th Squid Angel Blessing :)

    • articents lm profile image

      articents lm 4 years ago

      This was very informative, nice work!

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 4 years ago

      I love craft fairs. I'm not crafty myself but I enjoy everybody else's crafts. Great page!

    • loveirishcrafts1 profile image

      loveirishcrafts1 4 years ago

      Great lens...craft fairs are the bread and butter of any craft business. While the internet offers a world of opportunities...the face to face selling at a crfat fair gives you real feedback on your crafts.

    • loveirishcrafts1 profile image

      loveirishcrafts1 4 years ago

      great lens...craft fairs are the bread and butter of any craft business...while the internet offers a world of opportunities selling face to face gives you great feedback on your prducts

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Just a thought- a bead bracelet using Xmas colors

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 4 years ago from France

      Some great information here. I'll be back if I ever take the craft fair route.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for stopping to look at my lenses

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 4 years ago from Guatemala

      Great lens! I used to sell baby items and jewelry, as well as hand-painted lightswitch cover plates at craft fairs.

    • msalada lm profile image

      msalada lm 4 years ago

      I love crafting, but I have never been very good at making a business out of it.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Lots of excellent tips for new (as well as seasonned) holiday craft fairs sellers. I am not a crafty person but I do go to a lot of crafts fair because I always find beautiful gifts and things for my home. I tend to spend on lot usually and stock up on gifts.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Use Christmas tree lights under the blanket snow matting to create a little interest and more sparkle. Don't keep everything flat on the table, use boxes or books to elevate table cloths or drape cloths, create an interesting display.

    • profile image

      BeadCatz 5 years ago

      Some great information. If you decide to sell crafts through any venue, I highly suggest tracking your inventory. It is the only way to get an accurate profit/cost idea. I have a lens that talks about inventory tracking.....Great information, thanks for sharing.

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 5 years ago

      Good information here with lots of tips for sellers. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      So much to learn! Thanks for the tips.

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      Thanks for the tips!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      Great pointers!

    • profile image

      sherioz 5 years ago

      Wonderful ideas and pointers.

    • skefflingecho profile image

      skefflingecho 5 years ago from Tobermory Ontario

      What wonderful tips. Great for getting started at craft sales. I have been thinking about selling our lavender soaps and sachets. It's just finding the time! Blessed for your kind tips.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

      We are planning a boutique in December and although I have done many, there were several where I wished I had read this lens before doing. Thanks for all the info.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks for all of the excellent advice. I have been kicking around the idea of doing some craft fairs. This was very helpful. Always appreciate learning from others with lots of experience.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      I am not very gifted in the craft-making area but I so love to see and buy the work of artisans and other folks who can make such unique gift items. This is a fabulous idea for a lens (and I always wondered where they find those display racks).

    • sockii profile image
      Author

      Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      @Wednesday-Elf: Good luck at the show! I had probably my last one of the season yesterday...sales-wise it wasn't great, but I bought a lot of cool gifts myself while I was there. It basically turned in to vendors buying from each other, which isn't a bad thing, either, when you each might have something unique to offer to the public. I just enjoy them for meeting more people from my neighborhood and greater area, also, and this show was a fundraiser so I can write off the table cost as a tax deduction.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Actually, I have a holiday craft fair this coming Saturday! My daughter and I will each have a table. It's inside (which is nice in the wintertime), but we have to hope for no snowstorm, as one cancelled this craft fair last year and the re-do date did not bring the hoped-for crowds.I've done Holiday craft fairs for several years and always enjoy them. Fellow vendors are always great fun to visit with too.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 5 years ago from US

      I used to do Holiday Craft fairs every year with our youth church group. Always a lot of fun; both making the crafts together and getting out there at the fair. Blessed ;)

    • Netlexis LM profile image

      Netlexis LM 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the info. This is a great lens. I love to get back into my stained glass design and sell at craft shows, but... I just need more hours in the day!

    • concept247 profile image

      concept247 5 years ago

      Great lens thanks for the info

    • gamecheathub profile image

      gamecheathub 5 years ago

      I always find cool things to buy at the Craft Fairs. I used to sell snacks at them, which got me hooked into going. I enjoy buying other people's art. Great lens!

    • spartakct profile image

      spartakct 5 years ago

      Nice lens!

    • Srena44 profile image

      Srena44 6 years ago

      great lens

    • profile image

      DebMartin 6 years ago

      Thank you for all the info. Maybe I now know enough to not sell at holiday craft fairs. Thanks for the heads-up, especially about product and price range.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 6 years ago

      Great advice!