The Rumors are True

The Renegade Craft Fair is happening in San Francisco July 12-13th! Unfortunately, I didn’t find out until this past weekend, which happened to be a week after the application deadline.  Luckily, there are many other craft fairs happening in the area this season with applications still open.

AltCraft: (American Craft Council) August 15-17th at Fort Mason.

  • Cost: $300 for three days, 10 ft. booth space.
  • Deadline: May 23rd (e-mail [email protected] for more info)
  • Comments: Fort Mason doesn’t really get foot traffic.  Luckily, AltCraft is well established so they get a good number of visitors.  I might consider applying for this is it weren’t happening the same weekend as my wedding!

Mission Bazaar: May 17-18th at the Armory at 14th & Mission

  • Cost: $300 for two days, 8 x 10 ft. booth space, includes table and two chairs.
  • Deadline: Today!  Payment deadline extended to May 13th.
  • Comments: This is happening the same weekend as Bay to Breakers and the public is being charged $5 admission, perhaps to cover the cost of entertainers.  I’m going to wait until the holiday Mission Bazaar at least.

Roadworks: (Center for the Book) September 20th on De Haro Street between 16th & 17th (12-5pm)

  • Cost: $80 for a full table, $40 for half
  • Deadline: June 13th (tables $100/$50 after deadline)
  • Comments: Sounds like a cool, fun event (they print linoleum carvings with a steamroller) but it’s only five hours long.  I’ve got some time to think about it.

While I fully support having outlets for crafters to sell their wares I have to wonder, are all these craft fairs saturating the market?  I mean, Baz Biz, Mission Bazaar and Capsule in May, Renegade in July, AltCraft in August and Roadworks in September gives San Francisco residents more than one event every month.  Even I don’t shop for gifts that often.  I fear that with application fees rising and more events crowding the calendar that fewer crafters will be able to afford to vend.  That means customers would start seeing the same people over and over (a complaint I’ve already started hearing) and attendance would start to drop off. It’s a vicious economic cycle, I know, but I don’t want to see it hurt the handmade “industry” by turning craft businesses into a passing fad.

Inexpensive Marketing and Promotion (Part 3)

And even more…

Craft fairs: (Cost: 1-2 days of your time, ~$free-250, depending on fair) Craft fairs are great for a lot of reasons. Firstly, they average about 5% of what it costs to do a trade show. Secondly, you can sell your stuff directly to the public, allowing you to make you some cash while conducting first-hand market research in the process. Thirdly (I didn’t know this until recently), your wares often don’t have to be hand-crafted to be eligible. And fourthly, the press comes to you! Not only do writers for various publications visit craft fairs, they are often sponsored by a magazine like Craft, BUST, or Adorn, and are therefore guaranteed to get coverage.I would never apply for a craft fair that charges a non-refundable application fee because it indicates to me that they are either:

  1. Shady or greedy people who are okay with taking money from people who might not get anything out of the deal whatsoever.
  2. Such terrible businessmen/businesswomen that they need to charge application fees in addition to booth fees just to keep the venture profitable.

Here are some excellent fairs to look into that don’t charge non-refundable fees to apply:

If you do handcraft your wares, you should definitely also have a storefront on Etsy, the biggest online craft marketplace out there.

Check back tomorrow for Inexpensive Marketing and Promotion Part 3!