How to Organize a Craft Fair

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Convincing others to participate is just part of organizing a crafts fair.
Convincing others to participate is just part of organizing a crafts fair. (Image: federicofoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Organizing a craft fair requires far more work than renting a table at one, as you must handle everything from finding artisans and a venue to promoting the show and making sure people attend. Whether you want to organize a craft fair as a way to raise funds for charity or as a for-profit venture, knowing what’s involved is the first step in creating an event that successfully brings artisans and buyers together.

Spread Out the Work

Create a committee to help you host the fair by seeking out crafters who want to get involved in exchange for table space. Dole out responsibilities such as helping to finding artisans, handling logistics of the floor set-up, and helping vendors set up their displays. Work with your committee to identify and convince at least one artisan who has a strong following to sign up for your fair, as this helps build credibility with exhibitors and attendees. You also need people to handle ad creation, graphics, press releases, social media postings and website updates. Ask your committee to help recruit sponsors to buy ads in your fair program, as this money helps pay for renting the venue and advertising costs.

Pick a Location

Look for a place to hold the fair, either indoors or outside, depending on the time of the year. Inquire about church halls, community centers, school gymnasiums, fair grounds, colleges or a local restaurant as potential venues. Make sure artisans can easily bring their displays and merchandise into the venue. If your fair is helping to raise money for charity, ask the venue if you can pay a reduced rental fee. Look for a venue with plenty of parking and access for people who are disabled. Outdoor venues might include church or school parking lots, vacant lots or local parks. A local business may be willing to let you use its lawn in exchange for a listing in your fair guide.

Determine Table Fees

Add up all of the potential costs associated with the fair to determine the fee to charge each artisan for a table. Costs include venue rental, utilities, advertising to find artisans, printing of the fair booklet, and promotion to bring in buyers. Decide how many tables to include in the fair and divide the total expenses by the number of tables to figure out the minimum fee to charge. You may want to add a bit more to the fee in case you’re unable to sell the total number of tables you need to break even. Offer a discount for artisans who want to rent more than one table. Another option involves charging a small fee per table plus a commission of all sales generated by each table.

Promote the Event

Schedule the date of your fair at least several months before the event to allow time to advertise and find participants to rent tables. List your event in annual craft fair directories and local publications. Ask craft supply stores if you can hang a poster about the event. Head to craft fairs in your area, and hand out flyers and applications to exhibitors to build interest. Start posting about the fair on your social media pages as soon as you secure a location, and post more often as the show nears. For instance, post about new vendors you sign up, the types of crafts and arts that will be available, and any special entertainment or food you plan to use to draw people in.

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