Local craft fairs and shows generally take place over 2 or 3 day weekends. They are usually run by promotional companies that put together events centered around a theme such as wine, jazz, or garlic(!) festivals.
I highly recommend starting locally as you will be familiar with your surroundings and market conditions. This should allow you to focus on product assortment and promoting your company before heading out to bigger markets and craft shows.
Juried Craft Shows vs. Open Shows
An “Open Show” means that anyone with sufficient funds in their checking account can rent a space and sell things. Often, this means you end up competing with “resellers,” vendors that buy things and resell them during the craft fair.
Since your work is lovingly hand made by you, open shows may not be the best venue for you to sell your handmade jewelry, as it can oftentimes be difficult to compete price-wise with things made by small children chained to the floor in foreign countries.
Juried events are judged by a panel chosen by each show’s promoter. They usually consist of a mix of successful craftspeople, boutique, and fine craft gallery owners, as well as the promoter(s).
Selling at Local Craft Fairs
If you are just starting out, scout local shows yourself, paying close attention to how many jewelry designers are admitted and the quality of work being presented, and make notes on the range of jewelry prices.
Observe the traffic patterns throughout the course of the day and when it is almost empty, note if there are any spots that receive almost no traffic. Most importantly, take note of the show promoters as you do your scouting, as you will probably notice patterns in quality of work, sales, and amount of traffic.
If you find a local craft show you think you'll do well in, give it a try! You'll need to do a few locally to get some experience selling jewelry as well seeing if this is the thing for you.
Moving Beyond Local Craft Fairs
After you get a feel for how craft shows work, plan on investing in at least one craft show list to help you plan your jewelry selling season. These professionally compiled craft show lists are your key to building a successful jewelry selling season, and worth every penny you spend!
Applying to Juried and Craft Shows
Ok, so you’ve gone through all the craft show listings in your region, and marked the ones that interested you.
Before you start applying for juried art and craft shows, it would be a good idea to make a calendar or show schedule of sorts listing the shows and local art fairs you are interested in: fees, application availability, and closing date for submissions, etc.
That way you always know when to ask for craft show applications and when you need to have your application materials and Art and Craft Festivals Fees in by.
Craft Show Tips