Surviving the Summer Show Season

It’s the summer craft show season.


Most of the shows, in the northern part of the US, anyway, are held outdoors.  Merchants set up tents and sell at festivals and other outdoor public events.  With any luck, the crowds are out and about enjoying themselves, and, we  hope, spending their dollars on soap, candles, and bath and body products.


Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  A day or a weekend spent in fun and games collecting said dollars.  Those who have done these shows, however, know the truth.  They spend hours in preparation manufacturing adequate quantity.  They set up their booths, sell for the long hours that the shows often demand, experience fickle crowds, and then take it all down and return home with what is left, all the while with a smile and perky attitude.  This description doesn’t even begin to mention the “good shows gone bad”–rain, wind, mud, extreme heat, even hurricanes and tornadoes, and so on, wreaking havoc on tents, customers, and vendors, alike.  Indeed, the life of a professional crafter who sells at outdoor shows is likely to include tales of surviving (or not) extreme conditions and other adventures of selling on the road.  Those who think it’s an easy way to make money will be quickly taught otherwise, even at their first show.


Not that it’s all bad.  Sometimes crafters hit the jackpot and find their goods selling like the proverbial hotcakes (although I have yet to see hotcakes being sold at all, quickly or otherwise, but I digress).  They meet wonderful people, be it other crafters, show staff or customers.  They glean valuable feedback about their products, and they might even get the opportunity to participate in some of the activity going on around them.  Not the worst way to spend the weekend, indeed.


Do you vend at summer, outdoor shows?  Do you find them to be enjoyable and lucrative, or do you not participate, seeing the shows as too much of a gamble, too much work, or tough on product?


 If you do like them, please leave your best tip for other readers to not only survive the shows, but to thrive at them.


Until next time, stay happy creating bubbles and wax fun.


Beth Byrne


One Response to “Surviving the Summer Show Season”
  1. jane wheeler says:

    I start a week or so out checking the weather reports, so I can prepare for the event. If hot weather is predicted and I do not have electricity, out come the battery fans. You can purchase these at your local Wal-Mart for under $15.oo. I like to take one for each person. Of course lots of water and light snacks. Dress in light colors comfy shoes. I like to sit in tall chairs behind my tables, I do not like to have customers looking down at me, I find eye to eye contact one of the best selling tools. Decorate your tables for the event eye catching displays draw customers in and large easy to read signs will make you stand out.
    I have had customers come up to my booth and offer me less for my products or want to barter on the price like a garage sale. Now this is up to you of course but I stick to my prices and have told more than one customer no thank you , I am a business and not a yard sale all said with a big smile.
    And most of all network with other crafters, introduce yourself to your neighbors remember they are potential customers as well.

Leave Your Comments Below