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  1. #1
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    Craft Fair Etiquette

    I know a lot of people on getcrafty have experience with craft fairs. I for one grew up going to half a dozen a year with my mother (she did tooled leather) and I still love to go to them. The last one we went to my husband talked about how guilty he feels because he's not buying something from everyone. I always just make sure to compliment what I like even if I'm not buying it, so the vendor has an idea of what appeals to people. I also try to make eye contact and say hi to each vendor.

    So, what's your craft fair etiquette? From the vendors - what do you like people to say/do (other than buy ;)? From the buyers, what do you think is good craft fair etiquette? Horror stories? Favorite types of craft fairs/bazaars/flea markets?

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  3. #2
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    I guess what kills me at craft fairs is when someone says "I could make that, and for less money" right within earshot. That's kinda frustrating. People who wink and say "I'll be back!" and never return are also disheartening. Maybe they meant to, but in my experience it's a pretty rare bird that reappears.

    That said, I do like compliments (who doesn't?) and I think my favorite was when someone commented that my finishing work on my bags was excellent. It's nice when someone who has an eye for what you do thinks you do it well :) The people who make a point of saying hello also brighten my day; the ones that try not to make eye contact are a tad unnerving.

    Anyway, that's my two cents. I like doing craft fairs, but they certainly are exhausting. Holiday fairs seem to be the best; and so far my experience has suggested that city fair and country fair actually even out about the same.

    Jen

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetpea
    People who wink and say "I'll be back!" and never return are also disheartening. Maybe they meant to, but in my experience it's a pretty rare bird that reappears.
    Those people remind me of my grama - no intention of coming back but she thinks she's making the person feel good - um, ya? :P

    I love kids, and I know they like to touch shiny glittery things - but keep your candy coated hands off my product! I have had a few moms actually say to their kids "keep your drink/ice cream/whatever" away from the table - a big thank you to those moms!

    At my last show I had a lady come up to me (while I was mid-transaction) and start handing me a flyer for her show in October - and then she went into her speil - um hello, do you see I am dealing with a customer here? Show folk should know better! If I'm chatting up a fellow vendor and a potential customer comes to the booth, I shut up and get out!

    Oh craft shows. . . .I can never decide if I love 'em or hate 'em! *lol*

  5. #4
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    i always feel really bad when i go into a booth and am just completely uninterested or turned off by their work and really have nothing to say. what's the best way to deal with that? i just smile and tell them to have a good one.

    unfortunately, i am guilty of saying (though definitely NOT within earshot!) that i could just make it myself. of course, it's rare that i ever do so! my main issue with craft fairs is just the fact that it is rare that things are actually reasonably priced. when i have done the few small shows i've participated in, i try to keep my prices fair, so people can actually buy instead of look. sure, i could make more $$ per item, but i've found that i have made more $$ total when i price things on the low side. of course, it all depends on the demographic..... i've had many people tell me that i priced my stuff too low, but then if i had priced it higher, would they have bought nearly as much?!? i just try to set prices with my cheapskate mindset - "what would i be willing to pay for this?" rather than "what could i get for this?" sorry for the little rant, but it's discouraging to go to a show and come out empty-handed because everything you liked was way too pricey!

  6. #5
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    I understand that, sarabell, and have certainly thought to myself "I could make that!" on occasion. But it was a $22 beach bag--made with nice fabric, two ginormous pockets, metal snap, cotton webbing--not cheap for me to make, and good quality, and not overpriced. So when people make it sound like I make cheap crap, it kinda hurts. Especially when they make no pains to shield it from me. :(

    Course, I'm a tad oversensitive sometimes at these things :)

    And as far as "I'm in a booth with nothing I like, what do I do?" I think you're totally on the mark--just saying have a nice day and leaving is fine! It's still friendly, after all!

    Jen

  7. #6
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    it's odd when i'm sitting at my bazaar table and people just come up and shoot photos without saying a word and go on their merry way. what can you do about that? i mean, beyond chasing them down like they're evil paparazzi and stealing the camera? heh.

    on a side note, what do you do when someone else is selling stuff that's awfully derivative (including the wording of the descriptions) of stuff you've been making and selling for years? grin and ignore it, or call them on it?

  8. #7
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    Someone taking photos of your booth? My first thought would be kind: probably someone involved in the establishment of the craft fair who is looking for pleasant pictures of diverse stuff to attract more artisans and more advertising bucks.

    I could also believe for a moment or two that the picture taker wanted to remember how I managed to get the display a certain way. Like if you used PVC pipe and built a framework or something.

    Then, third, I'd be thinking Press.

    After that i'd wonder if someone was just getting ideas for what they could make for such fairs.

    But I would probably say something like, "Please, ask me before taking pictures!"

  9. #8
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    I'm not a Pollyanna. I get pissed off with surprising speed and unpredictability, but outside of a situation I can usually see multiple sides to it.

    Someone walking by who says, "Oh, I could make that!" is generally not meaning it as denigration to the crafter. It could be that speaker is trying to impress a companion, or is trying to justify to herself why she shouldn't buy something. Yeah, it is a mean thing to say, but I don't think the intent is to malign. If you had a chatting relationship with the woman, or had exchanged greetings, she might be more inclined to say, "Gee I wish I had the time, I have this great machine at home and scads of fabric that I just don't get to. I bet that never happens to you..." And you can laugh and say, "You wouldn't think so, would you? But don't look in my boxes at my unfinished projects, and you don't want to be behind me at the cutting table when there is a sale on."

    There is something I make that I never see made to the level of artistry i attain. I'll see versions of it every year, everywhere, but will take one look at the white pine cones and think, "Ew, you are in for major trouble once it gets warmer..." It took a few months and lots of effort forty years ago to learn what I needed to know about the materials I was using. Technique has changed, and I'm pretty adaptable to new base material, but I'm still way ahead of most people on concept and execution. This also comes from being in an extended family where artsy cousins were working with the same materials and we exchanged ideas and raw materials. There is no time when I see this sort of thing in craft fairs or high end boutiques that I don't know I could have done it way better. I just never say so.

    I don't talk to every booth owner/operator. I may just nod as I come in, nod as I leave. Sometimes a wink and a smile. Sometimes a comment on something I find particularly lovely, or a question about the origin of the materials. I may ask for a card, but I always have notepaper and pen to write down whatever I need, such as where this dealer is showing next or if they ever work in spalted wood. I may give information such as, "Check out the rock and gem shop on Ferncreek, hidden behind an automotive body repair."

    I may also tell someone that their quality and pricing is out of my league for now, but I'd like to see more when my finances improve.

    Some of our regional craft fairs are trying for world recognition. This makes it hard to shop with the huge crowds. I will walk through as people are setting up and make note of who I need to revisit before the crowds get thick.

  10. #9
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    All this advice is really informative. I've never participated in a craft fair, only attended them, and many of these things wouldn't have occurred to me.

    I do often think (or say) "I could make that" - but I certainly hope I've never said it within earshot of the person who made it. And I always remember that even though I could have made something, that person actually did make it, not just once but many times over, and is making money from it. I admire and envy those with that ability, because it's something I haven't learned yet.

    I at least understand that it's not cool to take photos of other people's creations. But here's a question: What about taking notes? I sometimes do this - more often in retail stores than at craft fairs. I like looking at things that I wouldn't buy for whatever reason (too expensive, don't want to support that store's politics, etc.) but that I might like to make for myself.

    If you saw someone looking at your crafts and writing down descriptions, would you be offended? Would you ask why they're doing it? If they assured you it was just for ideas for their own use or inspiration to do something different but similar - not to rip off and sell - would you be okay with that? (Would you even believe them?)

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katrin
    If you saw someone looking at your crafts and writing down descriptions, would you be offended? Would you ask why they're doing it? If they assured you it was just for ideas for their own use or inspiration to do something different but similar - not to rip off and sell - would you be okay with that? (Would you even believe them?)
    I'd be peeved if I saw someone taking notes or taking a photo without my permission. I've never caught anyone so can't really say what I'd do, but I'd probably smile and ask if they had any questions I could answer - in the hopes of either scaring them off (if they are looking to copy) or leaving it open for them to tell me something along the lines of "I'm a shop owner and want to remember who I saw later" etc. Or I might just give them the evil eye.

    If someone sees something they like and can't afford so make it themselves - well as much as I want them to buy from me I am often in the same boat, and it's ok. But if they're copying so they call sell themselves - well . . . while knock-offs are an industry unto themselves at least be a little more imaginative than standing at my booth taking a bead count (apparently someone did that this weekend - fortunately for them I was not in my booth at the time!). Geeze - go online where at least you're not in my face about it! Or go copy someone who's actually making a profit *rofl*


 
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