Friday, November 16, 2012


There are many decisions to be made when you begin to try to sell your hand made items.

The first one is which show(s) to do.  I was very lucky as I chose weaving during the 70's when a whole lot of my generation were actively pursuing sustainable living and hand crafted items.  Many of the now established and respected craft fairs were just starting out, too.  Now the flavour of craft fairs is changing and it is harder, I think, for new craftspeople to get started.  The division between bazaar type shows and high quality shows is much greater in terms of space costs, making the leap into the 'big' time a much greater financial risk.

It also seems to me that younger people are not pursuing the older crafts such as weaving or pottery and the type of product is changing.  What I am seeing more of at shows are consumables - food and personal care products.

This change makes perfect sense because a great deal of the feedback I have been receiving the past few years is "I am not buying more 'stuff'; I am only buying consumables."

What this means for the 'traditional' crafts person (IMHO) is a market that is going to be harder and harder in which to earn an income.  And it was hard enough already!

Craftspeople are going to have to get very creative about bringing new products to the market.  It is going to be very interesting to see if the new generation can be enticed into considering unique traditionally produced products or if they will only be interested in the consumables and mass produced technology.

We are also pondering whether or not the greater visibility of a corner booth would actually improve sales enough to justify the additional expenses....

Currently reading Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young


Alicja said...

Very interesting post, Laura. I will pay attention to customers' choices during Christmas Art and Craft festival in my city.

Greetings from Poland

Kerstin på Spinnhuset said...

It looks the same here - food and "cute" clothes for grandchildren seems to be what sells.
("Cute" - this year it seems to be hats in the shape of animals' heads)

Laura Fry said...

Yes, 'cute' is in abundance here, too...
Otoh, my sales seem to be going well enough here that it is likely that we will return to Calgary next year, too. But I really need to come up with a new product. Just not sure what that will be at the minute.