A Year in Craft Fairs: 2023
What a year it was! I’m excited to share with you a recap of my craft fair experience in 2023. With 61 different events, 5 different states, so many amazing customers and vendor friends, there’s a lot to cover - so let’s go!
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR
Traveling to Baltimore for my second year as an Emerging Artist at the American Craft Made Baltimore Marketplace. This opportunity allows newer artists to participate in a large, prestigious event that might otherwise be too costly to do. It’s been a great time for the past two years and I’m excited to head back down there again this March!
Attending my favorite local annual events, including West Medford Open Studios, ArtBeat, and Brookline Open Studios. These events are always well-run, well-attended, and overall a wonderful time! I’m hoping to be back again for another year in 2024.
Exploring new styles of events, like Levitate Flannel Jam - a music festival and craft vendor extravaganza, or the Salem Food Truck Festival and Craft Beer Festival - a combination of everyone’s favorite things!
Working my way through a multitude of different booth layouts and displays. This one might be considered a “lowlight” to some, but I love this aspect of craft fairs. Being able to create my own displays allows me to showcase all of my hard work in a completely unique way!
Learning from customers and developing new products to meet their needs. I brought new larger barrettes to life this year after hearing from many people that they loved my designs but wanted a larger size to hold their hair. I also worked on simplifying my ornaments and testing out different designs to see which ones were most exciting to customers - these will hopefully be added to the online shop for next holiday season!
AND THE WINNERS ARE…
In-person events like craft fairs are a wonderful way to get immediate feedback on your work! As an artist this sort of feedback - what people like a lot, what people like less, what people comment on most - can be so valuable for making decisions about which directions to pursue. We can also look back on the year as a whole and see what designs resonated the most with customers. Sometimes it’s the designs I myself love the most, and sometimes it’s designs I never would have guessed would be so impactful! Here are the year’s top selling styles across a few categories - leave a comment below if you shopped one of them at a craft fair!
Bestselling Ring Style - Shoreline Ring
Bestselling Barrette Style - Aurora Barrette
Bestselling Dangle Earrings - Black Pine Tree Dangles
Bestselling Stud Earrings - Tiny Leaf Studs
STATE BY STATE
This year I attended craft fairs in 5 states - Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The farthest I drove to get to an event was 408 miles one way - from Medford, MA to Baltimore, MD. And the closest event was less than 1 mile away in the heart of Somerville, MA. No matter the distance, I love to explore new venues for craft fairs because it lets me gather research about what works, what doesn’t work, and what I want to continue doing more of. Each location has something special about it, whether that is the place itself or the customers who attend!
RAINY WEATHER WOES
The year was also memorable for its extreme weather - with 8 days of events canceled due to rain and wind. Myself and my fellow vendors all know to expect some weather when we sign up for outdoor events, but we could never have expected that! While the conditions were certainly not favorable for outdoor shopping, navigating the difficult circumstances allowed me to prepare myself, my products, and my display to withstand any weather in the future. The biggest takeaway? To prepare for unexpected situations like these by diversifying beyond in-person events. And the second biggest takeaway? Always bring a towel.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2024
First up for this year is a local Valentine’s Day Event hosted by New England Open Markets! Then I’ll be heading back down to Baltimore in March for the annual American Craft Made Baltimore Marketplace, where I’ll be part of the Emerging Artists cohort for the third year.
You can always find my full event list on the website here, updated frequently as the year goes on. A big thank you to everyone who came out to an event in 2023, your support makes it all worth it! I'd love to hear your feedback about craft fairs - which ones are your favorites, where you think I should travel next - so please leave a comment below!