In 2014-15 we hit markets hard! We we’re fresh faced and eager to meet all our adoring new customers. If this is you, new to the market circuit here is our nickels worth of advice from our top 5 handmade markets. Enjoy!
Jackalope Art Fair was started in Pasadena, CA and quickly expanded to AZ and CO (we’re hoping they keep it small!). It is a nicely curated show with no buy/sell, vintage, or resale items and they often invite vendors from their other cities to each show. The ladies who run the event are very organized and professional; they do a decent job of marketing the shows with traditional as well as online marketing. They understand all aspects of both event management and working with artists, so being a vendor is a breeze!
Denver Flea has quickly become the “IT” show in Denver. With a heavy focus on young adults, drinking and music; Denver Flea is a really fun show for vendors and attendees alike! If your products appeal to a younger, single demographic with a low price point, you will no doubt be successful! Unfortunately, it is not truly a handmade or artist focused event. Therefore, you will be competing with vintage, buy/sell and resale vendors. If you are lucky enough to be accepted, you can expect shoppers to pay a small entrance fee, shop with a beer in hand and buy a ton of products in the $5-$35 range.
For us, Wonderland Scottsdale is a true horror story. We can only be thankful to have made it out alive! 2015 was the 1st year for this show and was organized by an unnamed individual who was solely interested in making money, for herself. Here’s how it went down:
- Ridiculously high entrance fee for shoppers, $25 per head
- Extremely poor, unprofessional digital and social media marketing
- Expensive/useless TV spots were purchased instead
- Absolutely NO preference for handmade, USA made, vintage or artist products
- Tons of boutiques selling china made merchandise and MLM products (Bamboo Pillows, Avon, etc.)
- Major lack in overall theme/flow of the show. In 4 surrounding booths they had: 1 tech gadgets, 1 sparkly cheap jewelry, 1 china made toys and 1 home goods. Its like walking into a Walmart/Pottery Barn. Does that make any sense ?!
Lastly, they generated less than 500 shoppers for the 4-day show! Every single vendor went home in the red. It was a sad, sad weekend. Anyone who takes a chance on Wonderland Scottsdale 2016, we wish you the best of luck!
Recognized as one of the premier handmade market in the US, Firefly Handmade is a long running staple of the handmade community in Colorado. They have a huge following and their Boulder shows are always a success. The organizer however, can be a stickler. Do not email her questions that are covered in the vendor handbook and whatever you do, never miss a fee deadline! You will quickly be kicked out of the show, begging for forgiveness over email to get your booth back.
Vintage Whites Market is a January show for Colorado which is great for last year’s inventory that didn’t sell during the holiday rush. The focus is on vintage, antique, re-purposed or vintage-inspired merchandise, instead of handmade or artist products. They accept a handful of handmade or apparel vendors but don’t expect to hit your target demographic unless it’s 35-55 women who stay at home with kids or grand kids.
I hope you enjoyed our posts and will take some of these tips into the 2016 season. Please add any comments below; we would love to hear your experiences and questions!