Crafts fairs: The wrap-up – FineWoodworking

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this series. To conclude, I’d like to point out and re-emphasize a few things.

The cons

Craft shows can be really fun. They are also a lot of work. Simply standing on your feet all day, in the weather, talking to strangers can be exhausting. On top of that, you will have to carry in your work, set it up, carry it out. And you’re not guaranteed to make even a single sale at any given show. I had one show early on where I did not make one sale and it was demoralizing.

The pros

On the other hand, you will meet lots of great people, customers and other craftspeople. You will make a little money, and perhaps most important of all, you will get feedback on your work, which can only make you better (and feels good when it’s positive).

Even on days when you don’t make a lot of sales, you might be planting seeds for future sales. Maybe someone saw your great logo, had a good conversation with you, and then didn’t buy anything. But they took your business card and six months from now they will email you asking about commissioning a new desk. The seed was planted and grew. So, keep that in mind. It happens.


As you’re considering getting into the market scene and you visit other shows, please respect the vendors you’re speaking to. We all get advice from each other, but it’s disrespectful to interview a vendor at a show. We pay to be there; sometimes we pay a lot. And you’ve read in the other posts all the considerations we’ve made and the frustrations we may have faced just that day before talking to you (setting up a tent in the rain, carrying heavy stuff for blocks, etc.). So, when we’re standing there hoping we can cover our costs and maybe a little extra, we’re not really interested in discussing what kind of glue we use on our cutting boards (It’s Titebond III, obviously), or how you can get into the scene. Instead, say hello, compliment the work, take a business card, and ask if you can get in touch sometime to ask for some advice.

Almost every woodworker I know is happy to help someone else in the craft. I count myself among them. But as soon as someone tells me they’re a woodworker at a show, I know they’re not going to buy anything, and I’m waiting for them to stop talking so I can, as politely as possible, ask them to email me their questions.

And I invite you to do that here. I’m happy to answer any questions people have. Hit me up on IG, or through my web site:

Also, I encourage you to get out there and give the craft fair world a try. While I’ve gone in depth here and it can seem like a lot, it is very accessible. Just like the craft itself, one step at a time and you’ll get there. Thanks for reading along. Good luck out there.

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