Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Hi everyone,

I've been a lurker since I joined art fair insiders and have learned so much and have enjoyed so much of the information.  This is truly a wonderful community.

I realize there is never any guarantee but I was wondering also what the consensus is about spending upwards of $100 for an application for an event.  So far I've done shows only $15 - $35 and admittedly only had a few where I sold anything.  The others I did not sell anything or maybe just 1 or 2 pieces. 

Have you found  a correlation between a show being able to charge a lot because the vendors tend to make a lot?

Thanks and really glad to be here.

Kathy

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Jury fees of $25-$35 are pretty much the norm. You would be better off researching demographics of show and area to determine if your art was a "good fit" than putting much stock in the amount charged for a 10x10 booth space. There a lots of good shows ($1K/day sales)  out there charging less the $400 for space.  

Hey Richard,

Thanks for your reply.  That is helpful and interesting,   'researching demographics ...' is not something I would have thought of.  So far its just been what show is within distance and are they still taking applications.  

Never spent upwards of $100 for an applicatrion fee. Doubt I ever will.

Hi Greg

That is amazing!  I read some of your discussions and I'm surprised some of the shows you've been to weren't over $100.  Good to know.

Kathy

Kathy, Are you using the wrong terminology? Application fee VS Booth fee?

I have never paid over $100 "application / jury fee".

Now booth, almost always.

Larry,

I did use the wrong terminology.  It is a booth fee I am referring to.  I've never paid an application fee now that I think about.  The booth fee always had to accompany the application so I just considered it an application fee.

Thank you Larry for pointing that out.  I did mean combination booth and application fee.  

Kathy

In most shows that I have done, I never pay a booth fee with the application. The normal process, for me, has been to pay the jury fee, when applying with the application. Then if I am accepted, I then pay the booth fee. I do not have an application fee that I am aware of however I imagine many may call the jury fee an application fee instead.

I should have clarified even further.  I've done local shows only that are not juried or if they are juried there was no fee associated.

Does anyone here do smaller non juried shows?

Hi Kathy, I think you are asking if there is a correlation between higher booth fees and higher sales? And the short answer is 'not necessarily' but certainly possible. If you are paying less than $100 for booth space, chances are you are doing a school or church show/ flea market-type? Those shows aren't charging much because they aren't really advertising. The promoters aren't investing much into the show so you may not get a big crowd beyond that promoter's followers. Many people on here probably do shows between $100 and $1000 for booth space. Typically those shows are more community driven and advertising dollars are spent. And hopefully that brings in a bigger crowd.

But since it sounds like you are relatively new to festivals, I would first focus on your own art/business. Do you know your demographics? Is there a demand for your art/product? Would you have enough variety/ inventory to make $100s-$1000s on a show? I would probably satisfy all those questions before expanding to bigger shows.

For me and my experience, the answer is yes, the bigger shows equates to more sales. However, the shows I do are specifically targeting my target market/demographic. So I can't just do any big expensive show and expect to make money. I'll pay booth space upwards of $4000 (trade show). Since I focus on pet related designs, I look for pet related events.  Hopefully that gives you some guidance. Good luck!

Awesome!  Thanks so much Loc.  You are exactly correct, I am new to this and have gotten my feet wet at school/church shows.

I'm creating small sculptures.  Once I get any good photos, MUCH harder then I ever imagined, I'll post them.  I'm making such a variety of things that determining demographics is a little tough.  For example I"m going to a mushroom festival so I'm making alot of mushroom related items.

What has sold in the past sold as gifts but kids always oohed and ahhed and smiled big when they saw my little critters.  My goal for next year is to get less "Oh that is so cute" to get at least one, "That is really pretty/nice looking" because that means, in my mind, I can charge more??  People will only pay so much for 'cute' is my thinking.

Knowing I have more homework to do and not to just assume I'll get sales if I spend more for a booth is a big help.  

Hi Kathy. I haven't done a small non juried show in many years. Presently the cheapeast booth fee I pay for any of the shows I do is $250 and the average booth fee is about $500 and I do shows that are over $1000.

I have found over the years that non juried shows often don't bring the kind of crowds that you need to make good sales. It is hard to sell hand made items when the person next to you is selling attic insulation (true story) now this is not always the case with non juried shows but more often than not it is.

Is it true that higher booth fees make for better sales? mostly but not always. What makes the difference is the promoter and the venue and often that means higher costs as the promoter has to pay for the venue and the better promoters will spend real money to advertise.

Often the smaller shows with the $15, $25 or even $100 price tags do almost no advertising. So if the show is not located in a place with high traffic and easy access no one knows the show is even going on.

Also small shows like that have a small customer base and it is easy to sell the show out. You may do well the first year but the second year you just get a lot of people who stop by and say "I bought something from you last year"

Don,

I just now learned about the difference between juried and non juried.  It makes more sense now. 

I've been very intimidated by the idea of juried shows but I'm learning so much here I hope to start applying for next year as soon as I get photos and booth looking great.

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