Art Fair Insiders

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

It seems like every time I have a festival I usually bring way too much.  I always get a little nervous if I have too little cause I think, "what if I need the change?"  So, I'm asking the experts: How much green do you bring?  Yes, I take Credit Cards but I do get cash sales.

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I bring a lot, and I have no idea how much that is. I always have some $20s (about 10), more $10s (10 or more), even more $5s (about 20), and heaps of 1s (about 30). I guess that works to about $430. PLUS all the coins. I don't round off in order to eliminate the pennies. This money lives in my cash box and I only take out the excess at the end of a show. Also, make notes about resupplying a denomination; it sucks to get to a show in the morning only to discover you forgot to get more $1s.
50 singles, 10 fives, 3 tens, and a twenty. Plus a couple rolls of each coin.
Most of my larger purchases are credit cards - so with that in mind:
$25 in 1s, $25 in 5s, $30 in 10s, $40 in 20s, $5-10 in quarters - I don't mess with smaller change and just round in the customers favor.

Also - I'm still doing mostly smaller, local juried shows - I'd probably go up a bit especially on the lower denominations if I knew it was a larger event - most ATMs put out 20s and that's what the customers bring, so I don't worry about running out of those!
Clever thinking, Megan...I've noticed I always wind up with a ton of 20s, and never thought to ascribe it to the fact that that's what the ATMs dispense!
My vintage origami change wallet always starts with 15 ones, 5 fives, 5 tens, and 5 twenties. I only use quarters. I have some extra ones and fives stashed elsewhere and have to use them during one in three shows....usually the ones. When the show ends, I usually have to replace several ones, maybe a five and a ten to get back to the original change amount.
I usually bring 50 ones and 4 fives and what ever change I have left over from the last show. Only once did I have a problem not having enough ones. When I go to buy food, I always use a $20 that someone has given me and use that change, too. My sales are pretty split between credit and cash.
I assume that my first customer of the day will give me a $100 bill for a small purchase (it's happened before) and plan accordingly--my wallet starts with $75 in fives and $25 in ones. A couple of times I have had to go to customer service at Wally World after the first day, but not very often. I also hate carrying around coins so I round cash sales to the nearest bill in the customer's favor.
We usually bring $200. 20 singles, 20 5's and 8 10's. Occasionally we get a little close...last week someone paid with a 100 and another with a 50, but we made it through with the other cash purchases, which seems to be atrend lately. We still do some credit card sales, but more and more we're seeing cash sales.
A good place to find 1s and 5's at a show is with the street performers. They often end up the day with an abundance of these denominations and are happy to do an exchange.
Fifty $1's and four $5's always works for me..........and I also use my first $20 for food so have that as extra change.
I have found that if I am in a pinch, my friendly artist-neighbor is usually willing to help out. Later in the day, I will make sure my artist-neighbor doesn't need help with cash. Being a good neighbor has come in handy more than once, for us.
I've only just started up, and took £50 to my first fair, which turned out to be fine (£20 in £5, £20 in £1 and the rest in smaller coins). But I did have £100 in notes in my own wallet and someone with me to go and collect more change if needed.


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