Crafters vs. Vendors

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I was wondering how you feel about going to or being a part of craft shows/ fairs that include both crafters AND vendors. You may be asking ‘If you’re at a show selling things aren’t you considered a vendor?’. Yes, but I am referring to people who sell commercially made items such as Tupperware or Avon. Are you more or less likely to go to a show if you know that there will be people selling things that THEY didn’t make? Does it matter?

I’ve been a part of discussions about this topic before. On one hand people are familiar with the brands and products and that may bring them through the door. On the other hand some feel that people spend less on ‘Handmade’ when the big vendors are there.

I have quite a few friends that are representatives for bigger, nationally recognized companies. I appreciate what they have to offer and will even host parties and such. It can be a nice source of income for a stay-at-home mom. I have even thought about selling Silpada jewelry because I love the stuff and think it’s a great quality. As a crafter, however, I understand that I may not ever be able to price competitively with these companies.

If you can mass produce your items they tend to cost less per piece to make. Making one item, by hand, can cost more not only in supplies BUT in labor. I guess that’s why it’s really important to love what you do.

I hadn’t really thought of this as an issue in the past. I love doing shows with my ‘name brand’ buddies. UNTIL I spent the summer selling things at a Farmer’s Market in Bloomington, IL. It was a great experience! I shared a booth with one of my BFFs. She did REALLY well selling kid’s clothes that she created out of adult clothes… Too cute. DOn’t believe me? Check it out by clicking HERE. I did pretty OK to. I sold items every week I was there. I made a small profit. I loved it. There were a few people put off by some of the prices but for the most part they were there to purchase unique, handmade or home grown items. They seemed to understand that the pricing would be a little higher.

I do know that I will continue to do shows that feature national vendors as well as handmade. It’s been my experience that those booth spaces tend to be more in my price range plus I have a good time. I want to see those people succeed as well.

Fill me in… What do you think?

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One response »

  1. I think it depends on what the big vendor is selling. At my first show a few weeks ago, there was a Discovery Toys lady next to me. I don’t mind that (maybe I would if I was selling kids’ toys) but I definitely would mind if someone was selling scarves and accessories from China. Then I can’t compete at all.

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