Last October, November, and December my bf and I participated in several craft fairs. Some members of the SF Etsy team asked for some insight into craft fairs in the south bay so I wrote a little about my experience. Here are my four most notable experiences of last year.
I was told of the great annual show at lynbrook high school hosted by the high school band. Its Nov. 20 this year. I was really excited about the one day event but when push came to shove, it was a real miss. Personally, I and several people around my booth who had a booth didn’t do well – I didn’t even make enough to cover the cost of the booth. however, with the background it has, I would try it one more time – last year could have just been a fluke right? (unfortunately, I won’t be attending any fairs this year due to my schedule). i just received an email from them saying more info will come out around august. email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Bishop elementary school in Saratoga was great. It was a three hour event on a Friday. The booth price was very reasonable (maybe $35 but don’t quote me on that). Everyone was happy – customers and vendors. They host the show in the cafeteria and provides a nice large table (i would say double the size of normal places). Many sales came and many happy customers were amist. They had pictures with Santa and a raffle (the raffle wasn’t too organized). Customers were happy to purchase handmade. I sold three crocheted baby blankets to a customer that asked me if i had anymore! I asked her why she wanted so many and she said she was preparing just in case any of her girlfriends have a baby. It seems as the crowd plans for gifts for the future (not just for christmas). Shelley was in charge and may be in charge again. Shelley had a booth herself but I could see her number one priority was organizing the fair. I don’t want to post her email
address since its her personal address but you can message me
personally and I can send it to you. (click the contact button at the top.)
For the heck of it I tried the flea on Berryessa Rd. on the free Saturday (one a month i think). it was hit or miss, like any flea market. They also host an annual craft faire section in Nov/Dec (this year its on Nov. 13). The craft fair is held within a tent in the market (I think its marked expo center on the map). I found out about it because a Flea representative came by my booth and told me about it. I made a very lucky custom sale so I though why not. I personally did well there but lots of haggling was done – I hate haggling so I left it to my bf to do that part. Unfortunately, other crafters did not fair so well. I think my luck was partially due to my bf’s fun in haggling, our position in the fair (our booth seemed to get traffic), and well, it was cold so it reminded people that they needed hats? (I’m not sure.) But due to my luck, I would try it one more time. After all, the price was right for the two day event.
One show I absolutely recommend never to do is one hosted by Donna Kimble. I really hate to write bad reviews, even when I purchase something not fitting the description it promised. However, to prevent other crafters from losing not only their money invested in the booth space, but the time spent to prepare and attend, I have to provide a very bad review on this show(s). (Please note that I wrote this about six months after the event and still decided to write about this.)
She claims to host many shows during the holiday season. I say claim because she does actually get the space, but other than that nothing is done. She explicitly agreed to provide tables and lunch. There were no tables and no lunch. She said the place where she rented her tables couldn’t make it. Then, when lunch time rolled around, she claimed the caterer just never showed up. Then, at the end, when a crafter asked if we would get a refund for lunch and tables she said yes. She would mail it to us. Well, its been six months and nothing yet. I wrote to her a couple weeks after the event and she said she was working on it.
Besides the lunch and tables, no customers came. The venue was the back room of a coffee shop. A few coffee shop patrons came by to see what was up. Besides that, nobody. Come to find out, there was no advertising AT ALL! Apparently she just expected customers to just show up. There was a little sign plastered on the window of the shop but nothing that could be seen by passing traffic.
Unfortunately for some crafters who bought into her discount on multiple shows, other crafters had already paid for more shows with her. Some said they didn’t care about the money – they wouldn’t show. Others didn’t know what to do. I, personally, just purchased one show to see how it would go so I was lucky not to be in that situation.
Overall, I highly recommend Bishop. Others are hit and miss but if you are willing to test the waters, I would try them all again (except for the Donna Kimble poop out).