Last year, I had the opportunity to join a number of craft shows and bazaars! While craft shows and bazaars may sound the same, I found out the hard way that these are, in fact, very different from each other. And knowing the difference between craft shows and bazaars can play a big role in your sales.
Sell Your Handmade Work in Craft Shows, Not in Bazaars.
When I was at the Pieces By Reese 3-Day Christmas Bazaar, I made the mistake of displaying handmade products, gradient yarns, and crochet hooks on the first day. Being new to the bazaar scene, I had no idea that bazaars were NOT craft shows. And while many may argue that there are shoppers who might be looking for homemade stuff for Christmas gifts, bazaars are really not the place for expensive handmade items. Shoppers will be looking for good deals and your beautiful but pricey handcrafts may not sell well at these events. In addition, most people who will be going to bazaars are not crafters, so selling craft supplies may not be a good idea. Needless to say, my first day at the City Lights Hotel Christmas bazaar was not profitable. However, it was not a total loss because even though I didn’t make a killing on Day 1, I learned a very valuable lesson. And this lesson is priceless.
At Bazaars, Shoppers are on the Lookout for Good Deals.
Standing in the middle of that big venue and looking around, it dawned on me that people go to bazaars are on the hunt for bargain finds. They are looking for cheap items that they can give as gifts for Christmas. They might want handmade products but they will be expecting to pay a very low cost for it because, well, it is a bazaar! At bazaars, you will also notice that most vendors will be selling clothes, shoes, bags. Sure, there will be a plethora of items but most will be clothes and household products. You might see only one or two artisans trying to sell their handmade work.
Crafters and Art Lovers go to Craft Shows. Bargain Hunters Go to Bazaars.
To get a clearer idea, just imagine your market for each event. At craft shows, most people will be crafters and art lovers. They appreciate handmade because most of them are also artisans like you. Or if they are not themselves crafters, they are friends or families of the participating vendors in the event. And so, they understand the love, time, and effort that go to every handmade piece. At the 4th Baguio Craft Fair, I was able to sell two of my giant mandalas. One of the buyers told me that she was the mother of another artisan there so she can appreciate the love and hard work it takes to make handmade items.
At bazaars, most shoppers will be non-crafters. Although, selling at art festivals may not be a guarantee that the crowd will all be art lovers. At the Ibagiw Arts Festival 2019, the crowd was very diverse. While the event was supposed to be a venue for artists and artisans, it was opened to the public and the venue, The Old Diplomat Hotel, was a famous tourist spot in Baguio City. I think many tourists didn’t know that they were at an Arts Festival. Some probably thought that they were in the public market and were looking at souvenirs. I’ve had tourists come up to me with high praises, thinly veiled insults, and even direct anger as reaction for my handmade products. The insults and anger usually came after they ask the price for my giant mandalas. Having experienced that, I would like to mention that customers should also know the difference between craft shows and bazaars so that they, too, can manage their price expectations.
Well, this article has become too long. I hope that you pick up something useful from my experience with both craft shows and bazaars. And if you are planning to join both, just remember that these two are very different monsters and that you should know how to handle both, hopefully, after reading this post. Once you understand the main difference between craft shows and bazaars, you’ll know what to prepare for and as a result, you will have a better result at these events in terms of profit and general experience.