Do your Homework before you go to Market

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This summer, I’ve heard from crafters who are trying to sell handmade at mainstream gift shows alongside imported bargains.
A designer who hand knits stunning wearable art asked me recently if I thought she should show at one of the large apparel marts. Several metal smiths have consulted with me after having dreadful results at wholesale gift shows.
I do recommend attending mainstream gift shows, more for research than as a vendor.  (see: “Why you should visit Wholesale Craft and Gift Shows” post of 5-25). The price points of goods handcrafted in the US or Canada is likely to be prohibitive to the majority of buyers  at a venue that is primarily imports. You’ll find a much more discriminating,  educated buyer at the Buyer’s Market of American Craft (known in the industry as the Rosen Show in reference to founder Wendy Rosen) or at the American Crafts Council Shows. Retailers attending those shows expect to pay significantly higher wholesale prices for handmade and have the clientele to support those prices.
Again, I do suggest you attend the mainstream gift or apparel shows but as a buyer not an exhibitor. Do your research and then apply to the higher end shows where your work is valued.
If you are exhibiting at these shows, please do share with other readers how it is going for you and which shows have been most receptive to your work.

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