Is it possible to make money at craft sales or flea markets selling handmade goods?

Question by CuteWriter: Is it possible to make money at craft sales or flea markets selling handmade goods?
Okay, so I have a little talent. You may think it’s only VERY little. I can knit. I can whip up adorable mittens in a couple of hours, knit socks, make cute beaded and wire-work jewelry, etc.

Does anyone ever REALLY make any money at craft fairs? My feeling on the matter is that unless you get your supplies for wholesale, you’re unlikely to even recoup the cost of your materials (yarn, sterling wire, etc.).

I’m not looking to get rich. Just pay for my materials and maybe make enough for a few Christmas gifts or to support my continued creative habits. People continue to DO this type of thing, so someone must make SOME money out of it. Is there a secret to this? Certain things or price ranges that sell like hot cakes?

I’m very curious about this!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Let me clarify: I do NOT wish to quit my day job and make a living as an “artist.” I work full time and plan to do so until retirement. In fact, I love my REAL job. I’m just wondering if I’d LOSE tons of money getting a booth twice a year or if I might actually make a couple hundred bucks.

Best answer:

Answer by danial w
I would talk to people who do this sort of thing. I am sure if you have good quality products you will have return buyers and be able to sell with word of mouth advertisement. Just talk to people at those types of Places who sell crafts and home made items to get a sense of what you want to do.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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8 Comments

  • urbancoyote says:

    No. You can’t make a profitable living off arts and crafts.

    The people who do it are getting a retirement check or their spouse works or they have rental property income –something like that.

    It’s a hobby. If you can do very, very flattering oil paintings as portraits for vain rich people, you might make a couple of bux. But without something hardwired into human vanity, the arts are a vow of poverty.

  • logand_101 says:

    Yeah! Every time I go to the “Flea” Farmer’s Market, there are people there selling handmade goods.If you are considering doing this, go right ahead.I would think that you would make a better profit at craft sales because people go to craft sales looking for stuff like that.Either way you will make a profit if your product is good.

  • madac says:

    well..it ispossible to make money but if your looking to sell allot youd better have the patience and time to do so. money will come thru hard work and determination! if your heart is really into creating something than the money will just happen. people appreciate good work!! I know someone who makes dog bisqiuts..seriously..maybe if you went to a flea market or even a fair youcould meet someone with more selling experience.

  • lynnguys says:

    My mother made and sold dolls for a few years. She got a small business license and sold at craft fairs and shows. Most fairs and shows would charge a fee for a booth ($ 20-100) and her earnings were usually based on where she was selling. For instance, she would make more at a country craft fair (where buyers are looking for specific stuff) than say a non-profit fundraiser.

    Try out some websites that sell items that are similar to what you make and look for trends in materials and styles. You can make some money in this business. But, you have to have patience and be prepared to give up your weekends. Also, check out local farmers markets, you can get a good start with your local market.

    Good luck!

  • Taiping says:

    If you are good and your craft is an items bought by a majority of people, you can do well at flea markets, but better at craft shows. My wife makes greeting cards and is exceptional at it. She is always asked by people, if they can buy some from her.

  • kiki says:

    The secret to this is PATIENCE!! My husband and I are both very crafty people. He & I both go to crafts fairs and farmers markets. some days are better than others. the first one we went to, we only “made” about $ 100. That covered the cost of our table, and very little of our aupplies. But we gained experience. We did a lot of research before we started to get ideas on pricing and what kinds of things sell. I still have most of the articles saves on my computer; I can send them to you if you send me your email address. One option that we also did was start a small business website. We sometimes sell more that way than through the craft fairs.

  • S V S says:

    My best advice would be to go to a couple of the local craft sales this fall in your area. Check out what people are selling, how they have things set up, which booths are doing brisk business, etc. See if what you make is available, if there is a demand for it, or if there are 10 other people selling the same thing. Then make a plan for next year. I think the most successful people make product all year long and then sell at two or three boutiques in the fall/holiday season. Talk to some of the people there and see what they can give you in the way of advice. And you may want to share a table or booth with a friend if the cost is high.

    Good luck!

  • sincewhen? says:

    I always made a lot of money everytime I rented a table at a local craft fair,with only 2 exceptions. Once,I was stuck at a table in the basement right next to a woman that was selling giant wooden head shelf sitter dolls hand over fist. My product, decorated,musical teddy bears, was selling dismally when only months before I shared an upstairs table with a friend at the same fair and sold over six hundred dollars worth in one day.Another failure was an Easter craft show at a place I’d never been before and didn’t even sell enough of my polymer clay Easter pins to pay for the table. At another fair I sold hundreds of pins at both Christmas and Easter. You can make money if you know which location has customers that will like and can afford your product. If the fair is on two levels,fight tooth and nail to get an upstairs table. Offer products unlike any other exhibitors. Price your craft as low as you can and still make money unless you are showing in a VERY upscale area then charge more or they will think the quality is poor even if it isn’t….sad to say it but it is true. Present your product as professionally as possible. Jewelry should be mounted on cards…not the kind you can buy in jewelry supply catalogs because people won’t think your stuff is handmade and most of the time walk right by. Rather make your own display cards and decorate with rubber stamps and tell a little about the product. Same thing with the knitwear…make unique hangtags that look handcrafted. Lots of the stuff you sell will become gifts and this professional touch makes the gift seem more important somehow. Make up business cards if you would like to do made to order because you may be able to create a client base this way and these people will come to any fair where they know you are showing. Its a good thing you don’t want to do this for a living because most people can’t,they just do it for the fun and meeting lots of new people and hearing admiring comments about your work IS fun.

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