Thursday, January 5, 2012


Have you done a craft fair where the sales were pretty slow? Not just for you, but for other crafters around you? Have you tried bartering at the end of the day?

I sold jewelry at two craft fairs this Christmas season. Both had good turnouts from buyers, and I made quite a few sales. But I had so much inventory to pack and bring home at the end of the day that it looked like a daunting task. Also, I'd walked around the venues several times at each event and had seen a lot of beautiful creations I wanted to take home myself.

Later in the day at each event, I went to several women and asked them if they'd be interested in bartering at the close of business hours. Nearly all agreed. In exchange for pieces of jewelry, I brought home winter scarves made from upcycled sweaters; a sample of furniture paint and a how-to book; a pine cone topiary for my Thanksgiving table; fresh-baked cookies; pumpkin butter; cookbooks; a Christmas shadow box filled with jingle bells; vinyl lettering; and three sweet paper banners (see photo of one of them).

If you'd like to barter at a show, be sure to ask your fellow crafters quietly or when they don't have customers nearby. Barter at your posted prices so both parties know upfront what they can get for such-and-such an amount. Be sure to exchange business cards for future networking.

Maybe you can set up an event for crafters where all the business is done on a barter exchange! Try hosting an open house at your show where creative folks of many different stripes can set up their work and "shop" from everyone else's.

Have fun!

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