Picking and Choosing Festivals and Craft Fairs

January 04, 2013

Over the years, EJ WIPS Designs (now Alora Boutique) has been to a range of festivals in the Calgary (#yyc) area. We have been to small community fairs and large street festivals. Some have been booms while others were busts. So how do we decide which fairs and festivals to attend? There are a few things we use as criteria:
  1. How many people are attending?
  2. Do the people attending fall within your target market?
  3. How many vendors are attending?
  4. Do people come for entertainment or to buy?
  5. How much advertising has been put into this fair or festival?
  6. Where will you be in relation to the "action"?
  7. Are the vendor fees reasonable?

How many people are attending?

This is a very important criteria to consider. If you know that one out of five people who come to your booth purchase an item then a festival that has 10,000 people in attendance could be a good thing.

Do the people attending fall within your target market?

Many times the festival or fair promoter will boast that they have 60,000 + people in attendance every year; however, the festival may cater to pet lovers, brides, or seniors. If the people who attend fall within your target market then it is a go. If not, stay home. Keep in mind, there is the possibility that even if there are 100,000 people at the festival or fair you may not get the traffic you desire which brings us to the third criteria we use at EJ WIPS Designs.

How many vendors are attending? Are they selling similar things to you?

As stated above, even if there are 100,000 people in attendance, there may be 1000 vendors all selling similar things. You do not want your customer base to be spread too thin among competitors or your sales will suffer.

Do people come for entertainment or to buy?

Many times people go to festivals to enjoy the music or the food and nothing more. When you are considering a fair or festival take into consideration if the entertainment is the main purpose or if the arts and crafts section is highlighted in the advertising (our fifth criteria).

How much advertising has been put into this fair or festival?

Advertising year to year will affect participant numbers. If advertising is lax a festival may see dismal attendance numbers even if they had 60,000 attendees the previous year. Be sure to research what type of advertising the organizer has implemented (newspaper, television, radio, social media). If the fair or festival is local ask yourself if you have heard about the festival in recent years. Also, ask other people if they have heard about it or attended. Ask yourself the festival new, if so, there is no track record to refer to. Do you want to take the chance at being a pioneer?

Where will you be in relation to the "action"?

With street festivals you do not want to be stuck on a side street. Being on a main street or thoroughfare will mean good sales if the above criteria have been met. A good organizer will make sure that all vendors have a good "spot".

Are the vendor fees reasonable?

Finally, after evaluating the above criteria, you have to wonder if the fees are reasonable. With the amount of people in your target market attending, the number of vendors, and your proximity to the "action", will you be able to generate enough sales to cover your table, pay for your labour, and make a reasonable profit? If you use this criteria then we are positive you will be able to attend only the best festivals and generate the greatest amount of sales. -Merekɔ

 

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