How to prepare for a big (or any) craft fair


So you’re just starting out and you’re getting ready to sell your hand crafted items to the public? You’re nervous? That’s normal.  You worried? It’s okay, you’ll have fun! You feel unprepared? Here’s a few tips for you.
The three big things you need to consider are:
1. Who your audience is.

  • This is vital because knowing your shopper will help determine if a show is right for you.

2. Having enough stuff.

  •  How do you know if you do? That’s easy. You should plan to be able to completely replenish your table at least once. In other words, if you sell out of everything, you have enough to make your table look pretty well stocked. i.e. avoid the ‘picked over’ look.
Also consider:
  • How big the show is. 
  •  How many hours/days in the show.
  • Ask the organizer what the expected attendance is.
3. Having a great booth display.
Visit other craft fairs for ideas. Look on the web, like this stream of pictures.  Do a test run before hand to practice how quick you can set up and tear down.  And write yourself a checklist like this one to make sure you have everything you need.
The most important thing to remember is to SMILE, HAVE FUN and RELAX! It makes a difference.

What’s all the fuss about McCaw Hall?

etsyRAIN’s Handmade Holiday Show is getting an upgrade this year!  

Wait! First, a little homage needs to be paid to the Intiman Theatre. It was a wonderful host to the show for three years.

But, the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center is bigger, gorgeous and has a reputation that packs a punch. From the moment this location became a contender for the next home of the etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show, the enthusiasm of all involved in securing the site spread like wildfire.


There’s more!

There are quite a few benefits that come along with holding an event at the McCaw Hall:

  • There’s the event plug on McCall Hall’s website.

  • And the event plug on Seattle Center’s website.

  • Plus, an e-blast promoting the show that goes out to nearly 300,000 people who frequent McCaw Hall’s prestigious events.

  • AND the news release has already been sent to 250 media outlets.

  • ALSO those giant marquees that promote the events at Seattle Center will promote the Handmade Holiday Show leading up to the event.

This is all in addition to the efforts of the etsyRAIN leadership team and volunteer coalition’s efforts to publicize the show, including a multi-phased public relations plan.

What does all this mean?

It means the show is going to be HUGE!

etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show on

Handmade gift bonanza: etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show at McCaw Hall this November

Free Admission! 100 FREE Swag Bags EACH morning at 11am

 By Jill Russell Published: Sep 5, 2012 at 8:25 AM PDT

Lovers of the handmade gift website etsy will have the chance to meet vendors and get great holiday gifts this November.

The fourth annual etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show kicks off Nov. 23-24 (Black Friday weekend) at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. The show will give holiday shoppers the chance to kick off the biggest shopping season of the year with beautiful handmade gifts from more than 100 local artists and craft makers.

“We were looking for a great location to expand our Handmade Holiday show to present even more quality gifts to shoppers and were thrilled to discover that Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center was available,” etsyRAIN Organizer, Marlo Miyashiro said. “It’s a beautiful, spacious venue that will help us fulfill our main mission to support as many Pacific Northwest based handmade artists as we can.”
Admission to etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show is free. Swag bags will be given to the first 100 attendees through the street level entrance on Mercer Street all weekend.

For more information on the event, please visit or contact organizer Marlo Miyashiro at (206) 683-9744.

The weather outside is frightful, is your crafting so delightful?

We’re in the middle of one of the biggest snow storms this area has seen in quite a while. Most of us are used to given the snow report in inches (2, 3 or 4 really) but more than a foot of snow in some places? Wow! So, we’re trapped in with a limited agenda. Perfect conditions for crafting efforts, right?
Cari, who is just North of Poulsbo says she’s already cranked out several new pillow covers for her shop Seclusion Cove. She’s finalizing details of custom orders and gearing up to take some pictures of her latest work …after a short break, “My “snow day” project should be tidying up my workroom and re-doing some product photos, but now, I’m snuggled under a quilt and finishing a good British mystery novel, with a cup of tea close at hand.”
Amy Harris of Solstice Designs couldn’t make it in to open her shop at the Pike Place Market but says she’s sewing away at home in Burien, “It’s a crafter’s paradise,” she said via text.
That’s not the case for everyone. Keri of UPTown DownTown is too busy babysitting her grandson to get anything done in University Place where seven inches of snow fell.
Thankfully, a warm up is coming and that much needed run for supplies, whether it’s food or crafting supplies is right around the corner.

Post Holiday Blues?

Through the months of November and December the number of crafts fairs, holiday bazaars and Christmas shows shoots up exponentially. The Puget Sound offers at least a dozen each weekend to help Christmas shoppers cross off their lists, buy a few treats, pump up their winter accessories and wardrobes and complete their decorating efforts. Also, internet sales skyrocket too, sending many crafters on multiple trips to the post office. It’s a prime opportunity to sell your product to the masses. We lug around tables, display gear and our carefully made items …some have it worse than others. It makes for a busy holiday season that requires lots of energy and a never-ending smile.
Now that the season is behind us, it’s not unusual to feel a bit of a lull. The lack of activity can leave some feeling without purpose and possibly a little lost. That’s normal. It will pass. Many crafters see it as an opportunity to recoup and refuel.
Dawn of  says, “I used the time when I wasn’t as frantic with my crocheting to start planning the new things I want to do this year, to organize my craft room, and to look at the massive quantities of yarn that have somehow ended up in my closet.”
Planning for the next year is a great way to focus your newly found free time. Reflecting on the good moments of the busy holiday craft season and doing your best to correct the not-so-special things.
“I have to admit that the lack of sales can be a real bummer.  The spigot totally shuts off.  It takes me a little while to re-train myself to stop checking my various online sales venues looking for activity,” says Anne Sylte Bloom of
Anne uses this time to make a lot of changes to her product line. She creates new soap varieties, changes labels, and experiments with completely new items.  “It’s really the most creative and rejuvenating time of year for me.”
Taking time away from your craft is another way to recover from the holiday rush.
 “For me things tend to pick back up in February so I enjoy this time after the extreme craziness post holidays. In this time I catch up on side projects like knitting & quilting which isn’t my “professional” craft. It’s like a nice diversion to do other things,” says Thea Starr of .
Good luck, keep crafting and Happy New Year!