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“Craft shows, art festivals, and bazaars” — what’s the difference?

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There are so many decisions to make when you run a business.

You need to decide what products you want to sell.

You have to decide the best way to display them.  Will you use simple acrylic displays?  Or will your product require a unique display you create yourself?

Maybe the biggest decision you’ll make is where to show your art.

There are craft shows, art festivals, and bazaars.  There are juried shows, art shows, flea markets, and so much more.  The titles are nearly endless.  And it may seem like they’re all the same…

But they’re not.

So today, I’m going to explain the differences in these events.  And we’ll explore how to choose the best event for you, your product, and your goals.

Bazaar

The word bazaar comes from Middle Eastern markets where all variety of handcrafts and other products are sold.  Europeans used to call these markets.  Both usually take place in the town square.

There can be every kind of craft and art found at one of these markets.

In the United States, most people think of church fundraisers when they think of bazaars.  Simple crafts created by congregations are sold at these to raise money for their cause.

Entry fees tend to be small, and customers tend to be looking for deals.

Usually, these are not markets for high-end art.  But if you’re just starting out, you may want to “get your feet wet” by starting off at a bazaar.

It’s also a great place to try out new art forms that you might still be working to master.

This is not the right place to expect to sell your art at higher prices.  Most products sold at bazaars will go for $20 or less, with rare exceptions.

Flea Markets

Just like the bazaar, flea markets are great places to find deals on small goods and even great prices on used higher end pieces.  You’ll find household items like you’d see at a yard or garage sale.

Plus, you’ll probably find great food.

Some flea markets have incredible antique sellers.  This is good news for artists if you are lucky enough to find a quality antique seller in a great flea market location, art may sell well.

And you may not have to resort to lowering your prices too drastically.

However, most flea markets are not a great place to sell your higher quality items for their true value.  Flea market shoppers are looking for the unique, the out of the ordinary, but mostly they are looking for deals.

A great reason to consider a flea market event is for trying out new products.

While the day may or may not be profitable, you can gather real market reactions to your products.  You’ll probably need to keep the prices low for the event so that shoppers stick around long enough to appreciate the pieces.

But you’ll have plenty of shopper interactions to tell you if your product might do well in a different venue.

Craft Shows

The term “craft shows” covers a wide variety of show setups.  Depending on the organizers, these events may show anything from simple home crafts to more complex art, to true artisanal wares.

Everything about this category fluctuates.  It can cost as little as $20 to rent a space to $1000 for a larger, juried show.

We’ll address the three larger subcategories of craft shows here today.

Ordinary Craft Show

These will have lower entrance fees — they’re typically between $20 and $60 per site.  The organizers often have few rules and allow nearly any handcrafted item into the event.

But they may allow only so many participants per category (jewelry for example).

Events like these can be great for crafters and artists at nearly any skill level.  Sales are likely to be focused mostly on your lower price points.

And depending on the budget for the event, there may be little advertising outside the organization itself.  Many groups use craft shows of this size to boost traffic for their own fundraising efforts.

Anytime a craft show is juried there will be rules for your products.  What I’m calling the Simple Juried Craft Show are the events where a photo submission will do for the jury review.

If you’re not familiar with the jury review, here’s a brief description of what happens.

A group of people reviews either sample products or images to determine if you will be allowed entry to their event.  They can judge by many criteria, varying from simple categorization all the way to in-depth peer quality reviews.

When a jury panel allows simple photo and description submissions, the rules won’t be very strict.

The panel might be simply verifying that they do not too many artists in the same category.  Sometimes the panels use the photos to pick artists that complement the event and ensure that a broad range of products is offered at the event.

If you have a unique product, you should have no issue being accepted into one of these shows.  The fees I’ve seen range from $60 per space to $150.

Frequently, these are multi-day events where you’ll see large crowds expecting quality work for a great price.

Most of the time, our middle and lower price points see the most action at these events.  And we can set prices slightly higher to cover the higher entry and travel costs we incur.

Juried Art Show

These events have more rigorous rules.

The jury panel may require several samples, you may have to appear in person with them, and they can even require that you have photos of your setup (Need to set up for the first time?  Start HERE).  They’ll ask about prices and your experience in your medium.

They’re looking for the highest quality in your genre, and they’re careful to balance vendors by category, medium, and price range.

Setting prices for these events can be tricky.

This is the venue for your higher prices, the ones that reflect not only your time and materials but your skill level in your craft.

Since crowds are expecting higher end products, and the jury process is more involved, these events also charge more to enter.  You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to over $1000 for a multi-day event in an affluent area.

So, craft shows, art festivals, and bazaars… so many differences, and yet they have plenty in common.

Each one is a great place to sell the right products.  If you’re choosy about what products you feature, each of these events can be a great venue for you.

Good luck and good selling!

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About the Author Gypsie

Hi! I'm Sandy, your Head Gypsie here at Art Market Gypsy. I've been working the markets since 2003 when a friend asked me to show some jewelry I'd made at an event she was coordinating. I cobbled together what I could with the limited answers I could find to my questions, and I've been roaming art and craft events ever since. I've expanded my line to include wire and bead sculpture. I'm exploring French beading, and I've recently discovered the joy of clay! But no matter the medium, writing about those questions unique to art market vagabonds is always on my mind!

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