Many artisans view craft fairs as a necessary but, unpleasant, means of marketing their art. Exposing one's creativity to a public who can, at times, make some very thoughtless remarks can be frustrating and discouraging. At times over the last few years, with the economic downturn, I've certainly felt this way but a few months ago I decided to get a new attitude.
In Hawaii, blessed with a warm tropical climate, outdoor craft festivals are held all year round. The locations are usually lovely parks often near the ocean. I sell my hand fabricated jewelry at about twenty fairs a year. My customers are a mix of locals and visitors from all over the world. Oahu is a small island and the craft community is even smaller; we all know each other and many are good friends. Now, instead of thinking of craft festivals as a chore that takes me away from my workbench and what I like doing best,making jewelry, I am focusing on what I like best about selling at craft fairs.
One of my favorite things about doing a craft fair is getting to spend a weekend outside of my workshop, at a beautiful locale, on a part of Oahu that I wouldn't have thought to visit. I participate in fairs from North Shore to Waikiki and Kailua to Ko'olina.
Another aspect that I enjoy is interacting with a wide variety of people face to face. Artisans tend to be an interesting and quirky bunch and are often extremely funny. Most of the visitors, on vacation from everywhere, are happy, relaxed and in vacation mode. Some folks can be rude, but most give my work a lot of compliments and, whether they make a purchase or not, that always makes me feel good.
Spending much of my time working in my home based studio, I rarely need to wear more than a pair of shorts and a tank top, so putting on makeup and a fashionable outfit to show off what a beautiful fashion accessory my jewelry can be is really fun for me.
I no longer think of selling my jewelry at craft festivals as a dreaded chore but rather as an opportunity to spend the weekend in a beautiful park, visiting with friends, meeting interesting travelers and looking good while doing it. And making sells? They're the icing on the cake.