The Craft Show Fundraiser

Looking for a fundraiser idea that utilizes space you already have and can result in a high profit?

Host a Craft Show or Bazaar!

Our studio recently did this and it went GREAT!

This is BY FAR this most profitable fundraiser we have ever done as a team!

There are many ways to profit from hosting a craft show or bazaar.

Here are a few:

Vendor Booth/Space Fees

Each vendor pays a fee to participate the show and “rent” space for the day.

Silent Auction or Raffle

We originally wanted to hold a raffle and sell tickets. As we are not a non-profit group we could not do this without getting a special gambling permit. What we could do however was hold a silent auction. We asked all vendors to donate an item of at least $10 and we asked for and accepted donations from others as well.

Bake Sale

Everyone loves a good ol’ fashioned bake sale. Whip up some cookies and cupcakes and maybe even have a pot of coffee going.

Admission Fee

Other shows in our area have charged a small admission fee. We did not do this. We talked about it but decided that since it was our first year we did not want to risk losing customers by charging a fee. You will need to decide if it makes sense to do for your group or not.

Donation Jar

Pretty straight forward right? Put out a jar, and a parent to monitor the jar, and ask for donations for the team.

Have a team table to sell crafts

Our team is full of crafty moms with plenty of our own items to sell. Set up a team table and work those customers for yourselves.

Hold a costume sale simultaneously

We did this and it was super popular! Being a dance studio, our owner had a room full of costumes she has collected over the years. Our show was right before Halloween so we set up a costume shop and we advertised them as being perfect for fairies and witches etc.

Here’s what we did and what you need to do to host your own!

*Disclaimer – We are speaking from our own experience operating under the laws and regulations in our local area. It is important that you know your own laws regarding permits, raffles, etc. This post is in no way offering legal advice related to hosting a show*

Step One: Pick a date and secure your studio (or other) space.

You should select a date that is at least a few months out if this is your first time hosting. You will need plenty of time to plan, recruit vendors and advertise your show.

We had a team meeting with our studio owner. We knew we wanted to do a fall fundraiser and we selected a date that was already known to have 2 other local bazaars happening that day.

This is important.

We wanted to attract customers and vendors who were already in the craft show mood. By holding the show the same day as other shows it allows us to place signs in those areas to alert people who were already out bazaar hopping to head in our direction. We also had dancers with flyers for our show in the areas of the other show. We did this respectfully of course, we weren’t trying to steal customers from other shows, just let them know we were having a show also and hopefully peak their interest to come check it out.

Step Two: Vendor Application & Recruitment

Once you have a firm date to work with its time to focus on getting vendors.

Before you can do this, you need to know how many spaces of each size you have available to offer.

We decided to offer 2 sizes at 2 price options and included the option to add electricity for an additional $5 per space. We offered 10×6 for $40 and 6×6 for $30.

We then took a tape measure and got to work. First, we measured the studio spaces in their entirety to know how much space we had to work with overall.

One of our parents was able to create a proposed layout for us using these measurements. They fit 10X6 spaces in wherever possible first and then added the other spaces as well while making changes where necessary to fit in as many spaces as possible.

Now that we had our blueprint for spaces, we went back in with our measuring tape to confirm that the measurements created were correct.

You know the phrase measure twice cut once? You don’t want to have a spacing issue to sort out after all of your vendors have paid and arrived with all of their items for setup.

We ended up with a beautiful layout of spaces to use in creating our application.

The application was challenging at first and took up a lot of valuable time. It was challenging because we wanted to have it all be online. We wanted people to come to our web page, fill out an online form, pay online, and be done.

Unfortunately, none of our team parents were able to make this happen successfully.

We were able to create a website (you could easily just create a Facebook page for your show if creating a free website isn’t your cup of tea) to provide info, a form to fill out, but we were not able to figure out how to accept payment via this form.

So we decided to go the old fashioned route and ask our vendors to print and mail applications with their payment. We also created a team paypal account to accept payments online for those vendors who felt more comfortable paying that way.

It was a bummer to not be all online, but this also allowed us to more easily and gently “reject” those vendors that we could not accept. Such as in the event of more than one application from a Scentsy person etc.

What our application included:

  • Vendor basic contact info
  • Vendor craft/business info (what type of item they are offering etc)
  • Space Selection
  • Terms and conditions waiver

What our general info sheet included:

Everything and anything we could think of that we wanted vendors to be aware of and agree to. Setup time and date, parking information, what time to be out of the studio after the show was over etc.

After creating a solid info website and application it was time to go public and let people know the studio was hosting a show and looking for vendors.

We have a local classified newspaper and were able to place an ad in their “Vendors Wanted” section for only a few dollars.

We also hit Facebook…HARD. There are several local crafting groups and also a bazaar group and we posted in all of them.

The immediate response was insane.

Vendors want to sell their stuff. Its how they make money. We are providing them an opportunity to make money and in the process, we make money.

We sold out all of our spaces.

Step Three: Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!

You really can’t advertise enough beacause you need these vendors and they need customers.

You must bring them customers.

We created hundreds of flyers. It was much cheaper to do this on our own as opposed to using a printing company. We did 4 to a page. Flyers were distributed everywhere allowed, our workplaces, friends, in community theater programs, anywhere free or affordable that would take them.

We created an event on Facebook and shared the crap out of it.

We created yard signs and placed them in high traffic areas and near the other bazaars happening that day.

We placed an ad in the local newspaper.

I still feel like we did not advertise enough and will be looking for other opportunities when we host another show.

Step Four: Set up and Day of Show

Some shows have vendors set up the morning before and some the night before. We chose to go the night before route so that we could handle any issues that might arise sooner rather than later.

We cleaned the studio from top to bottom and marked out all vendor spaces with blue painter tape.

When vendors arrived, we had already pre-assigned spaces and our competition team dancers led each vendor to their space and helped carry anything they needed help with in from their vehicles.

Fortunately set up went well with no issues. Most of our vendors do shows all the time and are pretty self-sufficient. They didn’t need much from us other than to know where their space and the restroom was.

After set-up time was over, we closed up the studio for the night so that we could get a good night’s sleep and be ready to open the doors bright and early the following morning.

We asked vendors to briefly check in with us once again in the morning just so that we would know there were ready to go and then at 9am sharp we opened for business.

It was actually a super easy and low-key day. We really didn’t have to do anything other than hang out and be pleasant to customers as they wandered in and out.

The customers shopped, the vendors sold, and we made a profit.

The vendors then packed up and left and we swept the floor and went home.

Most of our vendors went out of their way to tell us how much they enjoyed participating and that they would definitely like to be given first dibs when we do another show.

That was important for us to hear because we wanted to do things right so that we would be able to continue holding shows with a positive reputation.

All in all it was a fundraiser that took a lot of planning but was well worth it and profitable for the team!

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