My first craft fair as a vendor was the 2014 Coronado Artisans Alley Craft Faire. The Coronado Artisans Alley Fair has been an annual event for 42 years, and I was hopeful on the sales results I would get for my Bounds(TM) Beauty Rounds. I didn’t know what to expect but knew that I would learn a lot.
The craft booths were very well-decorated. There were the normal ornaments, masses of booths selling jewelry (I think at least 25% or more were jewelry), wooden Santas, colorful wreaths, wind chimes, body lotion, the normal gamut for a craft faire. Patti Clark-Sanchez had custom-made Day of the Dead Skull purses, very cool! I met Michelle Irvine who, in addition to her lovely jewelry, also had the coolest sheer drapes surrounding her booth, which made it feel very feminine and spa-like. The Coronado Artisans Alley requires that items be at least 80% hand-made and it is a ‘juried’ show. I had to submit samples of my work. I had sent in a photo note card and a sample of my Bounds(TM) beauty rounds, which are a 100% USA cotton handmade makeup remover.
The 2014 Coronado Artisans Alley was not very well attended. There were multiple empty booth spaces, and the people who came to the faire did not seem to be buying. I asked some of my booth-neighbors about this and they all agreed that the crowd was really light. Perhaps it was because we had had three days of rain, an anomaly in San Diego, and Saturday was a glorious and hot day, with blue skies and a nice ocean breeze. Perhaps people weren’t in a shopping mood?
I talked to a woman in the booth behind me. She was selling hair bows and crocheted character themed hats. She said that this was her third year and would probably be her last year, based on the price of the booth and the results she had. She said three years ago she made $800 (on hair bows!), last year she made $400 but it had poured rain, and this year she thought she would be lucky if she made $200. Considering the booth cost for the Coronado Artisans Alley was $125 for 2014 and is increasing to $140 for next year, she said it doesn’t make economic sense as you have to be here from 9 AM – 3PM. She said she also works the Otay Ranch (Chula Vista – Eastlake) Mall Farmers Market on Tuesdays from 4PM-8PM, they let you set up as early as 2 PM, and it only costs $35.00 each night. She said she generally makes $200 a night there.
The woman in the booth across from me was selling these really cool baby swaddlers and little girl tutus and tutu-dresses. She said that it was terribly slow. She has been coming here for years, and this was the worst she had seen it.
I also spoke to Tawnya LaFave of IB Crochet. She had not only a corner booth but a secondary one! She too said the fair was really slow, and she does better at the Imperial Beach Farmers Market. This was good information for me.
I am glad I experienced the show. I only sold 11 sets of my Bounds(TM), and after paying my friend’s daughter for helping me and the booth rental ($125) I basically broke even. So for me the Coronado Artisans Alley was great from a learning prospective, but not from an economic one, and I will not be going back as a vendor.
Now it’s Your Turn! Tell us about your experience as a vendor or attendee. Is there a particular vendor you come to every year to buy your holiday gifts?or