Buying at craft fairs is really smart on several levels:
- you are supporting local artisans
- you often find one of a kind items
- it forces you to think "outside of the (big) box" for gifts
Look at everything before you buy anything. This is really important if you have a limited amount of cash or you are looking for something that could be found at more than one booth. If you buy the first earrings you like and find some further on that you love you'll regret it. So stroll, look and then make a plan to return to your favorite tables.
1. If you find a vendor that you really like make sure to get their card and/or contact info. You never know when you may want to commission something or buy another and then realize you can't find them again. Often vendors return to shows that they did well at the previous year but there is no guarantee.
2. Smile and say hello to the vendors. They are putting themselves out there and that can be a rather daunting experience.
3. Eat before you go. It is never smart to shop on an empty stomach.
4. Search out the fairs in your area over the whole holiday season. Many fairs begin in November and carry on until the last weekend before Christmas. If you can get to more than one in one day you can maximize your time and childcare if you need it.
5. Remember not to get a crafter grudge. Many times at many fairs I've thought to myself, I can do that. I'm not going to buy something I could make myself. While that is a valid point it is more important to think of how much time you have to make gifts and if you are really going to make it this year. Making a hectic trip to the mall on Christmas eve because you didn't have time to make that thing that you could have bought two weeks ago....save yourself the headache.
6. And finally make a list before you go. Write out who you need to buy for, any ideas you have for what to get them and stick to it. It is very easy to be distracted by lovely handmade things and blow your budget on something that you could get later or isn't necessary. Unlike the mall you can't return things a day later when your head clears.
Have a wonderful holiday season!