My Craft Show Results and Lessons Learned in 2018

Traveling Calligrapher Booth Setup at SF Etsy 2018

It's almost the end of the year and before I start fresh in 2019, I wanted share one aspect of my creative business that I am proud of this year: craft shows.

Selling my maps at craft shows during the holiday season is a chance for me to not only make some income for my business, but most importantly, gage what customers like and get instant feedback through the face-to-face interactions. Over the past four years, I've been participating in my local holiday craft fairs and I've learned that the work load doesn't get less each year, it's always a lot of work and sleepless nights leading up to the shows, but it does get easier. In this post, I will share some juicy numbers, what worked/didn't work this year and tips/lessons learned. As markets and craft fairs are becoming a main source of income for many small creative businesses, I hope this helps!

I participated in two shows this year. SF Etsy's Holiday Emporium 2018 and SJ Made's Holiday Craft Fair 2018. For four years in a row, I have participated in SF Etsy's Holiday Emporium. It's a craft show with around 230 vendors located in San Francisco near Pier 39. It's like Etsy in-real-life. I love the SF Etsy team because they offer previous vendors a guaranteed spot before they open applications to the public. Most shows require you to completely apply again and it doesn't guarantee that you would get in the second time. The second show is SJ Made's Holiday Craft Fair, this was my first time at this market and I was a bit nervous because I didn't have any idea of what the turnout would be like or what customers were going to walk through, but having done a few of their summer markets, I had a feeling it could be really good. Both shows being really big shows with 200+ vendors and both falling close to major holiday dates, I had to be prepare for two great shows in terms of booth display, inventory, and logistics.

The first thing I think about is always the booth design (I could talk about my sketches, my thought process and designs in another blog post if anyone is interested) and the last thing I think about is the results: income and how to implement the ideas and requests received from customers for next year.

Hanging Display, Booth Design by Traveling Calligrapher

This post is hugely inspired by Seniman Calligraphy's blog post, she recently shared her numbers and experience and I thought that was so inspiring and insightful to those who are curious about numbers (since we don't talk about it too much) and to those who are seriously thinking about selling their craft at a show in 2019.

T H E R E S U L T S :

SF Etsy: 6th Annual Indie Holiday Emporium When: Thanksgiving weekend, Sat & Sun Nov. 24 & 25, 2018 Where: Pier 35, San Francisco

Info: 200+ vendors, music, food, free entrance

  • Booth Fee (10x10): $395


  • Booth Display Materials: $142.84

  • Inventory: $982.49

  • Parking: $20

  • Food: $52.69

Total Expenses: $1593.02

Gross Sales from Square November 24, 2018: $1058 | 33 sales

Gross Sales from Square November 24, 2018: $1117 | 36 sales

What sold?


  • San Francisco 11

  • Lake Tahoe 9

  • Oakland 7

  • San Jose 3

  • London 3

  • Brooklyn 2

  • Edinburgh 2

  • Paris 2

  • Reno 2

  • Toronto 1

  • Stockholm 1

  • Stationery

  • Kit 5


  • Framed Maps, Canvas Maps, Postcards 28

San Jose Craft Holiday Fair

When: December 15th and 16th, 2018

Where: San Jose Craft Holiday Fair - South Hall

435 South Market Street, San Jose, California 95113

Info: 250+ vendors, DIY workshops, Food, Music, free entrance

  • Booth Fee: $459


  • Booth Setup: $142.84

  • Inventory: $982.49

  • Food: $91.64 (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and paid food for my helpers)

  • Gas: $67.44

  • Parking: $30.75

  • Transportation: $11.39

Total Expenses: $1755.55

Gross Sales from Square December 15: $1580 | 40 sales

Gross Sales from Square December 16: $1430 | 39 sales

What Sold?


  • San Jose 45

  • San Francisco 8

  • Lake Tahoe 9

  • Brooklyn 3

  • Oakland 3