I know that a lot of us think of online shopping and Amazon and malls and outlet centres when we think of holiday shopping, but there are still other alternatives to getting your holiday shopping done. While I plan on making some of my gifts myself (DIY posts to come), there are somethings that I’m just not talented enough to make myself. Enter: the craft sale. I will admit to being that person who thinks that they are for moms and grandmas, but I am eating my words (and thoughts I suppose)! Today I’m sharing my craft sale experience and tips…
There are few large craft shows here in Winnipeg, but a lot of them happen in the end of November and beginning of December. While I might still go to some of the others just for the experience, I plan to have all of my holiday shopping done by the end of October. Several of my coworkers had raved about Scattered SeedsScattered Seeds, an annual show here in Winnipeg, and I decided to take the plunge! I enlisted my mom to come with me, as she is a fibre and knitting genius and is a seasoned craft sale pro. We made our way to the sale and headed in.
There was an entrance fee of $8- I’m not sure if that’s normal or not, but I wasn’t too bothered by it. Some of the other craft sales in the city seem to charge closer to $15 which I don’t know that I’m willing to pay… There were over 100 vendors in the space, and we had limited time, so we methodically made our way up and down the aisles! I’m glad that I scoped out the vendors prior to going, as it made it easier to look at the map. With so many vendors and so many shoppers in not a huge space, it did feel a little overwhelming at times. I’m not claustrophobic by any stretch but I do get frustrated by people who dead stop in the middle of an aisle for no apparent reason.
When your favourite candle company is at the show…
There were a lot of vendors that I wasn’t interested in at all- there were a lot of baby/kid clothing that didn’t appeal to me, and a lot of knick-knack decor booths that didn’t really make me want to look at then. I think that given the huge range of vendors, products, and styles, it’s pretty common; it’s not all going to appeal to everyone. I do wish that the guide/map had been colour coded as to what kind of booth each was, and also that they had been listed in alphabetical order (not the order that they were in).
While I didn’t buy too much for myself- some cookies (shout out to Cookie Girl for always making the best cookies), some Nutcracker tea (which is delicious), and an ornament for myself- I was able to get a good amount of Christmas shopping done, the whole point of this! There wasn’t a ton of actual “Christmas/holiday” things there, but enough to keep me happy. I’m glad that I set some parametres for myself ahead of time, as it certainly gave me more direction and focus- it would be very easy to lose a lot of money and a whole day wandering if you weren’t organised!
Now that I’ve actually gone to a craft sale and given it some thought, these are my tips for tackling a craft sale for holiday shopping!
1. Set a Budget
Make sure you set a budget and stick with it! I decided to work with cash for two reasons: 1) I made a guess that it would be easier for vendors to accept cash, and might make it easier if I don’t have to wait in a line for a machine, and 2) I knew exactly how much money I had left to spend! Some vendors charge taxes on top of the posted price, some include it, and no one really posts it- I would prepare to pay taxes on top of things, and then if you don’t have to, so much the better. There seems to be some very interesting and cool entrepreneurs out there, but unfortunately I only have a finite amount of money for this. A strict budget keeps you on track!
2. Know Who You Are Shopping For
I had to make sure that I knew who I was actually shopping for. If at all possible, I try to buy personal and thoughtful gifts, rather than buying slightly generic things that may somewhat suit several people. I had specific people in mind, and had given some thought as to what sorts of things I thought that they would like and need- it made it far easier to focus in on certain vendors over others, and also to stop myself from buying things just because. (It’s one of my weaknesses, sadly.) I made a memo on my phone with names and ideas, and although I only had to look at it once, it was fantastic to have it on hand. I saw several things that I looked at and thought “So and so would love that”, only to realise that I’ve already ordered something else for them! Make a plan, folks.
3. Go With an Open Mind
Certainly make sure to have ideas and suggestions for yourself, but also don’t be so limiting that you can’t actually find anything. If you are looking for something for your best friend, go with “jewellery” rather than “a gold, mid-length necklace with an antler”- unless you are clairvoyant or the luckiest person in the world, you would most likely be disappointed. You never know what you will find! I found the perfect piece of decor for someone on my list, and it was nothing like what I thought I would get them- if I hadn’t kept my eyes and my mind open, I would have completely missed it. For some reason, I had it in my head that I wasn’t going to buy any Christmas cards at the sale (most likely because I haven’t picked my theme yet, but who knows what my brain was doing). However, I wandered into a booth and found the pun-niest cards I’ve seen in a while! You never know what’s waiting for you if you are willing to look!
Do you go to craft sales? Any tips to share?