For many teamies, May means the return of outdoor market season!
May 14th and 15th marked the third and final weekend of the 37th annual Spring Crafts on Columbus. The American Arts & Crafts Alliance outdoor market exhibits 100 artisans, including two fellow Etsy NY team members, Dora Marra and Crystalyn Kae. With a prime location on the sidewalk next to the American Natural History Museum, the art show receives a high level of foot traffic from both international tourists and Upper West Side residents. If you are debating whether to participate in the Crafts on Columbus market, allow me to dish out a few candid insights for your consideration as a two-time participant. Are you a participant of Crafts on Columbus? Would love to hear your comments about your experience and how it compares to other markets at the end of this post.
This year the booth rate was $675 per weekend compared to $660 last year. This is significantly higher compared to fees in events in NJ but still cheaper than a trade show or large event such as Jazz Age Lawn Party. You definitely want to make sure you have the capacity to produce enough inventory to make your money back in sales. This may not be the best market if you are trying to get your feet wet in craft shows.
The 30 plus year history of Crafts on Columbus definitely makes this market well-known and a well-oiled production. However, compared to other markets I have participated in, the organizers rely on older methods of marketing such as postcard mailers while their website and social media presence could use a little TLC.
My in-person sales were slower than last year, but that could be for any number of reasons. I did have many people follow up and purchase next day from the exposure and surge of traffic to my Etsy shop. I will say that for kids items, the sweet spot seemed to be in the $10-$20 range for impulse purchases. My guess is that many attendees are passing by and not intentionally shopping for higher priced items. If your key product is higher priced consider adding a lower priced item to your product mix or also having special discounted items. My booth mate, Just Blaire, had printed coupons ready to hand out to customers who purchased an item at the market. Genius customer loyalty tactic!
Crafts on Columbus is an outdoor event and has a very strict “rain or shine” policy. The rain can put a damper on sales and this weekend I was grateful I put in a few extra bucks to get the sturdy tent model with the side walls. We also experienced gusts of winds at over 20 miles per hour so mind the 20lb weight per tent leg rule.
Foot traffic is high and steady throughout the day with a good mix of families and singles. I experienced more sales on Saturday while Sunday’s brunch crowd and farmer’s market shoppers are more laid back.
Despite the weather feeling less than spring, the Crafts on Columbus market attracts tons of shoppers in a prime location that is reflected in a premium booth fee. If it’s your first time trying out craft markets, there are many alternatives that are less expensive. To get feedback about markets and events, you should talk to other Etsy NY teammates and utilize resources available to Etsy NY team members. If you're not a team member, maybe you'll want to join!
See you at the markets!