Remember that time I spoke on the Main Stage at the Country Living Fair and totally kicked my fear of public speaking in the booty?
If you couldn’t make it out to see my presentation last October, today is your lucky day! I’m going to share my best tips and tricks from the speech, minus all the awkward introductions since you guys already know who I am if you’re reading my blog.
The original speech was called “Flaunt your Fair Finds”, but for Google’s sake I’m going to change the title to “How to Shop Like A Pro At Fairs and Festivals”. Here are my very best tips for scoring great deals at vendor booths, how to haggle and barter, how to scour a festival from top to bottom to find the best items, all while not killing your pocketbook in the process. If you’d like to imagine that you were sitting in the crowd at the Country Living Fair hearing me give this speech for the first time, then here is what your view would have been from the audience…
Now just read this blog post in your best Southern accent and it’ll totally be like you were RIGHT THERE the whole time.
Are y’all ready to see the rest? Follow these arrows to go through all the pages of the presentation.
Michelle Lepak @ Dandelion Patina says
That was one of the most entertaining posts to read on a Monday morning! I couldn’t wait to hit the next arrow to see what came of the little cat fight over the beehive. 🙂 It can get quite intense! We too played the haggling game in other countries. I can remember being in Cancun and the vendors would always wave us in with a “come see my store”. It sure was fun! Now, I have concrete tools to use to get the best price for what I truly love! And… it is good to know that I am not the only one who uses the word schmuck. Ha!
Lisa Marutz says
Wonderful and smart advice..any chance I can just shop with you 😉
Amanda @Dreamsicle Sisters says
I love this post! Great tips. I always run out of room in my car! LOL.
Great tips, Beth! I haven’t been to a good fair in a LONG time!
Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom with us! I love your stories, advice and especially the pictures!
Karan Witham-Walsh says
What a lovely article full of great tips, Beth! 🙂 I truly appreciate a good buy! 🙂 I wanted to give your readers my two cents from the viewpoint of an artist who sells at art shows. I never mind when people ask if that is the lowest price I would take… ONCE. (Just like you said!!) 😉 I will tell them if it is indeed my lowest price- which it is 95% of the time… unless it is near break-down like you mentioned and I REALLY don’t want to take it home. But, what I don’t appreciate is the persistent asker. 😉 People don’t often consider the costs associated with creating my art. I have expenses for my materials, my electricity (YES, lots of electricity to run a kiln!), my insurance, my entry fees, my jury fees, my gas, and my TIME- not to mention 25+ years of experience! I am not selling things for Big-Lots prices (cheap store up north) because it is top-quality ART and I put my name on it! 🙂 I mean, if I can’t get my necessary fair price to make it worth my time to sell it, why would I bother? I will just keep the item in my stock and relist it in my Etsy shop! 😉
I love this! I am a huge fan of haggling and flea markets and all the rest. You are so right that it ends up making you want to haggle at unlikely places…but I have saved us money on brand new automotive parts, televisions, and other items, just because of the magic questions “is that your lowest price?” and “can you do better than XYZ competitor?”
Ah the sweet victory of scoring a deal!
Great photos and tips Beth!!
Jill Flory says
Great tips Beth! I have a hard time haggling with people – probably a lot because I have had my own booth and know what it’s like to try to make some money while at the same time selling things and making the customer happy too!
I’m so ready for the garage sale season here – I’m just itching to get out there and dig for treasure!
Great article! Yes, antiques dealers almost always have some wiggle room, but I have to throw in that us vendors who are selling as artists most often do not “haggle” at shows. Our items are handmade and priced so that we can make a fair wage, and many artists are already well underpriced. We love when shoppers value our work and understand that our prices are set to be fair to everyone. As Karan said before, I don’t mind if people ask (hey, you never know!) if that’s my “best price”, but I do expect that my first response is respected and hope that customers can find the value in having a one of a kind handmade piece. Can’t wait till the next Country Living Fair!
Sharon Rexroad's Bringing Creativity 2 Life says
Beth — okay, I read this was a Southern accent and it was hilarious! I remember how scared you were before doing this event and how proud you were of yourself for meeting and BEATING your fears head-on. I was visiting an Atlanta friend when the 2012 CL fair was on and we had a blast, even without spending much money.
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I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!
Sandy P says
I love your style. You have made a very nice generic house a very interesting home.
I love to take something and make it my own with design on the cheap as well. I love putting things together and see what I can make for seasonal and holiday decor.
I couldn’t agree more! I am about to participate in my first craft fair. I crochet dress up hats and have an established etsy shop. My craft fair prices are already going to be lower than my etsy prices. It kind of made my stomach turn reading about taking 35% or more off the listed price as a haggling price. That is a bit offensive to me since it takes a lot of work to make handmade items. Also, keep in mind that vendors have to pay to be apart of such fairs.
Beth at Unskinny Boppy says
I hear you loud and clear, Sarah! I have been meaning to get back to this post and edit it so it’s more reasonable. What do you think is a good place to start negotiating? Do you ever haggle with your customers? As a customer I typically will ask if that is someone’s best price on a piece (it’s the yard-saler in me, can’t help it). Do you think it depends on the type of vendor booth? If it’s a bunch of old junky furniture that I’ve seen sitting in the same booth all weekend I don’t mind asking off at all, but if it’s a handmade item I typically wouldn’t expect it to be discounted that much. I’m going to rework the post and I’d love to hear your feedback!
I love your blog and can’t wait until the 68 and 126 hwy yard sales through Kentucky
Thanks for a great post! Unfortunately now I feel bad for haggling for a better price at my local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store! (It was kitchen cabinets that had no shelves – they actually knocked off about 25%!)
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