Selling at a Flea Market: Tips from Veteran Crafters

Ever consider selling at a flea market? As a crafter, it might not have occurred to you to try this type of selling venue, but it can be lucrative and can help you reach a whole new market. When SF Flea recently came to San Francisco, I got a wealth of flea market selling tips from crafters Jeannine Komush of Tangleweeds Jewelry and illustrator Maggie Hurley, both of whom have sold their work successfully at flea markets.

Jeannine Komush is the hands and imagination behind Tangleweeds jewelry. Jeannine creates handmade earrings, bracelets, and necklaces inspired by the intersection of the beautiful urban and natural settings of the City of Oakland. Jeannine is a craft show veteran, participating in events monthly, and her savvy shows.  No matter the venue, Jeannine boasts one of the most beautiful displays!

Tangleweeds jewelry  Tangleweeds jewelry

 

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Tangleweeds jewelry  Tangleweeds jewelry Displays

When it comes to prep, Jeannine doesn’t see much difference between selling at a flea market and a traditional craft show.  She says, “The amount of work involved is significant either way. The only difference for me is if I'm selling at a flea or a similar event that has as part of its appeal lower prices, I consider offering a discount and try to prepare appropriate signage.  I do consider offering a discount at a flea. Usually around 20 percent, nothing drastic.”

Jeannine recommends bringing a large stock of lower priced items when selling at a flea market.  She says, “The customer base is quite different at a craft fair versus a flea. In general people are going to bargain more at a flea.”

Tangleweeds jewelry displays  Tangleweeds jewelry

 

Maggie Hurley ‘s whimsical illustrations celebrate the wonder in everyday things.  Happiest with a paintbrush in hand, Maggie specializes in creating beautiful portraits, prints, and plush creatures sure to delight people of all ages.

Maggie Hurley's whimsical illustrations  Maggie Hurley‘s whimsical illustrations

When selling at a flea market like SF Flea, Maggie kept the customer in mind.  She offers these flea market selling tips: “A flea market tends to attract those a little on the more cost-conscious side, so prepping for me meant focusing on more low-cost items — smaller prints, less elaborate pieces. Craft shows seem to draw those that appreciate handmade, boutique-quality items, so I'll tend to bring more original pieces, as well as larger, higher priced items.” 

Owl in a chair 

 

Owl print  Bird prints

When it comes to displays for selling at a flea market, visual artists have a number of specific concerns to keep in mind, like the physical size of their art, lighting, and price points, to name a few.  To prep for a flea market, Maggie recommends a straightforward approach.  She says, “I pared down significantly as far as my display went. I wanted to keep it simple. My price point was a bit lower than usual.”

Many thanks to Jeannine Komush of Tangleweeds and Maggie Hurley, for sharing their flea market selling tips.  You can catch up with Tangleweeds and Maggie by following the links within this blog.

Signing off by the Golden Gate,

Lisa

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