Before the Market Season BTS

I want to participate in a few markets this year now that they are restarting to open. It is my first market season and I want to do a few of them — start small / local to see how it goes. I did some research and I want to put it down on my virtual journal, so it not only helps me remember, but also helps others in the future.

There are many sizes and types of markets out there. After talking to a few folks, and doing my initial research,


Depending on the market (Farmers Markets, Art shows, Craft shows, Holiday Markets, Food Festivals, Invitation only events, indor / outdoor, etc, etc, etc) you want to get into there could be a different way of registering for it. Also keep in mind that some of the more popular (or selected markets) you will need to apply for a spot and sometimes submit photos of your work before you can be approved. I’ve heard that in the very popular ones, where they have a limited about of space, you will be placed on a list and then either selected by a committee or via lottery. If you are not selected, get on next year’s waiting list!

Also keep in mind that most markets have “outsourced” their operations to market operators / managers (typically companies) that take care of all the logistics, vendor management, collection of participation fees and sales royalties.

Tip for you: go to on of the markets you want to participate in and ask the vendors how they got in and how they are doing (Is there a market for your craft/art). Also, most markets have a vendor organizer booth where you can find information on how to participate

  • Register for a directly via website:  some independent markets have a website where you can apply
  • Find the market operator for the market you want to and find out how to register for it — Chances are they also have a website.

Is there a good list of markets I can find out?

Google is your best friend here! Do a search for List of local markets or List of local art markets or any variation you can think of. In my case I live in Phoenix, Arizona and found the following pages:

I end up subscribing to Festivals & Events | Fairs & Promotions | FestivalNet which I found has the most up to date information and details

What are the fees to participate in a market?

This was a challenge to get my head around as this impact my bottom line a lot (Not only money but desire to continue as a business not a hobby!)

The answer to this question is: It varies, and it varies a lot! It not only depends onthe market but what you are selling. If it is paintings maybe a different price than if you sell ceramics — There is no delineation line, rhyme or reason that I have been able to find out.

Some small markets charge artists a percent of profits. Others it is a small ( or large fee) plus a percent of profits. Others do a small or large flat fee = It is really all over the place.

All vendors typically settle with the organizer at the end of show.

Once you find the markets you want to participate in contact them and find out their fees and requirements to participate. They will typically send you and email with the details. Very few have it posted on their websites.

Do I require a permit or License to Participate ?

Disclaimer: You need to check your local laws and regulations, as well as ir is probably a good idea to check with your accountant as well.

At least in my county/ state, a crafter / artist does ( YES ) need to be licensed to sell their art/craft and participate in a farmers’ market. It is the way for you to pay the taxes you collect for your sales. You can apply for the license online at:

Do I need a company to sell my art / craft at markets?

Ultimately this is a personal choice, and you should check with your accountant before making a decision…

It is not required to have a company to participate in market. A lot of people starting out begin as individuals and them move to Sole Proprietorships and when the business is getting better, they incorporate later as a Corportation or Limit Liability company.

Simple and inexpensive to form and maintain, a sole proprietorship is an unincorporated entity with a single owner under which taxes are paid entirely on the owner’s personal tax return. They also have the advantage of being easy to dismantle or shift their formation into something like an LLC, as needed.

sole proprietorship fulfills the needs of most small sellers, whether they are operating their shops as a business or hobby.

Source: Do You Need an LLC to Sell on Etsy? – Step By Step Business


Every market organizer will require you to have some sort of insurance policy

Insurance can be very expensive. It really depends on what you sell, where you sell it and how you sell it. I sell prints and original art. This was a good conversation which ultimately end-up in good recommendation

ACT Insurance for Artist & Crafter – Very easy to buy online, and it has a yearly or per show policy

Most organizers. will ask to be named in the Certificate of Insurance as well – so keep that in mind!

Payment System

Be prepared to accept payments in a rush! When you have 4 or 5 customers in line interested in buying something, asking questions, you will feel the pressure! So know your system!

There are many systems oput there. The one I selected and use Square which is connected to the system via my phone and it works great and everyone is very familiar with! on my phone —


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