PDF: SSLC Vendor Resource Guide
One mission of the Student Sustainability Leadership Council is to help provide a Socially Sustainable environment for students on campus. This often includes financial considerations. The Craft Fair at PSU provides a forum for students to earn money while also promoting the values of repurposing materials often otherwise headed for a landfill. The information below is presented to help familiarize you with some other off-campus selling opportunities.
Students can also earn money by selling hand-made crafts either at craft fairs, brick & mortar shops, or on line. Selling reused and repurposed items helps to make this a greener world. With the exception of Last Thursday on Alberta, the organizations and events mentioned below are for the expressed purpose of selling hand-made goods. Hopefully this will be helpful to you. Good luck selling!!!
Last Thursday on Alberta (Alberta St. btwn 15th & 30th):
Dates: Events year round but 6:00-10:00 street closure to vehicle traffic only May through September. (lastthursdayonalberta.com)
Set Up: This is a good fair to get some selling experience. There are only a few rules to setting up on Alberta, but they are strictly enforced by the Alberta Arts District. You can set up and break down any time, first come first served. Your booth can be as simple as a blanket or as elaborate as a 10’x10’ pop up canopy with lighting and music, it’s up to you. Set up is free and good spots are usually gone by 2:00. If you want to set up in front of a business, you must get their permission first. Spoiler Alert! Everyone will be drunk by 9:00! Depending on what you are selling, this may not be a good thing. Also, unless you have portable lighting, it will be very difficult to sell once it gets dark. This is true of all outdoor events. Walk around and see what other vendors are doing about lighting, they are usually very friendly with information. You can sell pretty much anything here although the preference is for creative hand-made goods.
First Thursday – Pearl District (13th St. bwtn Hoyt & Lovejoy Sts.):
Dates: Every first Thursday from May through October. Organized by the Urban Art Network (UAN) (urbanartnetwork.org).
Set Up: This is a good fair once you get a little experience. You can only sell things you make yourself and they must be pre-approved by the Urban Art Network. Spaces are 10’x10’ and cost $40.00 (cash or check, no credit cards). You may register on-line or bring samples to First Thursday for on site approval. If you become an on-line member of UAN (free) then you have first choice of spots. A sign up sheet goes out about 2:00 for people who want to register same-day stand-by (this is a good idea if you are concerned about the weather). You must be set up by 5:00 and cannot breakdown before 10:00. First Thursday is not a street party like Alberta, people go there to shop, most actually bring money unlike on Alberta. Experienced dealers will have what’s called a “square” to accept credit cards. You must have a Smart Phone or an I-pad to use it. Speaking of money, make sure to bring loads of change. This is a good fair to promote your on-line sales sights such as Etsy (etsy.com) if you have one.
Neighborhood Street Fairs (e.g., Belmont, Division-Clinton, Hawthorne, Mississippi, Kenton, etc.):
Dates: Vary, check with each organizing group (e.g., Google “Belmont street fair” and you will see how to get a vendor form). Most street fairs require you sell only hand-made goods.
Set Up: All street fairs vary with rules and set up times (e.g., 10:00 for a 12:00-5:00 show). Street Fairs book up months in advance and usually cost about $75-100 for a 10”x10” spot. Many require you to have a pop-up (available at stores like Fred Meyers for about $150, sometimes on craigslist.com for less). Remember, like any business, you will have to invest in some equipment when you first start doing fancier shows. Try to get lightweight tables and chairs. Most fairs provide nothing. Outdoor sales in the summer with no shade are miserable if you do not have a pop-up. Food vendors are always at craft fairs if you do not want to take your own.
Portland Public School Craft Fairs:
Dates: Vary, check with each school via PPS websites or calling direct.
Set Up: These sales are surprisingly good for selling. Most are indoors and occur near holidays. Parents usually shop at these craft fairs because proceeds go to support the school. Fees vary and you will probably need to agree to give a certain percentage of your sales (e.g., 20%) for fund raising. Schools with more popular sales charge much more than others and book up sooner. These sales are usually administered by parent volunteers and the organizational level may vary from year to year. Most people that attend school craft fairs are there to buy, so do not overlook these sales. Some of these sales book up months in advance. You will need to surf the web and make a calendar of show dates and application deadlines.
Crafty Organization Shows:
There are many organizations in Portland that sponsor craft shows. Some are very competitive and book up months in advance. Contact each group to find out details. Some provide calendars and will inform you regarding application periods. Some hold multiple shows during the year. Fees will vary depending on the popularity of the show. Some are very expensive.
Handmade NW – diyalert.com
Crafty Wonderland – craftywonderland.com
Crafty Underdog – thecraftyunderdog.com
Craftmaster – craftmasternews.com (many listing outside PDX)
Art in the Pearl – artinthepearl.com
Portland Saturday Market – portlandsaturdaymarket.com
Crafty Sales Web Sites:
For those who want to sell online, these are two of the most popular sites for selling and buying. You will need to go to the site for details, but it is a small investment for national exposure.
Craftster – craftster.org
Etsy – etsy.com
Crafty Gift Shops:
There are too many crafty type gift shops in Portland to mention here. If you sell to stores, be prepared to get half of what you would from a retail customer. This is called wholesale. Some stores will buy outright, some will want to sell on consignment. (That means you get paid when and if your item sells or it gets returned to you. This is quite a common arrangement. Different stores work with different splits e.g., 50-50, 60-40, 70-30). You must work out a deal that suits you. It can be difficult to establish a relationship with a store, but it can be rewarding. You need to go to each store and determine if what you make fits the décor. Do not sell to more than one store in the same neighborhood.
Certain stores such as the Friend’s of the Multnomah County Library Gift Shop in the Main Branch of the Library downtown only want specific themed items. In this case, items with a “literary theme” or a “Portland theme.” They sell items on consignment. You will need to contact each store’s manager/buyer (usually the same person) directly (http://friends-library.org/store).
Crafty Promotion Groups:
In case building web sites and designing logos and doing marketing is not your thing, you can hire others to do it for you. Check around for pricing. You do not need to spend a ton of money to get a simple web site built! Start simple and build it up later. If you are attempting to get into craft shows as a vendor, it is a good idea to have a simple web site with photos of your wares. Most of the better shows will ask for your web address. They often assume that if you do not have a web site that you are not a serious crafts person.
One local group that is good for beginners is: LGA Creative (lgacreative.com). It’s a Portland based group of single moms who can accommodate your promotional needs based on your budget.