We've compiled a list of some of the the top shows in Great Britain and beyond—which ones best suit your handmade business?
The British Craft Trade Fair
Britain's premier trade fair for crafters, makers, and designers offers the opportunity to make valuable business connections with galleries, shops, retailers, and more. The event is limited to handmade items only, and features more than 8,000 registered designers! The next fair will take place from April 8-10, 2018, but buyers interested in following up with makers afterward can take advantage of the online catalogue to purchase year-round.
Bath Christmas Market
The holidays can be one of the most lucrative times of the year for handmade crafters, so signing up for a Christmas market can be a huge boost for business. The Bath Christmas Market creates a fun, festive atmosphere—merchants' booths are made to resemble snow-dusted chalets—and the makers themselves are carefully selected to ensure a wide range of products are on offer. For this show, 85 % of the makers are local to Bath and the surrounding area, so if you're local, be sure to apply!
Best of the West Festival
Celebrate the best that West Scotland has to offer in food, drink, music, and, of course, handmade goods. Held in September at the iconic Inverary Castle, this family-friendly event draws visitors from across Scotland and beyond. Though the festival is an outdoor event, it is held largely under canvas, so an audience is assured rain or shine.
The Artisan Collective
With multiple pop-up market events each year held at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool, this artisan-run collective pools the joint marketing power of all its members to create quirky, well-attended markets. For more information, contact the collective via email at [email protected]
The Alford Craft Market
Founded in 1974, The Alford Craft Market of Lincolnshire is one of the longest running crafts organisations in the UK. In addition to offering a variety of market events throughout the year and a permanent shop, they also provide classes, exhibitions, and have spaces available for hire for crafting events, so if you need a little extra studio space to finish up your market preparations, The Alford Craft Market may be able to help.
The Stalybridge Artisan Market
Held the second Sunday of each month, the Stalybridge Artisan Markets features roughly 50 indoor stalls for handmade crafters and artisans, and space in the square outside for 20 produce stands and food vendors. With a variety of crafts and art on offer at any given time, the events are quite popular. Check out the market on social media as well!
Ireland's National Crafts and Design Fair
One of Ireland's premier events for crafts and handmade goods! Held in December in Dublin, there are more than 500 different makers' booths on offer, making it an excellent place to market unique gift items for the holidays. The National Crafts Fair organisation also coordinates additional market events throughout the year. Be sure to check them out!
The Rally of Lugh Longarm
Though perhaps a bit unconventional as a crafts event, this motorcycle rally offers more than just the roar of engines in County Louth, Ireland! There's a crafts village with vendors focused on such crafts as silversmithing, glasswork, ogham, basketry, and more, plus several stages where live music events will keep the audience engaged throughout the day.
BUST Craftacular events take place in London, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles, and are some of the largest and longest-running fairs for independent makers available. Coordinated by BUST magazine of New York, London's juried fairs are held twice each year, in the summer and near the holidays, and draw an impressive crowd.
The Crafters Roadshow
With six venue locations in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Livingston, Stirling, and East Kilbride, The Crafters Roadshow offers a number of events all with the aim of "spotlighting the next generation of great makers." Choose to attend a single weekend, or register for multiple events at once. Registration fees include a table and seating, as well as a basic table cover.
Brancepeth Castle Craft Fairs
Organised by the owners of Brancepeth Castle, these fairs (held once in July and once in November) have an excellent reputation for being well-coordinated and unique, which is no surprise as they're currently in their 30th season of events! Stalls are set up in the castle's ground floor rooms, with overflow space available in the courtyard, weather permitting. The events are quite popular, with near-capacity attendance for most.
Renegade coordinates top makers' markets in cities all over the world, including annual events in London. These juried shows feature everything from candles to stationery to jewellery and more, with a range of price points to appeal to a broad audience. The next event is December 9-10, 2017.
Made by Hand Wales
One of Wales' premier contemporary crafts events, Made by Hand Wales draws artists from across Great Britain, with more than 100 exhibiting each year. The next event runs from November 3-5, and includes workshops and masterclasses as well as exhibitor stalls.
Craft In Focus
With events in a variety of venues scheduled throughout the year, Craft In Focus offers a wide range of opportunities for artists and makers of all disciplines. In addition to extensive advertising and marketing for each event, Craft In Focus also provides resources to vendors, such as information on liability insurance, display tips, and more.
The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair
With more than 6,000 visitors, the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is one of the leading contemporary craft events in the UK. Roughly 160 makers are selected to ensure a variety of fields are represented, and their work covers media as diverse as glass and print-making. Two smaller, related events, known as the Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fairs, are held twice annually.
The Knitting & Stitching Show
The name may be a bit misleading—there's not one show on offer here, but many, including events in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and Harrowgate. Whether you sew, felt, knit, weave, or embroider, fibre artists of all disciplines are welcome to participate. There are plenty of options to suit your business. Exhibitors may choose from a stall or a gallery space, and can even sign up to be workshop tutors if interested!