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Oct 1, 2012 04:48 PM

gift fair food vendor tips?

I've been getting some encouragement to sell my homemade preserves at a local gift fair for Christmas and wondering if it's worth the trouble. I have no idea how much stuff to make, whether to offer samples or not, etc. I also bake but wonder if having two different kinds of items would be confusing as well as too much work for little return. I don't really have a lot of money to spend on this so I'd definitely like to not be in the hole afterwards. Thanks in advance for your advice and suggestions!

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  1. Sorry to rain on this maybe parade but, what do the local health codes say about this? I am not sure what a "gift fair" is, but I am assuming it is some sort of open to the public sale. The the DOH can step in to question or inspect your cooking area. Local laws vary. If you are receiving a profit, check sales tax laws, then be sure to claim that income at tax time. It'a not easy .

    4 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      Hi Quine!

      A gift fair is pretty much like a farmer's market, or arts & crafts sale. And yes, I've already looked into the local health codes to ensure the food items are safe for public sale and consumption. Haven't poisoned myself or anyone I've gifted my preserves to (and I'm quite sure I'd be told, lol!) and I've been considering markets for a little while now, so maybe this is the year to do it.

      When you say it's not easy, is there something specific you're thinking of?

      1. re: jubilant cerise

        For a number of years, I was part of a team that organized a benefit where vendors exhibited at a holiday event. Tickets were sold to the public (there was more to the event than vendors.) The vendors table space was free in return for a modest donation to the charity based on their sales for the day, I think it was 1% of gross sales.

        What I observed over the years was 1.) people LOVE samples, too much so and 2.) people like walking around looking at the offerings for sale more than actually purchasing the items.

        Based on my jaded view, don't prepare more than you are comfortable keeping for yourself should sales not live up to expectations. Offer only items that will "keep" and skip the baked goods.

        1. re: cleobeach

          Thanks for the info, cleobeach! Over the years, I've tried eating and gifting what I make and still end up with a lot left over - not a bad thing, since it keeps anyways but the problem is that I like making preserves so I inevitably end up with a lot. So I was thinking, why not give selling a try? Will think about all of this some more but now I don't feel so bad about making sure I have enough - if I sell out, then that's a good thing and I won't be stressed out trying to have a lot of stuff stocked up especially since this is really just a hobby for me and I want this to be a fun experience.

        2. re: jubilant cerise

          My Mom's former neighbour, made and sold home made jams. She sold these at a flea market, her brother's farm stand and various food/craft fairs. This is in New Jersey. Turned out that the State (county)health dept. must inspect and pass, the kitchen, the labelling must be approved as accurate and suitable taxes had to be collected and reported. Serious fines could incur. these things do vary, according to state and local laws. All in all, it was the too difficult for her to continue, that she switched to making American Girl Doll clothes..
          So as long as you have already checked that your health codes, including labelling are up to code, I say Bon Chance and good luck!