The Crafty Fair goes virtual to support makers and artists

Each weekend, shop different small businesses.
two onesies with Wisconsin theme and a card
Photo courtesy of The Crafty Fair on Facebook
RosyMade Designs is participating in the Aug. 15-16 Virtual Crafty Fair.

Since the beginning of June, The Crafty Fair has gone virtual on Facebook every weekend to support handmade artists and makers.

Rosy Hawbaker, who created The Crafty Fair in 2009, makes hand-printed onesies, totes, cards, stickers, tea towels and more through her company, RosyMade Designs. Hawbaker says once it became clear that selling at the Dane County Farmers’ Market — her largest source of income in the summer — would not be possible this year, she started thinking of other ways to support her business and others like hers.

The Crafty Fair typically hosts pop-up shops and a large Crafty Fair in December at the Goodman Center. Hawbaker says for many smaller makers, COVID-19 has posed difficulties as fairs and festivals were canceled, which is a way many make their living.

“A lot of shoppers know us and we depend on that interaction and to really have to adapt to a different way of doing things is hard,” she says. “The people who are willing to do it are doing OK versus people who are not willing to go the virtual route.”

After seeing some other ways makers were going virtual, Hawbaker created her own rendition. Every weekend through the end of October, Virtual Crafty Pop-Ups take place on its Facebook page, featuring different vendors starting at 10 a.m. on Saturdays through 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Each weekend, vendors post photo albums and feed posts on Facebook showing what’s available. To shop, you comment “Sold” in the comments and the maker will invoice you.

Since kicking off in June, Hawbaker says there have been roughly 60 vendors participating with the majority from Wisconsin. Each weekend there are different makers, so each time you’re bound to see something new, enter different giveaways or interact with a new vendor.

“These days, even when I get an Etsy order or you know a small order from a shop, it just means so much. It feels like it’s giving me hope to keep going,” Hawbaker says. “A lot of us are barely getting by financially, so when people choose to spend their money on [small businesses], it just helps tremendously in our lives.”

Find the sales on The Crafty Fair’s Facebook page and through its event page.