Learn from my craft show mistakes
Now that fall is here, I am living in the craft show/fair cycle: prep, sale, recover, repeat. I feel like I am either getting back from or going to a craft show! And while a part of me loves it, the other part of is making lists and checking them twice.
Practice makes perfect
If you can, try and set up your table and your booth space. I like to use masking tape or painters tape on the floor of my garage and set up a trial run. If you can’t take up that much space, try and establish what you want displayed on the tables. Take pictures! That way in your groggy 7AM set up time you can remember where everything goes. I also like to pack product in whatever it is being displayed, so that is easy to pull everything out and set it up.
I would also see if a friend would come by and see your setup, or send them the pictures you’ve taken. They can provide an additional set of eyes and point out things that might be missing or hard to see.
Be a boy scout
Prep for everything. Bad weather. Massive spillage of coffee all over your products. A broken shoe. If you name it, it can happen. And if you are working alone, you have no one to help you fix it. So I tend to bring everything and the kitchen sink cause you never know what might break/spill/mame/etc. My craft show packing list is available below, and as you can see it is pretty extensive. You are going to want to bring some additional items (yoga mat for muddy areas to help stabilize tables, trashbags, towels) for outdoor shows.
It is also wise to know where the closest stores are, if you are unfamiliar with the area. Knowing how and where the local Wal-Mart is can be really helpful when having to hunt down a replacement tablecloth or something else that was left behind.
Think like a shopper
Are they scared to touch your products because of how they are displayed? Or is everything too messy that they can’t find what they are looking for? This isn’t just your booth, it is a mini store. You want everything to be easily accessible to a potential customer. Make it easy for them to identify what you are selling, and how much it costs. Make it easy for them to pick it up and try it on.
Think of your target audience and the stores that they would often shop in. Are the stores bright, or more natural and airy? What kind of an image do you want to portray with your booth?
I wanted my booth side to be light and airy. Since a majority of my products are geared to moms, I wanted to make sure that everything was easily accessible, and that a mom could get the jist of everything I was selling and how much it was the minute they stepped into the booth. I also wanted it to be a little relaxing and chill, so I choose more of a white pallet, to match a lot of the fabric choices that I had. My partner on the other side of the booth had more of a brownish color scheme, which made her scarves really pop. She wanted to make things more fall like, to help people think of buying warmer clothing.
Take the season or occasion of what you are selling into account when making your display. Selling wreaths? Antique doors would make a great way to feature what you are selling. Sell Christmas ornaments? Hang them on a small fake Christmas tree so that customers can see how they look against a green backdrop.
At the last show I was at this one woman had some really great stuff. But you couldn’t see it unless you walked right up to the table. Lots of people won’t go up to a booth or tent unless they can see what you are selling. So make your items easily visible from a distance. Use a variety of shelving and displays to elevate your products so that they can be seen from across the room.
The post-show sale
Just because someone doesn’t buy from you that day, doesn’t mean that they won’t make a purchase from you in the future. At a show I worked a vendor at someone handing out cards to everyone that walked by. While that’s a great way to get your card in the hands of everyone at the show, you have to wonder how many of those cards ended up in the trash. You want to draw people in, and give cards to those that will potentially buy from you. Business cards are a great way to get someone to your Etsy store or website, so that they can make a purchase afterwards. Even if you don’t have an online store presence, try and set up an instagram or facebook account where you can post some of your work and a way for them to contact you for a sale. Customers sometimes can’t take the time to stop and buy (especially if they are a vendor or have kids) so giving them an outlet to contact you afterwards will help to increase sales and drive traffic to your other selling avenues. It also helps establish credibility should they needs to contact you after the sale should there be an issue. So there you go, the things that I need to work on and that will help you make a sale while at your next craft fair. Need a good craft show packing list? Click here to get your own copy of the list I use when packing for a show.