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Holiday season is here. For many of you, the holiday season also means craft fair season. I have never set up a booth myself, but I have always been fascinated by these markets and the opportunity they present for crafters.
Having a vendor booth at your favorite craft fair is a great way to make money doing what you love but don’t kid yourself, these events require a lot of time and effort.
If you are going to put that kind of energy into something, you should at least do the best you can to set yourself up for success.
I talked to 6 craft fair veterans to find out what tips and tricks of the trade they use to make their craft fair experience a success.
Kelllie Voss, Betsy Corona, Kristen Woods, Erin Day, Susan Molina and Michelle Turner graciously shared their knowledge and wisdom so your craft fair experience could be a success too.
Here is what they had to say.
Create an eye-catching booth space.
Craft fairs are the real life version of scrolling on your social media feed. If you want customers to stop and visit, you have to give them a reason to.
Whether it’s social media or a craft fair, people are looking for something different to check out.
Here are a few things you can do to create an eye-catching booth that makes customers want to stop and check you out.
- Look professional! A professional looking booth conveys trust and quality. An easy way to make your booth look professional is by using full length tablecloths.
- Showcase your products in unique ways that will catch the customers eye but also make it easy to see everything you offer. Use crates or boxes on top of your tables to display your products at different levels. The best part is the crates/boxes can double as storage for transport. If boxes aren’t your style, you can create stand alone displays using chicken wire or lattice. Whatever you do, remember it’s all about showing the customer what you have to offer.
- If you sell clothing or accessories, use mannequins to display the clothes and pair them with other items you sell. This helps people visualize your products in action and it shows them combinations of the items you have that look good together.
- If you really want to take it up a notch, add your logo to your check out bags.
Get to know the other vendors around you.
No one wants to spend all day cooped up in their own little space. Fairs are social events. Take advantage of this environment and get to know the people who are out there grinding just like you are. When you get to know your neighbors you:
- Can get ideas about how you can set up your booth differently next time.
- Find a buddy to cover your booth if you need to step away for a moment. (Those bathroom breaks are important:)
- Get the inside scoop on other good shows you should attend.
Make your checkout process easy
It might feel great to have a long line of customers waiting to purchase your product, but a clunky check out process can kill your sales. I’ve seen people at the back of a slow moving line simply put their item down and walk away when they don’t feel like progress is being made in front of them.
Here are a few ways you can keep that cash flowing and your customers moving.
- Make technology your friend. QR codes that are linked to your PayPal or Venmo are great for a speedy and touchless checkout process. Customers really love this option in today’s COVID era.
- Be able to make change. If you offer cash sales, make sure you have enough small bills and coins to make correct change. Asking a customer to donate 50 cents is not very professional and puts a bad taste in people’s mouth. Don’t do that to your customers.
- Put your business card or flyer in the bags before the day or during your down time. Doing small tasks like this when you are not busy can really save you time when the rush comes in.
- Pack a couple of portable chargers. You never know what kind of electricity your booth will have and a dead battery will bring your sales to a screeching halt.
Engage with the shoppers
Remember, your goal is to get people to stop walking and check you out. Engage with the shoppers and be willing to invite them to check out your merchandise.
- Put your checkout area where you can talk to people as they go by. The worst thing you can do is hide in the back of your booth. Not only will people wonder if you are open, some might even be tempted to grab something on the way by.
- Smile and say hi. You don’t have to be a pushy salesperson with the people walking by, but a friendly greeting or conversation might get them to stop and check you out.
- Ask people who don’t purchase anything to follow you on social or visit your website. Give them your business card or flyer before they leave. People might not buy something at that moment so your job is to make sure they know how to find you and buy something later if they want to.
- Learn to read people. Some customers want to hear all of the details about your products, but some want to be left alone. Both are potential buyers, but you increase the odds of making a sale if you can learn to mirror their style.
Selling personalized items
People love to see and hear their name and the names of the ones they love. Offering personalized items, especially for the unique spellings and uncommon names, is a great way to stand out.
- Bring 1 or 2 samples of each item you offer and some photos of custom orders you have made to give the customer an idea of what their product will look like.
- Remember to charge for shipping or coordinate a way to get the personalized item to your customer after the show.
- Even better, bring along your Cricut machine and personalized items on the spot!
Are you ready to take on your first craft fair, but not really sure what to sell. These are some of my favorite projects that you could easily turn into a craft fair item:
- Patch Hats
- Santa Mats
- Bleach Dye Shirts are still very popular
- Santa Bags
If you are just getting started, don’t be afraid to start small at your first show so you can gauge what sells best. Make just a few copies of an item to see how it will sell. No need to hold a large inventory until you know if your audience will buy it or not.
Again, I want to say a huge thank you to Kellie of Homegrown Creations, Betsy of AMR Design Shop, Kristen of Down Home Designs, Erin of Elle and Co, and Michelle of Aloha Design Studio for taking the time to help our crafting community. Support them back and give them a follow today.
Craft fairs are a great business opportunity for crafters. Follow these 5 tips at your next fair and not only will you have fun, but you could make a lot of money too.
If you have any questions about these tips or something I didn’t cover here that you just want to ask about, comment below or email me.
Thank you for the tips! I am a year from retirement. My plan is to introduce myself at the local fairs. My dream is to throw it all in an RV and enjoy seeing the rest of the US. Crafting all the way! LOL!
I ❤️ the name of your blog!!
My dream for DECADES has been to stop the office grind and do trade shows. This is a bunch of really great information. Packing it up in my brain for if (when??) I ever get there. Thanks a bunch!