A few Saturdays ago I had the opportunity to “showcase” some of my handcrafted wreaths at a local holiday (bazaar) craft show. The hubs and several others had been encouraging me to sell my crafts for months now and I finally had the guts to give it a go. It was a somewhat spur of the moment decision which left me with just a few weeks to create about 10 wreaths to display and hopefully sell. So all of my efforts and time were put into creating and crafting, and not much else. Let me just say that my first craft show was definitely an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Here a few craft show tips I discovered after doing my first craft show….
Do your research!
I’ve attended several craft shows in the past but the experience is completely different when you’re a vendor, which I knew going in but I still wasn’t as prepared as I should have been. I was so busy creating wreaths I didn’t once stop to think about ways to help me actually sell them. So I advise doing your research on craft shows in general (especially about those held in your area in the past). Also research selling tips, advice and techniques. And don’t be afraid to ask the craft show coordinator (or point of contact) about the upcoming event…ask about the general customer base, vendor space and location, past craft show successes, etc. All this information can be a big help!
Invest in your table setup and signage.
Being an avid shopper, I could just kick myself for slacking in this area; when I’m out shopping I’m always drawn in by pretty colors, signs and cute set ups. I so missed the mark on this one and I was totally disappointed when I looked around the room at all of the awesome displays (as I continued to struggle with mine). So I advise taking the time to invest in your table and set up! A few days before do a trail run set up of how you want your table to look at the craft show, hopefully this will help you avoid some unwanted frustrations the day of the event. But keep in mind to always be flexible with your set up,just in case the vendor site is not what you thought it would be. Make sure you have signs displaying your vendor name, pricing and other important information about your crafts. You don’t have to invest a lot of money in this area just a little time and effort. Remember to be creative, you want your crafts to stand out!
Do a giveaway or freebie.
One way to draw people to your table is by offering something for free! Or is that just me that loves a good freebie…lol. Two of the vendors near my table had drawings for a featured products at their table, I noticed that it not only caused people to stop but was a great way to draw them in to take a look at more of their products. Other options to offer are a free gift with purchase, percentage off future purchases and/or samples…it really depends on what crafts you are selling. Even offering a piece of candy (which is what I did) is nice, however next time around I plan on attaching my business card.
Take a friend and make a friend.
Ask someone to tag along with you to your craft show. It’s always great to have helping hands with you when setting up. You may also need someone to keep you company during the down time and to stand in for you during you bathroom breaks. And while you’re there try to make friends with the other vendors around you too! Not that you’re in a rush but it can definitely help the day go by a little faster. Plus, they may be able to share a few craft show tips or information about upcoming craft events in your area.
Be organized and prepared for the unexpected.
Nothing is worse than being ready to purchase something and the seller is nowhere to be found or is not prepared to take your payment. I have left things behind for that very reason. So have everything you need to make shopping easy for your customers…keep extra cash for change handy, if your selling expensive goods have a credit card swiper (PayPal Here, The Square, etc.) and receipt book if necessary. Make sure you have an emergency craft show kit on hand too, with things like extra pens, notepads, tape, safety pins, markers, scissors, and snacks (trust me you’ll get hungry). Basically you want to be prepared for any and everything that could happen. And don’t forget your business cards…lots and lots of business cards and don’t be afraid to hand them out!
Set realistic goals and expectations, and have fun!
I went into this craft show with a very open mind! Of course I would have loved to sell every single wreath plus take orders for more but I didn’t…but I didn’t go expecting to either. I told myself that if I sold just one wreath that I would be happy and I ended selling two. I really just enjoyed the experience and I had fun!
I had such a rewarding feeling when I left my first craft show, not because I sold out or received such great feedback but simply because I stepped outside of my comfort zone. And I learned so much from the experience. I haven’t signed up for any other crafts shows just yet but I will definitely be using these craft show tips when I do!
Do you enjoy going to craft shows? What tips do you have for a first time craft show vendor? What handmade goods do you look for at craft shows?