Monday, May 23, 2011

15 Craft Shows Tips & Tricks to sell more, stress less and have more fun

Craft shows are not for everyone - they are alot of work but if you have the right stuff at the right show you can make alot of moulah. Here are a few tips for making the most of them.

# 1 - My first tip would be to find the right shows for you.

The best shows book early so now is the time you should be booking for fall (and it is too late for some of those) - don't be afraid to ask other sellers for their favorite shows (ask people who have your same target market, but not a similar product - if you sell jewelry maybe don't ask a jewelry seller - although you can ask me, I don't mind - I think the more jewelry the better at the shows I do (kind of like the way those car dealers and furniture stores group themselves together along the highway- I think it's a good thing) but since show promoters limit people of the same genre - maybe talk to people with different items.

You can also search online - there are sites like festivalnet, smartfrogs,, your local newspaper, search google and there is a magazine called Sunshine Artist that has show listings and reviews.

# 2 - Make your prices easy to find - I use arrows so I don't have to string those little jewelry tags that just don't cooperate with my fingers - if people are asking you the price of things you have not marked your items clearly enough

# 3 - Set up your display prior to the show - I set up most of my display in my livingroom a couple days before, so I can see what I am missing and then I pack up right from there so I don't forget anything

# 4 - Use table covers (I use brown sheets) that go to the ground, so you can store your boxes underneath and still look neat - some people have been using risers to raise their tables and I do love the look and ease of having a counter/table, but since I once had a wonderful customer in a wheelchair bring to my attention that she was having trouble, I don't use them anymore

# 5 - Bring enough stuff! This is important because you want to appear full at all times.

(if you think people will see your near empty booth and think you must be selling something amazing that everyone just had to have - they won't - or they might - but they'll still just keep walking)

My friend who sells fruit and vegetables at a farmer's market will not display her deliciousness in half-empty baskets. Instead she heaps the remaining fruit and veggies into smaller and smaller baskets to make the baskets appear full and overflowing.

You can also do some manuevers with your display - removing shelves and even tables if you have to, to keep things looking full and inviting - think staging areas.

Also you need to bring enough stuff to make money - otherwise, why are you doing all this work in the first place. I have been near crafters who could probably sell everything on their table and not cover their booth fee - you need enough stuff!

I have also had people tell me happily that they sold out - well, you can't sell what you don't have - selling out is really not a good thing unless it is seasonal stuff, your last show of the season or the end of the day.

My goal is always to make 10X my booth fee and so I stock with 3X what I need to sell that much. For example if my booth fee is $100.00 - I want to make $1000.00 and so I bring at least $3000.00 retail of my work.

(which sounds like alot and it is - you may not need this much - and it brings us to #6)

# 6 - You're either in it or you're not. You can't do just one craft show because you need a certain amount of over-inventory as I explained before, the show could be a dog or get rained out, too many things could go wrong and you will have a start-up investment that you will want to recoup over several shows.

# 7 - Bring your product forward - customers sometimes hesitate to come into a 'cave-like' booth - the closer you can get your stuff to them when they are walking by the better. It will cost you space but trust me you want your stuff practically in the aisles.

(this is hard for me with 2 distinctive product lines that both take alot of space so although I have a table on each side of the booth, something I don't really recommend since we don't want to create a 'cave' feeling, I use the table ends - that I place as close to the customers walking past as possible - to display directly to the walkers by having merchandise on the ends face the walking aisle - I also have a vertical banner that catches their eye)

(back tomorrow with more tips and tricks)

* very cool - fox selling watches screenprint by neversleeping


Isisjem said...

Great tips. I don't know if it's different in the States to UK, (It maybe a cultural thing) but over here people are often far too reserved to ask the price of something. If it's not priced they either assume it's going to be VERY expensive or don't want to ask and have a 'heavy' sell type experience.

Interestingly one of my favourite jewellery sellers always has quite a small table - their items are all quite small but they display loads. I was first attracted to them because there was a huge crowd of people gathering to take their turn at the table. You just 'new' there must be something good in front of all those people and there was!

KJ said...

Thanks for the links.

I like risers, but now will have to rethink them based on your post. Great tip.

POSH said...

Thanks for the great tips...I'm still trying to recover(in more ways than one)from a disasterous, no-sale craft fair experience...
I'm new to the selling aspect, so I'm trying to educate myself and do some research.
Thanks again for the great info.

Elizabeth said...

I'm in love with your blog and was so thrilled to find your Biz Tips! I'm a crafter too and I started my blog last year as I learned all of the tricks of the trade. I found you while googling for wine cork ideas and LOVE the heart clip board. I'm your newest to browse your site some more!