How Much Inventory to Take to a Craft Show or Fair?

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Craft show season will be upon us soon, and I know that many Cutting for Business readers are already signing up for shows and events. Today, let’s tackle how much inventory you should take to your next show.

First, there are no set rules on how much inventory you should take. You should strive to have your craft show booth full (but not overcrowded) of inventory for customers to browse and buy. You should also have enough stock on hand that you can replenish your display as customers purchase your products. Ideally, your back stock should be under the table or behind your display so that replenishment is easy.

3 Methods to Determine How Much Inventory to Take to Your Next Show

  • Based on vendors fees. Some sellers set inventory goals based on the fee for being a vendor. Ideally, you should sell 8 to 10 times the show entrance fee. For example: If the vendor fee is $50 you should plan to sell $400 to $500 in merchandise and bring at least double the products, or $800 to $1000 in inventory. Be sure to spread your inventory across several price points. Unfortunately, if you are selling large and expensive products only; this formula doesn’t work well.
  • Based on sales goals. Other sellers set inventory goals based on their sales goals. If I attend a show and want to sell $1000 in products, I’d typically bring around 3 times my sales goal in product or $3000 worth of inventory. Again, be sure to spread this across many price points.
  • Based on attendance numbers.¬†Other sellers compute their inventory based on past show numbers. At an average show you should expect that 1% to 3% of attendees will purchase something from your booth. First, figure out what your average product will sell for. Let’s say my average product costs $18. And, let’s say that a particular show has 2,000 attendees. If 2% of the attendees make a purchase (40), you’d multiply this by your average product price. In this case, I’d expect to sell $720 worth of product and should bring at least double the amount in product or $1440. Like the first two, you’d need to have products in a variety of price points.

Remember, these are just suggestions on how to determine your ideal inventory to bring to a craft show; but there are no hard fast rules. If I’m attending several shows in one season, I might bring much more inventory to a particular show since I can always use it at a show at a later date. If I am not attending another craft show, I might bring less so that I don’t have a lot left over at the end.

Worried about having enough time to create all these products before a show? Take a look at my strategy to quickly build up inventory in this post. If you are looking for more craft show tips, I’ve compiled my favorites in this post.

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4 thoughts on “How Much Inventory to Take to a Craft Show or Fair?”

  1. This is so helpful! I really appreciate that you added examples with some actual numbers. This is exactly the guidance I need as I start my journey into craft shows. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

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