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To wrap up our talk on craft shows, I’m sharing my favorite craft show tips! If you missed the previous posts on craft shows, they were Ways to Find Craft Shows and Juried versus Non-Juried Craft Shows.
22 Craft Show Tips and Tricks
Before the Show
- Have a wide variety of price points throughout your products. For example, have some items under $10, some in the $10 to $50 range, and some in the $50 plus range. This will help you appeal to the budgets of many buyers.
- Practice your set up several times before going to the show. If you’ve just bought a brand new tent for your outdoor show, be sure you can set it up and take it down before you go to the show. (I have this tent from Amazon, it’s middle of the road quality and does the job.)
- Tweak your product displays at home. There are lots of craft show setup ideas around the internet, so browse to find something that works for your products. My best advice on your product arrangement is to use varying levels on your table. If products aren’t visible, customers can’t buy them.
- Invest in (or create!) a banner or sign with your business name on it. Think of your booth as your storefront, and storefronts need signs.
- Advertise the event on your social media. You could even offer a coupon code to your social media followers for use during the show. For example, “(Business Name) will be at the (Event Name) on (Event Date). Be sure to stop by and use coupon code “Facebook” to receive a 10% discount.”
At the Show
- Do not be late! Be ready to go at the specified time with everything set up.
- Bring a snack, but don’t eat in your booth. Craft shows can be long affairs, and you’ll need to eat, but don’t eat while tending to customers.
- Bring change. Many people will pay in cash, and you’ll need to be able to provide change.
- Bring quick and easy packaging to wow your customers after they purchase. Head to this post for a few ideas.
- Accept credit cards. There are several credit card processing programs to choose from. You can read more about them in my previous post.
- Provide receipts and care instructions to customers, preferably with your business name on them. If you need a quick set of care instructions, I’ve got you covered.
- Bring business cards, post cards, or rack cards to pass out to customers who may want to purchase from you online at a later time. If you can, include a small sample (a sticker, a small vinyl decal, or a keychain) with your promotional material.
- Invite customers to join your mailing list by collecting their name and email address. This can easily be done on a clipboard or by writing their information on a card and dropping it into a jar. If you don’t have a mailing list – get one – and read this article.
- Put prices on your items. I firmly believe that I’ve done better at shows when I’ve attached easy to see price tags to my products. While others may debate this, it can be awkward for customers to ask prices on each product.
- Bring an assistant! Bringing someone to help you not only allows for you to take a break, but an assistant can help package items, keep things neat and tidy, and collect money from customers.
- Be friendly and greet everyone that walks into your booth at the show. While this seems obvious, I’ve attended several shows where the sellers aren’t so friendly. People buy from people they like – be likeable!
- Handle sales as quickly as possible. Being friendly with customers is a must, but after the sale is made – keep the chit chat to a minimum. You will want to turn your attention to the next potential customer.
- I might not be popular with this suggestion, but if you are personalizing items on the spot – have your assistant do it. As the designer and creator of the items, your time is better spent meeting and greeting customers. For example, if you are creating personalized shirts on the spot, have several designs cut and weeded so you’ll just have to add the name. Quickly put the name into Silhouette Studio and set it to cut. Have your assistant remove it from the machine, weed it, and press it – while you are tending to other potential customers. (A binder is a great way to store pre-cut and pre-weeded designs – see my post here.)
- Stay off your phone or tablet – no phone calls/texting/internet surfing. If you are sitting around bored, potential customers may get the impression that you aren’t really interested in being there.
- Do not pack up early. Plan to serve customers until the show ends, and then begin tear down.
Before You Leave the Show
- Take several pictures of your booth setup. Future shows may ask for photos of your setup.
- Make sure your space is neat and tidy before going home.
Finally, craft shows are a lot of work, but as soon as you get home, write down some notes. What went well? What didn’t work well? What did you see at other booths that might help you for next time? Save your notes for your next show, and as I’ve mentioned before, always keep evolving!
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Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.