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I’ve said it before and it bears saying again: Craft shows are always a gamble. Despite your best efforts, there’s no guarantee for any show that it will be profitable. Today, I’m sharing four tips to help you overcome a ‘bad’ craft show.
4 Tips to Overcome a ‘Bad’ Craft Show
- See it through to the end. You’ll know a few hours into the show how successful the show is. Keep at it through the entire scheduled timeframe. Even if you only stand in front of your booth and pass out business cards to shoppers – you are still getting your business name out there.
- Network with other vendors. If you are at a craft show and traffic is slow for everyone, take time to walk around and introduce yourself to other vendors. One of my dearest friends and I met over 15 years ago at a failed craft show. We were both selling jewelry – along with everyone else. While I no longer sell jewelry, we still talk weekly and visit each other when we are in the same state. There’s no reason why you couldn’t find a few new friends or a potential business relationship.
- Take notes and photos immediately after the show. Give yourself the opportunity to learn from this ‘bad’ show. How does your set up look? Why do you think things didn’t go well? Did you have enough inventory in several price points and for several demographics? Were your products not a good fit for this type of show? Was the entire show just void of buyers? Did other sellers have a bad show as well? Use your notes to improve on your next show.
- Realize that a ‘bad’ craft show may not be your fault. Unfortunately for show organizers, unsuccessful shows often fall onto their shoulders. As a seller, you aren’t involved in the advertising, show location assignment, or selecting vendors. You cannot (and should not) blame yourself.
No matter the reason for the poor show performance; keep your chin up and starting planning for your next show.
And please, ask the organizer of the next craft show you attend these questions before you sign up.
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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.
Thursday 5th of April 2018
Great advice! Not only is leaving early rude, but it can hurt potential sales for other vendors. Customers see one booth being broken down and think the show is over, so they also start leaving. It can also get you banned from future events.
Wednesday 11th of April 2018