As the holiday season approaches, we are now getting ready to enter…craft show season (simmer now, we can hear your heavy applause and yells of joy from here!).
Craft shows are a little different than farmers’ markets. Typically it will be a one-day show. There won’t be time for a trial period to see which of your products perform, and what ones don’t, which can be challenging. Preparing for a show you may have never attended can be a challenge, but we know a few ways you can show up ready to rock!
Scope it out. Never attended this show before? That doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. Especially if its an established annual show, the people behind the show’s organization will have an idea of who attends the event. Ask them questions about the projected attendee size, your setup area, what the demographics are, and how many (if any) other vendors there will be that are selling the same or similar products.
Plan your display. An organized, well thought out display will attract customers to your booth. Avoid a flat, plain display by adding stands, tablecloths, decorations, and signage. Be ready to stand out front of your table to place your product directly into the hands of your newest fans.
Plan for power. If your display will include lights or you need dedicated power to run a payment terminal, make sure that you check with the event coordinators well in advance. Some shows do not offer power to their vendors, and you don’t want to get stuck with no way to take payments.
In the case of needing to charge your phone to take payments, consider purchasing a few portable power banks to take with you. These light weight rechargeable devices often provide up to two charges for your phone; bring a few to make sure you’re covered!
Bring change. We aren’t talking about a rebellion here; we’re talking cold hard cash! Craft shows aren’t usually credit card affairs, most people bring cash and they’re ready to spend! Make sure you’re ready too and bring at least $50 in assorted change with you.
Create a seller’s survival kit. There are many little things you won’t realize you need until the time has come to use said things; a few suggestions for your survival kit:
- Pens, a pad of paper, a roll of tape for any table or signage mishaps and product signage
- Receipt book
- Inventory management, whether it’s a ledger book or on a laptop
- Fanny pack or apron, whichever you prefer-you need someplace to stash your cash!
- A snack, aspirin and some water
- Your business cards and bags for your customer’s goodies
Inventory, inventory, inventory. This is why knowing your audience before attending is so important. If the show is slated to be enormous and you are one of few or the only vendor of your kind that will be in attendance, stock up! Arm yourself to the teeth with products of different types and don’t be afraid to have a little back stock under your table, ready to be whipped out for customers should you sell out of your beginning stock.
On the flipside, if there will be two or more of the same vendor, and the show is not very large, don’t necessarily bring all of your stock. In this case, it would be acceptable to bring a somewhat limited but still diverse stock and advise your customers that they can order products from you that you haven’t brought. Throw in a goodie like a discount on shipping (or free shipping if you’re feeling extra gracious) and you’ll have a stack of order forms before you know it.
Craft fairs can be fickle, but if you show up prepared, you’re must more likely to be successful. Be prepared for a variety of customers, sales and situations and most of all, enjoy the buzz leading up to the holiday season. Your customers will be in bright spirits, ready to buy your fabulous products for their loved ones, and you’ll enjoy success, too!