Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Craft Fairs 101 - Part 3

(photo of Pie Bird Press and Honeylux from Renegade)

Part three of Craft Fairs 101 will cover some things to consider for the day of the fair, as well as a few more photos of beautiful displays. Things can get pretty hectic the day of a craft fair, especially if it's your first, so it's good to have a checklist.

(Craft fair photos from Unique LA)

A short list of things to remember on the day of the fair:

* Lots of inventory! An inventory list comes in handy, too.
* Tables, and enough chairs for everyone planning to work in the booth
* Sales displays
* Tablecloths
* Signage
* Plenty of cash change, and a money holder (box or belt)
* Credit card processing device
* Promotional items (business cards, pins, postcards, etc.)
* Calculator/receipts
* Bags, boxes, tissue, for packaging sold items
* Booth helper (someone to let you take a break!)
* Wet naps/purell
* Snacks and/or lunch, plenty of water

(photo of Bird Mafia from Renegade)

Big events like craft fairs can be very taxing on your body and your voice. Keep in mind that you'll want to take a few breaks during the day, to have a snack, or just to walk around the rest of the fair. You may want to ask a friend or family member who knows your work to help you run your booth, so that you'll have opportunities to take breaks and relax a little. Having a booth helper means you won't accidentally get caught shoving a sandwich in your mouth by a customer ready to buy your merchandise... no one wants crumbs on their purchase.

(book fair photo from Lena Corwin)

Many shoppers will want to chat with you about your work, but many will also want to shop in peace. It can take a while to learn the art of body language and subtle social cues, but it's always smart to look available for your customers, in case they have a question. This means staying off of your phone, computer, etc, and smiling as people walk by your booth.

(photo of Love, Daniela from Renegade)

You will certainly encounter many people who are eager to compliment your work, but don't let the occasional negative comment get you down. We've all been there, someone makes an off-hand remark like, "This is overpriced," and you grit your teeth. Try to take these comments in stride, and use it as a moment to educate your shoppers. Perhaps remind them, "My work is all one of a kind, and made entirely by hand." Of course, you can always choose to just ignore naysayers, but I've turned a few skeptics into customers after educating them about my materials and methods, and the benefits of buying handmade.

(photo of Krank Press from Renegade)

It's a good idea to introduce yourself to your booth neighbors, and to be as courteous as possible to other vendors during the show. Manners matter, and a good impression goes a long way towards getting you accepted into the fair next time. Craft fairs can be draining, and it's easy to get crabby after a day or two of non-stop work. Keep in mind that the connections you make at a single fair can set up months of future sales, that should keep you feeling upbeat!

Most of all, have fun!
Participating in craft fairs is a great way to expand your business, and to meet your target customers in person. It's a fabulous opportunity to make professional and personal connections, so enjoy the experience!


  1. This is great info, Erin! Thanks so much for sharing. What's the best way to process credit card payments? Is it expensive?

  2. Good question! I still use the old fashioned carbon paper swipers, and process them afterwords using I've heard a lot of good things about Square, which plugs right into iPhones!

  3. Ooh, I've seen an ad for that before! That would be cool to just use the phone.

  4. Awesome post with great info! I wish there were craft fairs in my country, they seem so fun!

  5. Great info! I need to get out there and do some craft shows :)

  6. Is there any further reading you would recommend on this?

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