Tips for a Successful Craft Show Season
This is the season that I look forward to each year! I enjoy the relationships I have built over the years within the craft show community and getting to see everyone. I love my customers! Meeting new people and visiting with each customer who visits my booth is rewarding especially when helping them pick out just the right item. Now, don’t get me wrong here- craft shows are a TON of work and are not for everyone. I’ve been going to craft shows for over 10 years and have learned a few things that have helped me to have great shows year after year. In this blog, I share my top five tips to have a successful craft show season.
1. Find the right show-Not all craft shows are the same!
Every craft show has a target audience. Some shows feature antiques and vintage items. Other shows feature multilevel marketing (MLM) items such as candle, jewelry, makeup, and essential oils. As a crafter of handmade items, I look for craft shows that feature handmade items from artisans, have been in existence a while, have great promotion and are well organized.
Look for shows that are established and have been in existence for a while because these shows are usually well promoted and well attended. As a result, you will have a more successful show. If you are like me and sell handmade items with a large booth display, a two-day Fall or Christmas craft fair may be more successful than a Wine Tasting event downtown or the local farmer’s market every third Saturday. I consider my work to event ratio…how long it takes me to prepare inventory, set up my booth and take down my booth compared to the length of the show and projected sales/profit.
2. Create an inviting booth- Your booth will be one booth in a sea of many….how will you stand out?
Create an inviting space by displaying your items so that customers can see what you are selling. Have enough items to make your booth look full and intriguing enough to stop customers in their path and pull them over to see more! Practice your set up at home before the show so you will know how you want your booth to look when you set it up.
Reserve a booth space big enough to accommodate your needs. Most shows configure the booth spaces very close together and you may only have one exterior wall space and your inner space to create your display and flow in your booth. Fire codes are very strict and you will not be allowed to go beyond your designated space. Get a double booth if you need it!
3. Be prepared- You won’t regret it!
Make a list and check it twice before you leave home! I have several show check lists to help me remember all the things I need to take for set up, taking payments, taking care of myself (think hotel, clothes, pajamas, etc.), display items, inventory, and emergency items. To create your list, you may want to practice setting up your booth in advance of the show and then write down EVERYTHING you needed to set it up. Don’t forget frequently overlooked items like sunscreen, bug spray, ant spray (you never know when your booth will be over an ant bed at an outdoor show!) and take plenty of water and snacks. You may be too busy to break away for a full meal.
Find out if the show will have Wi-Fi or cell phone signal for your carrier and plan accordingly so that you can take payments with your card reader or phone. Bring cash so that you can make change.
Will you need help at the show? Get a helper committed in advance and have a backup in case someone gets sick. My hubby has come to my rescue several times!
4. Know your sales strategy- Actively engage
One of the most valuable tips I can share here is to be actively engaged during your show! Avoid sitting in the back of your booth, looking at your phone or reading a book. Do not lose a sale because customers don’t want to disturb or interrupt you. Instead, try staying active by rearranging your inventory and engaging with customers when they approach your booth.
Offer to keep your customer’s purchase for them while they shop- then put a sold tag on the items and watch how many customers will ask if it is available! Be ready to redirect them to a similar item to capture a sale!
Frequently move items around. Customers who didn’t purchase an item often return to your booth later in hopes of getting that item. By moving items around, you can create a sense of that they might have missed out and if the item is still available, they will often commit to a purchase.
Hand out business cards and collect emails so that your customers have a way to contact you for their next purchase and you have a way to keep in touch with them after the show.
5. Evaluate your success- Don’t forget to analyze
After the show, you will have time to look over your sales and inventory. Look for trends in what sold well and what didn’t. Did you have a top selling item? If so, plan to make more of those in the future. Look at your sales to determine your average selling price. You want to ensure you have a variety of price points.
My last tip is to remind you to be sure and follow up on any post-show taxes and fees due. You should get tax information in your show packet from the show producer. If you don’t, be sure to ask about what taxes are expected. The responsibility rests on you to ensure you know the requirements and meet the deadlines.
For an extroverted creative such as myself, craft shows are very rewarding and a way to meet my customers and form lasting friendships! Having the opportunity to engage with everyone is exciting and I look forward to each show. I have shared my top five tips for a successful craft show season. Follow these tips to help guide your show adventures and let me know how you do! I’d love to hear all about your adventures in the comments or in my social media!
If you still have questions about craft shows and would like a more in-depth training, join my next Successful Craft Show Masterclass. I share my top 7 strategies for a successful craft show season in a five-day virtual masterclass. Once you attend the class, you will have lifetime access to the content. Plus you will be able to join our exclusive Facebook group. Find all the details at successfulcraftshows.com.
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