We are by no means craft show experts. Still, we've been to our fair share of craft shows and we've definitely learned from experience! Take a minute to learn from our mistakes, especially if you're new to doing craft shows or vendor events.
1. Do your research!
We once attended a very large event where we had expected to do well, but we ended up just barely breaking even. We thought that we would do well because the event was well established and attended by thousands of people each year. What we didn't think about were the reasons why people attend this event: to participate in outdoor activities, ride carnival rides, and listen to music. People weren't there to shop, especially not for jewelry or accessories! Later on Facebook, we saw that other vendors didn't sell anything, especially vendors who were selling more expensive items.
Before you register for an event, make sure it's a good fit for your type of crafts. Sometimes this is a trial and error process, but other times you can tell in advance. For example, large festivals that feature vendors as a side attraction may not be the best place to sell high-end jewelry. If possible, look up photos from past events or contact vendors who have worked the event in the past.
2. Plan your setup ahead of time
I am guilty of not doing this for every event! Setting up can be stressful, but it's worse when you have to piece together where you want everything to go before customers start to arrive. Before you arrive, you should have a general idea of how you want to set everything up. Do a trial run in your backyard, or draw a simple diagram of where you want to put all of your items.
If possible, see if you can learn the layout of the event before you arrive. Will you be in between other vendors? Will there be space between your booths? You may not always be able to learn this information in advance, but it helps if you can. Sometimes event coordinators will send out a map with each spot labeled - I always scan the map to see whether or not I'm on a corner, and whether or not anyone will be set up behind me.
3. Figure out a checkout plan
Before you get to the event, figure out how you will handle money. I make sure all money is in the cash box at all times - nothing goes in pockets. If you need change, go to the bank before the day of the event.
Think about how your customers will carry their purchases. Do you need to bring boxes or bags? Regardless of what you use, make sure you keep everything in an easy-to-reach location so you aren't fumbling through your supplies when a customer asks to check out.
Don't forge to consider how you want to record your sales. I keep a binder where I list everything we sell in a day. After a long trial and error process, I like to list all of my items and prices and put a tally mark in the appropriate row when an item sells. I make sure to draw my tally mark immediately after I sell an item so I don't get distracted and forget. I enter everything into my computer once I get home.
4. Bring plenty of food and water
Even if food will be served at the event, bringing a cooler of snacks is a good idea. I like to pack a lunch whenever I can so I'm not tempted by delicious (but unhealthy) fair food, and so I don't need to worry about eating something messy while customers are browsing. If your event is outside, think about how much water you think you'll need and then bring twice that amount!
|Note: It's also totally okay to buy food at events, especially if the food looks like this.|
5. Dress Appropriately
If your event is outside, check the weather for the entire day! This sounds like a no-brainer, but we've frozen and fried several times because of poor planning. I can remember a spring show where the forecast said the high would be 75 degrees, so I dressed lightly. What I failed to realize was that it wouldn't be 75 all day, and we were set up in the shade, so I was freezing for the entire morning. Bring extra layers during spring and fall, and wear comfortable, lightweight clothes during the summer. Wear sunscreen, even if you expect to be under a tent all day - you'd be amazed how easy it is to get burned while setting up or breaking down your booth!
|The men brave a cold October morning.|
If you have any tips, please free free to add them in a comment!
Don't forget that our Etsy shop is always open.
Happy crafting :)