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How To Sell at Craft Fairs and Shows

 

What is a craft show?

A craft show is an event where crafters can display and sell their products. There are two main types of craft shows: juried and non-juried. At a juried craft fair, judges examine potential vendors' work to determine if they will be accepted into the fair. At a non-juried fair, vendors simply need to purchase their booth space.

 

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Benefits of selling at a craft fair

If you follow the steps above, the benefits of attending a craft show can continue long after the show is over. Selling at craft fairs gives you the opportunity to connect with other crafters, showcase your work and make money doing what you love. Additional benefits include:

  • Gaining inspiration to create new crafts

  • Networking with others in your field

  • Learning new techniques to excel in your trade

  • Getting the opportunity to start a side business with your crafts

How to sell at a craft fair

Selling at a craft fair is an excellent way to get exposure for your work and turn a profit while also meeting other crafters. Regardless of what you sell or where you are in your career, these steps can help you find success at craft fairs:

1. Attend some craft fairs

Attending some craft fairs as a buyer can help you see what makes other vendors successful, and it can give you inspiration for how to set up your booth and conduct business. While you're attending other craft shows, look for booths that are popular and ask yourself these questions:

  • What does the booth look like?

  • How is the booth organized?

  • What types of crafts do they sell?

  • How expensive are their items?

  • Where do they place their more expensive items?

  • How do they greet potential customers?

Additionally, consider approaching a few vendors to ask questions and get some advice. An excellent question to ask is which craft shows are the best places to sell your work. This is also a great way to find someone who might rent out their booth or be willing to share their booth with you.

 

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2. Find the right craft fair for you

The right craft fair for you is one that matches your budget and has customers looking for your product. If you choose a show that charges too far above your budget for a booth or doesn't have customers looking for your item, consider looking for another show instead.

Once you've attended a few craft shows and talked to other vendors, you can get a good idea of a show that you want to try. Aim for shows that have other vendors similar to you in quality, style and price point. This way, you can be confident that your target demographic shops at that fair. Be sure to think about whether you would prefer to sell at a juried or a non-juried fair as well.

Additionally, you might want to find a fair closer to your home for your first try. Don't forget to factor in the cost and time it takes to load your items and travel to the fair. A fair that is more than a few hours from your home might require you to book a hotel, which adds to your overall cost to sell at that particular fair.

If you're determined to sell at a fair that is out of your budget, consider renting a booth from another vendor or sharing a booth. This gives you time to determine if this truly is the right fair for you, and from there, you can purchase a booth.

3. Offer items at various price points

By selling items at different price points, your potential customer pool deepens. When pricing your items, consider your overhead. The cost to sell one item at a fair might include:

  • The price of the booth

  • The cost of travel

  • The cost of a selling permit

  • The cost of materials

Once you've determined this amount, you'll have a better idea of what you need to price your items to turn a profit. You can also calculate how many items you'll need to sell to make a profit. Don't be afraid to change your prices—you might find that you've set your prices either too high or too low once you've gotten some selling experience.

After you decide on your prices, be sure to clearly mark them in your booth so customers aren't left wondering how much an item costs. Another way to offer flexible pricing is to accept credit cards. Many customers don't carry cash, especially for more expensive items, so accepting cards can help ensure you make the most sales possible.

 

4. Choose and design your booth

An impressive booth design will draw customers in. When a customer looks at your booth, they should be able to quickly understand what you sell. Here are a few design tips:

  • Use signs, displays or floor-length tablecloths to hide clutter, boxes and equipment under your table

  • Use shelves or props to add vertical space to your booth

  • Only display one of each item and keep extra stock hidden

  • Learn the dimensions of your booth ahead of time so you know how many items you should bring

  • Practice setting your booth up at home, and invite friends or family to shop your booth and provide feedback

Your booth should be clean, neat and organized. If you've done your research and taken time to prepare, you should know exactly how you're going to set up your booth when you get to the fair. This can help increase your confidence and reduce the likelihood that you'll still be setting up when customers start showing up to your booth.

5. Greet customers warmly

The proper customer greeting can help you make a sale more easily. When someone approaches your booth, offer a warm and friendly greeting. You can also create a customized tagline to say when someone approaches your booth. This tagline should be a short sentence in which you introduce yourself and what you sell.

Use your intuition to determine whether someone wants to keep talking or if they simply want to browse without being interrupted.

A great way to draw customers in and inspire them to ask questions about your crafts is to create new crafts at the booth. People may stop to watch for a few minutes and ask questions. This can also draw more people to your booth. If this is your strategy, consider having a family member or friend help run your booth so you can create and make sales at the same time.

 

6. Hand out business cards

When potential customers visit your booth, they might not be ready to make a purchase right away. A business card gives them a chance to purchase an item later by contacting you directly or visiting your website. This is especially true if your items are more expensive. Consider including the following information on your business card:

  • Your name

  • Your business name

  • Your tagline

  • Your phone number

  • Your website

  • A picture of what you sell

Additionally, consider offering an email giveaway. This encourages potential customers to share their email address and gives you a way to keep them updated on your work. When the giveaway is over, you can still send emails about new pieces, sales or notifications of when you'll be at additional craft fairs. As your email list grows, you will be able to spend less effort to reach more and more customers. Make sure to also give your customers an option to opt out of emails.

 

 

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