Alright...it's here...the Craft Show Tip Post. I've been brainstorming this post for a few weeks now. I wanted to do a craft show tip post because I saw so many of my crafty handmade business owner friends seeking advice about craft shows via Twitter. I wanted to give you some tips and tricks (for those of you with handmade businesses) to help your craft show experience. I've even asked some of my very lovely local crafty friends to join in. If you don't have your own handmade business but you love to go to craft shows you may enjoy this post as well, see all the love and care that goes into these types of productions and hopefully you'll know how much we appreciate your visits. :)
My first piece of advice is to HAVE FUN! Sounds strange but sometimes I feel myself getting stressed for no reason. I've been to craft shows here and there since I was a little girl (Thanks to my Mom). I used to think craft shows were full of rafia swags, painted wood figurines and old granny quilts. Well that just ain't so. Not anymore ...at least. :) Now you can find amazingly artful shows full of handmade artists showcasing their beautiful and cared for goodies. It's fun! So no matter what...just have fun while you are there. Meet your neighbor, browse other vendor booths and make conversation with your own booth visitors. I've met some super fun people at shows that I am now friends with in real life. I love it!
The most important thing I can think to share with you is to be PREPARED. Thankfully my very first craft show was in a shared booth with other crafty ladies and they were able to pick up some of my slack. There are so many things you wouldn't dream of to bring with you to shows. Like bags? Hello...didn't think of that at my first show. Some things I always bring with me are: Extra scissors, tape, ribbon or twine, extra pins, paper towels or wet wipes (never know what kind of mess you could make) and bottle water. Sometimes you don't get a break to catch a drink so it's good to have something with you, especially if you are outside.
Another thing I like to do is have printed pricing signs, not handwritten. I even have mine in small frames so it's easy to read what is what.
Cash box...wanna keeps those dollars safe. Having a cute apron to wear is also an easy way to carry your change, it's right there in your pocket and you don't have to dig around so that's always nice. I always have to have a matching outfit so I wear my apron only if it matches...haha. Most importantly for those of you who have smart phones, iphones, droid's...etc. The square reader is an amazingly easy application for accepting credit cards at shows. You must look into it. Lastly, have some bags (my first craft show mistake) they can be as simple as brown paper sacks, kraft paper gift bags or search on ebay and etsy for suppliers that have cutie bags that will go great with you brand.
A few more things: Have table cloths that go all the way to the floor. One, it's easy on the eyes to see clean lines and two, no one wants to see your bags and bins under the tables, it can make your booth look cluttered. Have business cards readily available for those to take, they might want to check out your online shop later on if they want something else. Have a sign that has your business name on it. I'm currently working on a new logo so I haven't ordered a big vinyl sign or sorts but I usually have a framed sign (8x10) that has a simple printed out sign.
I'm constantly learning at each show what I can do better, how I can be more prepared so it's always a learning experience. I love to put love and care into my displays and make sure they truly represent me and my personality...because if I love it then people that are like me will like to come take a look at what's going on. Last weekend at Spring Bash I had sooo many comments on my displays, especially my fringe garland, made my day! I'm constantly thinking of new things I can do and I already have a super fancy display update in mind for the fall. Cannot wait! :)
So I've asked some of my local crafty friends (who have been doing shows for years and whom I've learned the most from) to share their advice for craft shows, so here goes...
Christine Sharpe Crow from Indie Emporium, and Make:Tulsa says:
I have a little "show bag" that I pretty much always keeped packed and bring along to every show. It's a rolling tote - I think it was made for scrapbooking supplies, but works perfectly for my craft show needs. The main big area of the tote holds my cash box, various sizes of merchandise bags for sales, my receipt book/notebook, bottles of water, granola bars, and hand sanitizer. The top pockets hold scissors, tape, lots of pens, markers, extra signage, gluestick, clothes pins, needle & thread, and safety pins. One set of side pockets hold my business cards, and the other side has some small tools and zip ties. There's a lot of other random stuff that gets stashed in there, but those are my must haves. Before I officially made the tote my go-to craft show bag, I was inevitably forgetting tape or business cards or something that I needed at every show, so it's been a lifesaver and I never have to worry about packing it up before a show anymore.
Another craft show tip I have is to make a list of everything you'll have in your booth/table and make signs for *everything*. Having matching, cohesive signs makes a booth look a million times better, especially if they are tied in with your branding. I recently lost a few of my signs before a show and it drove me crazy all weekend to have 2 random handwritten signs that didn't fit in, so I now have a spare copy of each sign in my bag in case the original
gets lost or blows away at an outdoor show.
Miss Holly from Holly Rocks says:
My biggest tip would be to make sure EVERYTHING you sell has a clearly visible price. It seems so obvious, by many people overlook this important step in preparing for a craft show. I use signs to mark groups of items, which is nice because it means I don't need tags and stickers for each individual item.
A few things that may not seem as obvious but are still very important are sweaters, snacks, and plenty of water. These things will help keep you comfortable and energetic during the show.
Lastly, I like to offer small promotional items to shoppers for free. Business cards are a must, but I have found that customers really love to take home little souvenirs which will work to your benefit if you use these items to remind people of your booth. I've done buttons, magnets, stickers, and even tea. It's a great way to make your brand stand out in a sea of business cards and encourage buyers to check out your online shop.
Nikki from the Gleeful Peacock says:
1 - have a place for people to sign up for a mailing list
2 - Always pack way more product then you think you will ever need.
3 - Displays that move ( like spin) catch people attention. people like interactive displays.
4 - smile and get to know your customers.
5-I would also say to have a range of prices. People love small items that don't cost as much.
If you have any further questions or more advice about shows please feel free to leave those comments right here on this post. I'd love to hear what you have to say. Happy Crafting!