Monday, February 14, 2011

Top Ten Craft Show Tips

The spring craft show season is upon us, so it's no wonder that our team has been abuzz with people asking for craft show tips. Our team is full of wonderful ladies who have all sorts of experience working craft shows. Some have done only one, but a few are participants in the regular show circuit in their area!

I've taken the top ten most common ideas and compiled them into a nice little list for you all! Several members also included pics of their wonderful booth spaces! Hopefully they can inspire you all.

1) Have a checklist of things you'll need for the show. There's nothing worse than forgetting something! Brandie at My Silly Blue Hippo posted a great checklist on this forum thread

Rachael at Little Birdie Baby Shop did an Awesome job displaying each product in an interesting and inviting way.  There's no digging through to find something.  

2) Consider your options for accepting payments. The consensus seems to be no checks. Unfortunately, you just never know who will write you a hot check. So that leaves you with cash and credit cards. A few have commented on the little wonder that is the Square credit card reader ( The thing is amazing, and a very inexpensive way to accept credit cards. All you need is a smart phone with the app on it, and the free credit card swiper! You also need to consider giving out receipts. I'd say most buyers may not want a receipt, but you need to be prepared to give one just in case. You can get an inexpensive receipt book at an office supply store. Don't forget somewhere to put the money. Lora from ButternutBoutique recommends wearing an apron with pockets to keep money in!

3) This one will be on your craft show checklist, but it's so important I'm including it here. You NEED your promotional materials!! Business cards, post cards, flyers, and anything else with your business information on it. You'll have a lot of people stop by your booth and not buy, but if they have your promo things, they can buy online in the future. I also suggest custom order forms, if you take custom orders, and an e-mail list sign-up sheet.

Love how this booth set-up by Little Owl's Nest offers various levels of display.  It looks warm and inviting!
4) Plan your display. Get information about how large your space will be and plan how you want to lay everything out. It's inevitable that you won't be able to do everything exactly the way you want, but having a plan will help you get everything set up much more quickly and easily. Some people even set up everything before the show to be sure it looks good. (And, you may even snap a picture of this early run-through as a reference, to help your show morning set up go faster) Make your display as eye-catching as you possibly can. You don't want people walking right past you. Try to create different levels to your display. Having everything flat on the table is boring and will do nothing to get anyone in your booth.  Many people suggest to have everything very clearly priced.  I found that I did better without having the signs up.  

5) Network with other sellers. Get to know the other sellers at the show. The last show I did I was placed right beside "the monogram lady." I can't tell you how invaluable it was to have talked with her there. She sent several people to my booth to get things she didn't have, and I sent my people to her to have things monogrammed. Until I get an embroidery machine, I'll always send people to her to have things monogrammed. You might also be there by yourself and having someone to talk to will make it MUCH better.

This display set up by Dirty Deeds Soaps is warm, inviting, and well organized.
She has represented her brand well!
6) Know the show before you go. You won't always be able to attend the show before you sign up, but you can get an idea for how it will be. Some good things to know are: How many shoppers are expected? How many vendors? Is it open to all types of vendors or just to crafters? Crafter-only shows tend to be better for handmade. If you are able to, attend beforehand, then pay attention to which type of items people seem to be gravitating. It may just not be the type of show you should be in. After you sign up, be sure you know the rules for sellers. Sometimes you'll need to offer a door prize. You might need floor length table cloths. Heck, they might even require that you stand on your head for 10 minutes out of every hour. You need to know, so that you don't break the rules and can get the deposit back.

7) Look like you love being there. I hate getting a rude, unhappy cashier at Walmart, whose only connection to the product is scanning the barcode. It would be way worse if the person was selling things made by their own hands. People want to buy from someone they can relate to. Lora from ButternutBoutique advised, "the more personable/friendly you are, the higher your sales volume will be. My friend and I noticed that the more (genuine) compliments we handed out (about a buyer's outfit/kid/jewelry/etc.) the higher the likelihood of a sale. It was unreal!!" Don't just sit there reading a book, or gazing off to la-la land. Be engaging and people will be jumping at the chance to buy something from you!

Lora from Butternut Boutique looks very comfortable, friendly and stylish here!
 I love the way the booth set-up adds interest! 
9) Know your product, or maybe it should be know what people want to hear about your product. Be armed with little tidbits of information that might make a buyer more likely to purchase something. Think about things you might see on a package if the item was for sale in a store. What uses does it have? What size is it? What makes it different from similar products?

10) Keep yourself comfortable. No one wants to buy from a slob, but you will be on your feet all day. If possible, wear something you make. You want to represent your brand well. If you sell high-end jewelry, wear some, and dress like you're selling jewelry on Fifth Avenue. If you're selling boutique baby items, look like a stylish mom that people want to be--you know you have "that" friend who has 10 kids and is always so put-together. The great thing about buying handmade is that people want to know the maker, so make sure your represent yourself well.

Celesa Jackson- Blog team leader
Lilly Bunns Boutique


  1. These are fantastic tips! I learned some new things, which I definitely appreciate!


  2. Super article! Thanks for the great tips!

    Anne of

  3. Awesome post! Such great tips! I will definitely be sharing this one!

  4. Thanks for the tips! I've never done one, but my mom has and she has told me that her best tip (to go along with your #7) is to never sit down! Also, have friends come and spend some time talking to them. As a buyer at craft fairs, I can see why these things would help!

  5. Great post. I know that I definitely searched all over online for information before we went to our first show. Its so wonderful to have all this info in one place.

  6. Wonderful tips!

    A tip shared with me - always have something very small and cheap for the kids. This alone could pay for your booth fee.

  7. Wow! This is great! Thanks so much for all of the info!

  8. Great and timely advice with the spring show season getting underway.

  9. I keep coming back to this as I am planning for my first craft show! Thank you for the awesome tips!

  10. Would love to republish this on our website, during Crafty Business Week! Great info for our readers and increased exposure for you. Please email me if you would like more information. Thanks!

    Simone Collins
    Executive Editor
    Craft Critique

  11. Thank you for the tips! I wish I read it before the craft fair that I did this past weekend! I had a huge space and not enough tables to fill it. I should have planned it out more. And doing research is a must I think! Spring shows here in Maine do not draw large crowds, so I did not do well at all. But I think all of us, need to be prepared to loose at a show once or twice, because it happens!