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Topic: Craft Show Pearls of Wisdom...  (Read 36165 times)
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« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2008 11:33:32 AM »

Here are some holiday or craft fair pointers:

  • Arrive early to claim your spot. Even if previously assigned, an early bird may be able to trade or upgrade space. I overhead a trade conversation with the phrase "don't tell anyone but I'll move you to their space".

  • Bring more electrical cords than you think you need.

    • Lighting is key.

    • Cheap display: cardboard boxes stacked on table, then covered with colorful fabric.  Height is desirable.

      • Decide ahead of time if you will accept personal checks. I accepted from personal acquaintances and folks that appeared to be good risks. Yes, I profiled but I have years of retail experience.

      • Don't even think about keeping a cash box. Stash that money in your apron or deep pockets.

        • Bring your boombox for ambient music.  Choose music that is widely appreciated.  Holiday market - holiday music.

        • Let your product explain itself. Some folks are shy and just want to browse.  My cigar valet boxes seemed to be confusing to some.  I should have just labeled them as "remote control storage" or not labelled at all.

          • Hangtags denote quality.  Compose a blurb about your product, technique, SOMEthing.  Include a web address.

          • Mark each item with price. Some folks will not ask price because they are afraid that the price will embarrass them. I know it sounds stoopid but hey, some folks are stoopid.

            • Market coordinators may ask you for a door prize to promote the show. Luckily I thought to write a gift certificate on some of my logo paper. You want to draw folks to your booth.

              • Yes, some folks will ask you how you made your stuff.  My friend and I decided ahead of time to just answer all with the reply -  "Windex".  How did you make these?  Windex.  What kind of glue did you use?  Windex.  We are so easily amused. 


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« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2008 05:52:22 PM »

Today was my first craft show and I was so excited! I learned to always be friendly and smile, and to never leave your stuff unaccompanied. It makes people walk right by. Sad

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« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2008 08:41:23 AM »

My two cents-

Make your displays as nice as your goods - Anyone can set up a table or two, but I bought a couple of ladder-looking things at Home Depot (I can't remember what they are actually used for, but they are made of 2x2 lumber and look like a 6 ft. tall ladder with a top rung), and made shelves and a support for them. When they were just painted white, they got no attention, but I got bored and painted them in my funky psychedelic style, and everyone was all over whatever was displayed on them.

Sign all your work - you are an artist (even if you consider it craft), and your signature or mark can make the most humble item a work of art.

Smile, smile, smile! - even if you REALLY don't feel like it. People avoid bored or miserable vendors. You'll know if you are smiling enough when your face begins to cramp.

Have something in every price range - Even though most of my items are in the $40 range, I also have stuff priced in the 100's, and a bunch of easy, inexpensive items for under $1 (my best-seller is a 'belly-button brush' made from a small wooden dowel and a piece of chenille wire - looks like a tiny toilet bowl brush - glued to a piece of cardstock I print out at home that says "For the person who has everything - a Belly-Button Brush!" These sell like hotcakes at Christmas at 50 cents each, and only cost a penny or two to make. I usually make 500 and sell out.

Talk to your neighbors - I agree that you will garner more sales even after the fair just by networking. You may also learn a few things. I was selling a bunch of shabby-chic stuff (old stuff painted white), and had a bench I had made out of an old headboard. I had painted it purple and stenciled leaves on it. Talking to the face-painter next to me, I moaned how I envied her talent. She said "Of course you can paint! Anyone can!". After the show, I bought some acrylics and canvas boards and discovered I COULD paint, and have enjoyed it ever since.

Look as professional as you can - Even if you can't afford a pop-up tent, you need some kind of shade, or you will roast on a sunny day. Google shelters and find these nifty connectors for about $7-10 each. Add conduit pipe and a tarp for a roof. Shelter for under $50.

Look at your presentation - After you set up, stand back and see what doesn't work. Also walk toward your booth from each direction and see what you can change to catch people's eye.

Keep the kids happy - A bowl of candy is nice, but can leave sticky stuff on anything the kids handle. Oriental Trading Company sells gross lots of little toys and such - CHEAP. Invest a few dollars and make everyone happy!

And good luck to you all - Art/Craft fairs are addictive!!!

Check out my Etsy shop!
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People are entitled to their hobbies, and I'm entitled to think those people are creepy. - Raylan Givens, Justified
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« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2008 12:51:18 PM »

There are so many great tips here. I am about to start doing craft shows, and these pearls are priceless!

I did want to add something from my years in retail: don't prejudge. I've had customers come into a store wearing sweat pants that bought hundreds. They may just be dressed down for a relaxing day but might have a lot of money to spend. Also just because someone isn't in your target audience, it doesn't mean they aren't shopping for someone who is. I will never forget how upset a plus-size friend was when she was told at Victoria's Secret that they didn't have anything her size. In fact she was shopping for a gift and was there to spend big money. If women are your target, treat every man coming by as though he is shopping for a lady in his life.

Good customer service is the best way to foil theft. If you see someone who is making you nervous, ask them a polite question, i.e. "What can I help you find?" When they realize you have made eye contact and could i.d. them, and that you are aware of them, they will usually skedaddle.

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« Reply #44 on: September 04, 2008 04:45:31 PM »

Try to have a variety of price points.  Someone who buys a small item today is more likely to buy a big one tomorrow.

display your wares at several heights.  Boxes or simple shelves (boards on bricks or boxes) draped with fabric will give your display height and interest.  But don't make your display more interesting than your crafts!  I had a gorgeous burl I used to display dolls, and people wanted to buy the burl.  Ditto for a great "treasure chest" tin I used for jewelry.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams
« Reply #45 on: October 07, 2008 06:54:22 AM »

Wonderful thread
I am planning my first craft show on November 15th
I am so lucky to have found this.
thanks so much Wink
« Last Edit: October 07, 2008 06:56:26 AM by grannyscrafts1912 » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #46 on: November 06, 2008 02:52:00 PM »

This is great. I now have a compiled list - i won't forget anything!
« Reply #47 on: December 25, 2008 08:43:24 PM »

I just wanted to thank everyone on this thread for sharing their pearls of wisdom! I'm tentatively thinking of doing my first craft show in February and I'm basically clueless. I read through this entire thread and I'm feeling much more confident! I'll definitely bookmark this and refer back to it later. Thank you all! Grin

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« Reply #48 on: December 27, 2008 02:27:45 AM »

I recently sold for the first time at a monthly craft fair. I wish I had seen some of this advice first! Its just really handy information.

I just wanted to add a display idea. I saw another stall holder's signage from across the other side of the fair and I simply had to go over and see what it was about!
All I could see from my booth was a picture of a shave-headed Britney Spears with a speech bubble. I went over just to read what the speech bubble said. They had it attached to a basket of fabric brooches and the bubble read: "Guaranteed to get you looking super-funky!"

Get creative and have a sense of humor! It got my attention! (And lots of others too!)

Another thing : I made some record bowls and didn't want to waste the record sleeves and album covers. So I used the plastic record sleeves as bags (I cut little handle holes in them) and cut the album covers into gift boxes/envelopes for jewelery. Now I hardly sold a single record bowl but people just loved the recycled packaging! Mainly because they had never seen it before.

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« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2008 03:11:33 AM »

i know it's not strictly adhering to the board and has already been said but i'll re-inforce it
a bowl of cheap/free items for little people is a great idea, keeps them happy so parents can browse for longer
when i was younger i attended a lot of computer fairs with my dad (and brother) and my dad was always more willing to chat to and buy from a stall holder who was child friendly, some had sweets out, some had little toys, one had friendship style bracelets that his wife made for that purpose, some had consoles set up for the kids to play on
just remember
the children are the future, sometimes the very near future

Only dead fish swim with the stream.
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