I made $20 at my first show. That was in 1980 and I have been doing shows since then. Full time since 1994.
First thing I must ask is what do you make? And please don't tell me it's jewelry. That is one category that is by far the most competitive in this business. Only the best make any real money. When a show has 1/3 jewelry, even the customers' eyes glaze over and nobody does well.
I always see where exhibitors want only the best shows. Sure, I can rattle off some GREAT shows where I have made thousands in a weekend. But a beginner would be totally lost there. You have to find the shows that are good for you
, not everybody else. Besides, the 'good shows' aren't $50, they're $200-$500. And for that money you have a 10x10 space that consists of two chalk marks on the floor and a plug. Our job is to transform that space into an attractive booth.
Where do we begin? Well, first, what did your display look like? Was it all laid out on a table just like everybody else? Or was it different? The key word is different
. That's what draws the customers to your booth, not table. And different is the key to selling. You have to have what nobody else has at that show.
How many shows did you attend before signing up? I always tell beginners to attend as many shows within a 100 mile radius as possible. Small shows, big shows put on by professionals with professional exhibitors. Look at the displays. Nobody has a table set up, they all have 3 sided booths with lighting and displays. Here's a site to search for shows in your area: http://festivalnet.com/
Do a Google images for craft show displays. Get ideas. Here's one site for a promoter I do a lot of shows with. You can click any image to bring it up. All of the shows are in New England. http://www.castleberryfairs.com/photoalbum.php
Helpful tips. Never sit down at a show!
Unless you're handicapped or something, you always stand and be ready to greet your customers. Just a simple "good morning" with a smile is all that's necessary. You don't see the employees at a store sitting, so why do we think it's ok? Dress nice. I use the trem "dress for success" literally. Nothing fancy, but you do want to look professional.
It's a beginning. You will learn at every show you do. Good luck.