When I first started making jewelry, I never thought I’d be showcasing my work at a craft show. The thought seemed profoundly intimidating, not to mention way too work intensive. But craft shows don’t have to be intimidating and they can be a great opportunity to learn from other crafters, to meet potential clients and customers, and yes, even to make money. I’ve compiled the best (and most frequently repeated) craft show tips from the experienced crafters I know and have distilled them into these craft show tips:
Practice Your Booth Setup Early
If you’re a first time craft show vendor, it’s important you set up your booth one time before the show, so you know how things will look and how to set your booth up as quickly as possible. This gives you an opportunity to fix any broken pieces, fill any holes, and make sure your booth looks professional and beautiful!
Things almost always take longer than we think they will, particularly when you’re anxiously preparing for your first craft show. Arrive as early as you can so you’re not panicking setting things up at the last minute.
Don’t Act Like a Vulture
No one likes dealing with high pressure sales, and commenting on everything someone picks up or standing over someone while they shop can be a good way to run someone right out of your booth! Instead, smile when someone approaches and make it clear that you’re available to help or answer questions.Then let them shop in peace. People will be more likely to feel comfortable browsing, staying in your booth longer, and contemplating a purchase with this approach!
Be Prepared for Some Negativity
Though craft shows are overwhelmingly supportive environments, some people don’t understand the value of handmade items and the work that goes into them. Thus you may get comments like, “That’s too expensive” or, “I could never make that myself.” Don’t allow these comments to deter you, and be prepared to respond with friendliness instead of hostility. These comments may actually serve as an opportunity to educate someone about the value of handmade and the work you put into your craft. Turn that heckler into a customer!
Make Prices Visible
Very few people want to seem price conscious, even in a bad economy. Consequently, if you don’t make item prices clearly visible, you may lose out on business from people who don’t want to ask you about prices.
Be Nice to Children
It’s understandable that you might be concerned about children breaking or otherwise damaging your work, but being rude to children or their parents is a surefire bet to chase people out of your booth. If you see a child manhandling your work, try saying to them, “I have a great game! See how many things you can notice using just your eyes!” It may also be a good idea to bring a few kid friendly items that you can hand to kids to play with.
Don’t smoke at, in, or around your booth. It leaves the smell of smoke on your work and many people think negatively of smokers, which means they’re less likely to buy your work.
Know Your Work
People who love a good story are likely going to ask you questions about your work- the stones you use, the story behind the item, etc. Be prepared to answer these questions like a pro. Being knowledgeable and having an amazing story can help push your buyer into, “I need that!’ as opposed to just, “It’s nice.”
A craft show can be nerve-wracking, but with a little preparation and a positive attitude, it can be a great opportunity to build confidence in your work while making money!