We asked some veteran crafters and artists for advice and crucial tips for success at a craft fair or art show. Below is a top ten list of what they thought was most important and often overlooked.
Don’t leave potential buyers wondering if they can afford your work. Many people are not comfortable asking how much something costs, and will keep walking. Make it easy for customers to find items that fit into their budget by creating collections based on price points. For example, set up a table labeled “Gifts Under $25.”
A canopy doesn’t just protect your artwork from the elements; it protects you and your buyers as well. Canopies also provide more display options by hanging your work on the side panels and the top frame. Look for one that comes with removable side panels, is CPAI-84 Flame Certified and NFPA-701 Flame Certified compliant (some events require this), and can be securely fastened to the ground.
You never know what the lighting situation will be at an event, so don't risk the possibility of your artistry sitting in the shadows. Shining a spotlight on your work is a great way to enhance product visibility and focus buyers to a particular product or area. Remember, shiny stuff sells! Also, an electrical drop can be expensive (and at times unavailable), so consider using battery powered lights to both save money and provide added flexibility when an outlet is not available.
Keep that enthusiastic and friendly personality fueled by staying hydrated and eating healthy. Bring plenty to drink, cold beverages in the summer and hot drinks in the winter. Nuts and other protein rich snacks are a quick way to recharge your batteries and feed your brain.
Social media is a great, but email is still the number one way to stay in touch with potential buyers. Be sure to collect visitors’ email addresses so you always have a way to let your fans know when you launch a new line or are doing a push for the holidays.
Create postcards that have all your contact information, website, and Etsy store info on one side, and pictures of some of your best and most representative work on the other. That way, six months down the road, that customer can easily remember what they loved about your work.
Companies like Square and Paypal have made it easy and inexpensive to accept credit card payments. Just be aware, PayPal requires an internet connection, while Square does not. For those who prefer to pay cash, make sure you have plenty of change. Hit the bank the day before your show, because leaving it to the last minute is a recipe for disaster.
Stay organized so you can get out the door quickly and never leave anything behind. Create a "Go Bag" that includes everything you’ll need from extra price tags, hooks, tape, and even a small first aid kit. And always keep your Go Bag stocked, packed, and ready.
Stand near the entrance to your booth, but not blocking it, and smile at people. Ask passersby if there is anything, in particular, they are looking for. A present for a friend? A gift for a baby shower? Be helpful. If they say they are looking for a baby gift, and you do not have anything appropriate, recommend a few vendors they should check out. Then add, “I have some nice things the new mother might appreciate.”
You never want to leave your table or booth unattended. Entice a friend to come along to keep you company by offering to take them to brunch, or prepare a picnic basket filled with goodies for the event. Their companionship will keep you energized during slow periods, and will allow you to wander around and check out the competition.
Is there anything we missed? Share your tips in the comments below.