Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Craft Show Advice for the First-Time Seller
Author: Chris Alexander
Congratulations! You’re on your way to your very first craft show! Once there, you’ll be meeting people who will like and potentially help you endorse your products. However, you might be a little nervous about what to expect or what to bring with you. You should not worry too much because selling your crafts should be an easy and fun experience. Here are some tips to ensure that your first show is less about stress and more about success.
Check on the registration date for the show. See how far ahead you can register for a booth, as some shows are more popular than others and may fill up quickly. Contact the show producers to learn the details on when and how to register. Confirm if you need to provide proof of insurance to register. Also, keep copies of all registration paperwork and correspondence. When registering, provide photos of your crafts to show producers.
Ask about booth fees. Booth fees are usually based on show quality, so if you’re unsure about what the fee may be, look at the quality of the vendors who are attending the show. Also, how much it’s advertised and the anticipated attendance for the show. For a higher audience, such as 50,000 people, a booth fee of $1,000 would be appropriate. However, if the show only typically attracts 500 people, the booth fee should be fairly low.
Make a list of everything you need to bring with you. Supplies should include a booth itself (if one is not already provided for you), decorations, office supplies (pens, pencils, a stapler, business cards, tape, scissors, surge protector and extension cord), a tool box and your products. Making a list ahead of time will help to keep you organized and focused. Use the Lindbergh Craft Show Checklist to get you started. Lindbergh-Craft-Show-Checklist.pdf
Do a dry run. Set up your booth or at least a space the size of your booth before you go to the craft show to get an idea of how you want to display your crafts. Your preparedness will show when you present your booth and wares in an eye-catching and inviting manner.
Follow the rules. Be on time to set up your booth; do not set up too late or leave too early. Besides missing early or late sales, the show rules may require that you’re set up for a certain amount of time. Make sure your booth is set up properly and that you are dressed appropriately for the show. Take responsibility to review the craft show rules before you arrive and even bring a copy of the rules with you.
Engage with show attendees. When the show starts attendees start to mill about, smile to show that you are welcoming and willing to talk to them. Be friendly but not overbearing, and offer to provide customers with information on the products you’re selling. Also, just a simple acknowledgement, such as “good morning!” or “good afternoon!” will at the very least turn the head of passersby.
Reciprocate contact information. When someone asks for your contact information, ask if they’d be willing to share theirs as well, and add them to a mailing list where you can notify them of new products or future shows where you’ll be exhibiting. This will help build your clientele as well as increase the possibility that they may refer you to others that might be interested in your crafts.
Most importantly, show you love what you do. Showing your enthusiasm for displaying and selling your crafts should be apparent and natural. Introduce yourself to other sellers to network and exchange ideas – you may even make a friend or two!
Follow these tips and your first craft show experience is bound to be less nerve wracking and more fun-filled and exciting - and you’ll be that much more ready for the ones to come as well!
Learn more about why you may need a proof of insurance to sell your wares at a show.