Friday, August 10, 2012

So you want to be an artisan who sells at craft shows...

A bunch of new fascinators, ready to go!
Tomorrow I have to get up *before* the crack of dawn to get to Benicia for the Benicia Peddler's Fair so I decided to spend the morning getting everything ready for my booth. And I'm ready! This is amazing, actually, because usually I'm up late ironing, tagging, sorting. I hardly know what to do with myself (well, yes I do, but I'm taking a wee break). Knowing that not everyone has experienced the life of an artisan who sells at craft shows, let me give you a few tips if you are thinking of doing a craft show:
  • It takes a while, and I do mean at least a year or two, to get "everything" you need for your booth. You will be tweaking things as you go, getting rid of things that don't work, spending more money on nice fitted tablecloths. This is normal. Don't worry about everything not being perfect the first time. This is my umpteenth show and I still spent plenty of time worrying about things like how I'm going to set up my booth.
  • Bring water, snacks that aren't messy, and handwipes. You may not get many breaks so having snacks and water on hand might save you from the grumpies. And handwipes are essential--port-o-potties might be your least favorite thing in the world but sometimes you have no other options, or, the flushies have a line a mile and half long.
  • Engage with, but don't crowd or ignore your customers. Which would you rather see, a friendly face who greets you when you walk into their booth or someone who either a) won't look up from their book or b) follows you around, not letting you browse? When you are selling items that you have created, you are also selling who you are. It's better to be comfortable with that. (It's also a good idea to not take it personally if the entire world isn't buying your work. It just won't happen. And that's okay.)
  • Not every show will be The Best Show Ever. Some shows will be wonderful, some will be "meh" and some will be awful. The more you do this, the more you will find out about other shows. Talk to other vendors (when it's quiet) about shows they like. you will get a lot of tips this way. If you are on Etsy, join local teams and find out about shows in your area that you haven't heard of before. If you can, visit shows you might like to do the following year. Call it Marketing Research.
  • Have lots of business cards available that link to your website and give them out freely. Not everyone is a customer at the show, but they might be later.
This is only a partial list but I hope it's helpful! Now I think I'll double check that I have everything ready for tomorrow....

1 comment:

Love Hats said...

There are some really great tips here. Thanks for sharing.