Craft fairs are perfect for so many things! If you are an online seller adding holiday craft fairs to your business plan can
- Build a local clientele
- Develop loyal relationships with customers
- Show you how people react to your merchandise
- Help you get a sense of what sells and what doesn’t
- Move a lot of product in a short amount of time
If you’ve ever tried selling at a craft fair, you know there’s always that possibility that you’ll sit there all day long and never even make your booth fee.
I’ve had booths where I’ve sold tons. I’ve had booths where I’ve sat there all day. I’ve also worked closely with craft-show promoters and organizers and seen what goes into making a truly great show.
Having seen both sides of the coin, here’s what I think:
Half of your success depends on you and your product.
The other half depends on you picking the right show for your product.
Making Yourself Into Top Seller Material.
Unless you sell food (soup mixes and veggie dips) you’ll never be the top seller at a show. Those vendors do big, big business since their product has universal appeal. But these few easy (and one not so easy) steps will go a long way to boosting your sales.
Have an amazing display:
Just like you slave over your product photos on Etsy, you should put extra care and attention into your booth display.
- Skirt your table to the floor (it looks pretty and it’s functional since it covers up your boxes of extra product)
- Fill in empty spaces with seasonal decor (but don’t get so carried away that it distracts from what you are selling)
- Bring in extra light, lots and lots of light! (strands of Christmas lights are perfect for illuminating dark corners)
- Create a variety of levels to display your merchandise with shelving or boxes draped with tablecloths
Wrapped up pretty:
Attractive packaging goes along way to attract the sale. Little touches like cellophane bags and professionally printed labels are indications that you sell a quality item, made with care and attention to the smallest detail.
Dress to impress:
Avoid the desperate salesman look. No one likes to buy from someone with even a hint of desperation. It’s way more fun to buy from someone who looks successful. There’s something reassuring about it. So dress up – even if the show is in a VFW hall that hasn’t been updated since the Great Depression – and look like you could be selling at Tiffany & Co.
Picking the Right Show for You
Not every show – even really big, highly attended shows – are right for you and your product. You will greatly increase your chances of doing well if you hunt down shows that attract the right clientele.
Assuming you make hand-crafted items and don’t resell anything, these are some things to look for in a show:
- A jury process
- An absence of resellers and direct marketers
- Strong advertising presence
- Recommendations from other crafters
Shows that jury their vendors and adhere to a strict policy of hand-crafted items only are the best shows for you. They have built their reputation on being curators of excellent merchandise and have a loyal following among buyers willing to pay for quality workmanship.
If they’ve been around a while (I like to see 10 years or more), if you’ve seen their advertising around town (on street corners, in the newspaper, etc.) and they come recommended by other crafters, chances are this is a solid show.
Ultimately, paying a booth fee and potentially a commission is a gamble – a bigger gamble than listing online. But if you do your research, you’ll reduce your risk and increase your opportunities for selling lots and lots of your stock.
Your challenge this year as you shop at craft fairs is to scout out which shows meet the criteria. Find out who organizes and promotes the show and be ready to contact them after the New Year. Some of the best shows fill their shows in the springtime. Happy craft-fair hunting!