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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How to be successful at a craft fair

The booming popularity of sites like Pinterest and Etsy have given craft lovers a reason to get in touch with their artisan sides. If you’ve decided that you want to take your former hobby and turn it into something that can make a profit, then you’ll want to consider hosting a booth at a craft fair.

There have been people who have been attending craft fairs for years and know the ins and outs of handling crowds and getting the most bang for their buck when attending a show. If it’s your first time or you haven’t found the success that you would like, there are a few things to keep in mind so that you do well at your next craft fair.

First, consider if the booth fee is worth it. Nearly every fair or vendor event will require a fee to set up your booth and sell your crafts. While most of the time these fees are reasonable, once in awhile, they can be exceptionally high. Consider how many people are estimated to be at the fair, what position you’ll be in to sell your goods, and if you’ll receive a good return on your fee investment.

Second, familiarize yourself with the space and your booth setup. Make sure that your products are visible to people passing by and that your best sellers are front and center. Vinyl banners are great for advertising your brand because they're highly mobile, very durable, and will last throughout the show season. Make sure you have enough “stock” items to replace the items you have for display; that way if you go through a particularly busy time during the fair and your inventory is bought (which is fantastic!), then you’ll still have more products to put out for those cruising by your booth later.

Third, be attentive throughout the show. It can really put off a potential buyer if you are sitting at your booth texting on your phone or looking uninterested. You are there to promote your crafts. Keep in mind that even if someone doesn’t purchase an item from you that day, they may still take your business card and follow-up on a later date or at a later show. Don’t be afraid to chat up attendees passing by.

Fourth, about the business cards, make sure they are updated and that you have plenty of them to hand out. If you have a website or Etsy shop, make sure that information is included and let people know of any upcoming fairs you’ll be at in the near future. Be informative but not pushy, promotional without being too salesy. Let people browse your booth and give them a chance to ask questions.

Fifth, plan in advance. Sketch out how you want to set up your booth, how much inventory you need to bring, and make sure your portable payment machine is working well and you have enough cash to make change. The last thing you want is to be scrambling when your table is full of customers waiting to buy, but you’re not prepared.

The last tip I have is to simply have fun. If you look like you enjoy what you’re doing, then others will be more likely to come by your booth and be interested in your brand. Engage with customers without first thinking of only making a sale. This will help you grow a fanbase and hopefully, make your crafts a must have at the next fair.

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