12 Craft Show Tips

craft show tips 1A little preparation can help you enjoy a beautiful day at a craft show while growing your business.  Who needs stress??  Plan ahead for success!

12 Craft Show Tips

1.  Stock Up!  Create lots of inventory with a little something for everyone.  People are there to shop, so give them lots to look at!  Please don’t show up with a small amount or one of each item and plan to take custom orders.  The craft show vendors with lots of inventory get the customers.

2.  Awesome Tags!  Make an impact with well designed tags for all your items including the price and your contact information.  Many items are purchased for gifts and you’ll want everyone to know how to order more.

3.  Make sure you have a wide price range of items available.  If you make custom bags someone might buy a wallet to try today and decide to contact you in a month for a custom bag order.  Offering items from key chains to a travel duffel bag will help bring in those sales.


{Portobello West}

4.  Business cards are a must!  Shoppers might not be able to purchase from you right now, but you need to make it easy for them to order later.  They could share your card with a friend that runs a little boutique…you never know how far that little card could go!

5.  If you enjoy custom orders make sure you have photos of past custom orders, color selections and more for them to choose from during the show. Make it easy for them to place their order.

6.  Give them something!  A little sample or coupon can work wonders breaking the ice with shoppers.  I know you work hard for your money and sometimes it’s hard to part with samples without a  guaranteed return…but try it!

7.  Design your booth ahead of time to make sure it will display all your items and it’s not too heavy or hard to set up.  Don’t forget a nice sign or banner with your logo.  Just setting up a card table won’t attract buyers.

6a00d8341c71c353ef014e8851cd63970d-500wi{Beautiful display by Elsie Blaha}

8.  Add a splash of color and vary your height in your display.  This will get their attention and make it easy for them see all your items.  Pretty displays will make them stop and take notice…trust me!

9.  Have a sign up sheet for your mailing list.  A list of potential customers during the holidays could be priceless!

10.  Don’t sit way in the back.  Get out there and introduce yourself.  They want to know you!  Share your ideas behind your work or hidden features that make your handmade items awesome!

11.  Wrap up purchases in pretty paper or bags with business cards.  Buying handmade is better…make them feel special.

12.  Have fun with it!  You get to talk about your beautiful handmade items all day and meet loads of nice people!

There’s always more to learn, but these tips should help you get started.

I’ll have another post on craft shows next week, so don’t miss it!

Please share your craft show tips in the comments…I know you have some!



  1. says

    These are great tips. I have limited show experience, but I can attest that these are all great ideas. i was happy we worked on our display ahead of time. We took a photo so we would remember how to set it up. Sometimes conditions are cramped and hard to get out with the people. We took a corner spot for an extra $5 and it was easy for us to get in and out, access customers – and we had a little extra space to display because we brought a vertical stand that we placed on the side.

  2. says

    Great tips!
    My craft show display is always evolving.
    Setting up and figuring out your display is critical. Also different shows have different spaces, from a 10 x 10 foot space to an 8 foot table.
    Flexibility is also critical, try different set ups and take pictures!
    Give your self plenty of time to work it out – it will worth it when your display is a standout from all rest.

    • says

      Renee – Great idea about taking photos! I’m sure there are times when you will need to be flexible, so being prepared with options would be so helpful!

  3. says

    I know this would seem like common sense but I will just say it…. for the love of god put your phone away unless its out to swipe a credit card! I do a fair amount of shows and there are so many vendors who do this and the vibe they give is…. Im bored, or I am too busy to interact with you before I take your cash! And then its those same vendors that are complaining about the show at the end of the day!

    • says

      Stefanie – I couldn’t agree with you more about people using their phones. If you’re paying to be there and sell, then you need to really BE there and talk to everyone. :)

  4. says

    Here are a few of my favorite tips that I’ve learned through trial and error through over a decade of blowing glass for the public:

    1. Be nice to the kids…everyone is a potential customer, and if you show a child a meaningful artistic experience, they’ll run back to drag their parents back to your display. On a more metaphysical level, one positive interaction with an artist can change a child’s life, and that’s a big part of what we’re here for!

    2. Think it busy. Vendors who go to a show thinking (and vocalizing) about a potential slow turnout will get just that. Part of that reason might be attributed to my third tip:

    3. Don’t forget to smile! It’s the number one rule taught to bartenders, but it should be a Top Ten for new and seasoned vendors alike. An approachable artist is a successful artist…good luck and looking forward to reading everone else’s great tips! 😀

  5. says

    These are great tips! I’m preparing for a show on the 10th and these are all great reminders :)

    I agree that having at least 1 low price point is good! Even if you’re not making much on that piece, they have your card, they have your merchandise and it just might be a conversation starter to reach out to another perspective customer!

  6. says

    1. Believe the show is awesome – NO MATTER WHAT. Some of my most amazing shows have seemed slow – only to blossom weeks later with an offer or an order I never would have garnered otherwise.
    2. Pack wonderful tasty snacks to get you hydrated and fed – body and soul – throughout the day. Treat yourself, make it high quality everything. Include soul food. Soul Food = chocolate et al – stuff you love. In moderation.
    3. Don’t complain. Not no way. Not no how. Not during the event. That vibe is sticky and will cling to all your good intentions in your work. If you have suggestions for improvements – thoughtfully provide those to the appropriate audience after the show.
    4. A slow show does not mean your work isn’t worthy. Never forget that.
    5. An awesome show doesn’t mean you’re an awesome artist either!
    6. What defines you as an artist is YOU. Not your sales. I have had amazingly profitable shows, and crazily horrible shows. The work is the work. These externals might distract you from your Vision. Stay mindful of that.
    7. That said – note trends in your sales and adjust what you sell accordingly! That’s not prostituting your Vision – that’s sharing it in ways The Public is ready to accept at the moment.
    8. Never forget that you are creatively educating people in all of this amazing effort of yours.
    9. Give yourself a present after every show. You deserve it. It doesn’t have to be extravagant but it should be a pat on your own back for a job well done.
    10. Go YOU!

    • Vali says

      Marti ~ Thanks so much for the soul-full reminders! Staying positive and sharing aloha is what it’s all about. I’ll keep all this in mind during my next fair. Cheers :-)

    • Bun says

      I’ve got to say, I’ve been to a few events where they give away vendor door prizes at the end. Getting that little something always makes me feel like a happy kid after a show, no matter how it turned out until then…. So #9 is a must for me :)

      • Avryl says

        Absolutely priceless! Giveaways are always well received and it’s a great way to have your product out there for more to see. Great tip!

  7. says

    This came at a great time, as I am preparing for a show in April. I love everyone’s tips. My only tip is this:

    Never forget that you can find interesting and really cool ways to display your crafts at thrift stores. It takes a bit of an eye, but with some practice there are lots of inexpensive items that may just need a coat of paint to make a really neat display.

    • says

      This is such a great point about the thrift stores. I have a show on March 17 and on in May. My friend and I went to some thrift stores and I found an AWESOME antique baby scale to use for my display. I absolutely love it and cannot wait to use it. I thought it was really cool because I make soaps and I use a scale every time I make my soaps.

      I would suggest looking for something that is unique but also useful. Maybe something that is a little bit of a conversation piece and will attract customers and have them asking questions.

      Great suggestions

  8. says

    hello everyone,
    Very interresting info and great tips to improve a craft show , also it will be nice if you add the name and place you do your craft show .
    I do craft show with all my familly , my son and husband do the table and the diplay and me I do the display of the jewelry . I also do jewelry on the site and sometime I do sales them right a way.

  9. Fran DeWitte says

    Don’t forget that if you do outdoor shows as well that you may have to do two set-up plans. Being prepared for weather variances is really important. I go prepared for all four seasons no matter what time of year it is….displays, clothing for me, etc. The photo tips are right on!! My favorite way to plan my next show.

  10. says

    Great tips! I wish I would’ve seen them before a big show I did last weekend. We did pretty well though!
    The packaging tip actually helped us get traffic. We got little gift bags that tied into our “look”. I had a few people come back to my booth because they were looking for where the cute bags were coming from!

    • says

      Awesome…it’s great to hear what works! I would be one of those people looking for where the cute bag came from…lol! :) Great packaging really get to me and makes me want to buy something!

  11. Stefanie b says

    I was so excited to see this article! I have my first arts festival this summer, and I need all the advice I can get. I am really nervous about the displays! I crochet any and everything! Much of what I make cannot be put on hangers, so do I just buy a ton of foam heads and bust forms to use as displays? I would also like to hear some ideas on loading and unloading your booth.

  12. vicki n says

    I always wrap each of my wooden ornaments and the customers love it. We treat everyone equal even if they are bad mouthing my work. Some of those bad-mouthers usually end up buying and leaving with a smile. If I get someone in who says they have bought from me before I will offer them a freebie.

    I’m a big one for the smile part-last year I was doing a mega show and came down very ill ( think neatly passing out each time I stood up!!) I know I probably should have packed up and gone home but I’m a die hard and all thru the show I managed to smile and interact with my customers. I actually did better that day( in sales) than I had the first day!! Maybe they felt sorry for me . I’m just saying that to say this-please always be happy no matter how poorly things are. Even if sales don’t come up at least your day will be brighter.

    OOh and one last thing TALK to your customers as if they were your best friends. You may never know whose day you just made ( or saved).
    I know this is long so please feel free to edit anything you want–thanks for the great tips and even though I’ve been in this business awhile I can still learn and love re doing things

  13. says

    Hello Kim,
    Thanks for sharing all of these great tips for a successful craft show. I take part in many craft shows each year. I love meeting new people and sharing my handmade items, it is so Fun. I believe that a good attitude is number one and dressing for success. :)
    Smiles, Paula

  14. says

    Just getting back into crafting after 30 years. I really appreciate the ideas and thoughts on being prepared. During those 30 years I honed selling because I was in retail. It was a nice reminder to dress for success, smile, talk to everyone, have business cards, stay off the phone (unless you are using “Square” to process a payment), have a clean well organized display.

    I want to add that I plan on pricing everything in one manner or another. Also hope to label as much as possible (brand my creations), and if I can find affordable plastic packaging, I want to put everything possible in packaging to keep it clean.

    I also plan on adding rope lighting when possible & helium filled Mylar balloons to call attention to my booth and last but not least, I hope to have a basket handy where I can give every child a little something that is age appropriate. Scraps will have a purpose somehow!

    I love that suitcase idea a lot! That could work just in the back of my SUV when out and about. Pop up store! :) It would be a fast set up for a craft fair for sure! LOVE IT!

  15. says

    I always dress the part too! If you are wearing your items or clothing that represents your artisitic style that is a draw. Also, I have met people at shows who have become long term friends!

  16. says

    My husband is a scavenger, He checks out stores trash and often comes home with great displays. They usually need to be repaired or modified. My latest display is a tall revolving display originally used to display eye glasses.
    If you ask most stores are happy to have you take them.

  17. Pat says

    I don’t know what is wrong with my booths, but I never sell anything, and I have been to several craft shows. My family and friends say I have quality merchandise. So should I give up?

    • says

      NEVER GIVE UP…we have all had our bad days. I think I did 6 shows before I sold anything. Think of every show as a learning experience…how can you improve…smiling no matter what is great advice.

  18. Samy Jo says

    Thank you all for these great tips. I am doing my first craft fair in May. I have a lot of nervous excitement!!

  19. says

    Eye contact and flashing your best (and NOT FAKE!) smile is really important! So is thanking everyone for coming out – especially if the weather was any kind of yucky!

    I like to display my embroidered towels on one of those wooden drying racks. It stands up on the table and is right at eye level!

  20. Lynne says

    I engage customers by sometimes commenting on and complimenting their appearance. They might be wearing a cool scarf, or lots of bracelets. I feel this approach is sincere since buying scarves and selling bracelets are some of my interests.

    At other times I find it difficult to find the balance between acknowledging the customer, and letting her shop in peace. I had a woman who expressed her frustration with so many vendors saying “Hello” to her that after visiting 100 plus booths, she’d be happy to be left alone. I laughed and let her shop. She ended up giving me my best sale all day.

  21. says

    dar – Go on Etsy. That’s whwre I found mine and the lady shipped them quickly and I got them the same week. Just search merchandise bags! HTH

  22. says

    Wow, what a great resource to stumble across. I am doing my first show and hadn’t thought about half of this stuff. I feel much more prepared now. Thanks for all the comments!

  23. Connie says

    If you’re new & doing outdoor shows–do NOT bring your folding ‘ball game’ type chair (the sling kind that fold really small)— if you’re able to take that well-deserved break-& a customer comes in–they feel like they are intruding as its not easy to get UP out of those things!! A counter-height stool where you can effortless move from sitting to helping is best.

    Also, I look at other peoples booths that I LIKE–or hear other people talk about–and I look at it with a critical eye– meaning– WHY does it draw me in? WHY do I like it? And I’ve found that varying heights, unusual materials (one fantastic jewelry couple uses hand-made jewelry busts from old barn wood with leather in the middle– a perfect complement to their goodies)… sometimes its the fact their table coverings are uniform– other times– its that the table coverings ae all DIFFERENT– but with a unifying theme. THAT is the look I’m going for when I revamp my booth this coming winter (too late for the fall and its just the end of July haha) I do a lot of recycling crafts– NOT what I started out doing at all–but my booth has a theme which draws people in too. Now that Pinterest is around– I hear a lot of “I saw that on Pinterest”– to which I often say– yep–isn’t pinterest great– i’ve been making that for 4 years now” haha

    Also— start to memorize how you’re going to reply when people ask “How do you make _____”. some things, I do not mind– other things— particularly if its something I”ve designed and not my take on another persons idea–you don’t always wish to share. SOME people will push you– they want to know WHERE you buy your supplies, etc etc. (I know some vendors that this incenses—-yet, we’re always going to hear, pretty much “I can go home and make that”!)— so sometimes, I just say I get my supplies online, or I have a supplier— WHILE– my husband– whose product is much more involved and requires much more skill than mine– HE has finally learned to say “Its a proprieatal (misspelled) process”—if they KNOW what proprietal means- they don’t ask further. If they DON”T know what it means– they usually do’nt ask either, b/c they don’t want to appear like they don’t know what it means haha There ARE people who want to know from everyone else how to make everuthing else–so THEY can do the same. Especially if they think you’re doing well… they might as well too. We even had one young man to go as far as to ask me where and how he could order boxes like ours, b/c he planned on setting up at the same show next year and liked how we ‘did’ things LOL

    At outdoor shows, don’t forget tarps, as EZUps are not water proof (unless you pay an ungodly price for one- the every day kind are water resistant– HUGE difference– don’t ask me how I know this lol)

    I’ve found- at SOME shows– not all– that people want to talk down on price. Let me remind you that,unless you’re selling food– what you have is NOT going to ruin!! If I’m tired of looking at something, o don’t plan on making it again, I may discount it– but on other things– why give away my inventory? I”ll just have to make new before the next show. SOOOOO many newbies fear no sales–so they practically give their stuff away. THAT hurts ALL vendors!! If so and so sells their crocheted booties that took two hours to make for $2, why does so and so sell hers for $10? Pricing is a HUGE problem for many– including me. DO NOT gauge your prices on sale prices…. thats So tempting– but why not? Well– consider this: You are at a show–and you’ve priced your pendants at $7 b/c you buy the parts, normally $4, for 2. (this doesn’t include your creative ‘parts’!)– Someone loves what you do and orders 20– BUT– the parts aren’t on sale anymore. Now, you’re working for little of nothing. While volume is great– its not always fun or easy when you work for yourself!

    Another thing that has cut down on people asking “Why are you charging me tax?” (because we have to PAY it at the end of the show??? haha)— is– of all things– a CASH REGISTER!!!! Guess it looks more official.

    DO NOT USE the Vistaprint FREE business cards!!! Everybody and their brother, who is a plumber, has the same card. You want to stand OUT among allthe other crafters! Vistaprint DOES charge more for custom orders–but they’re still less expensive over all. I can’t tell you how many customers who have told my husband “Oh, I knew I had bought from you and not the other guy, b/c I recognized your logo when I saw it”.

    i could go on and on, but I shall stop!!!

    • says

      I found your insight quite valuable! They are all things that had been spinning in my head, undecided on what to do about them. My daughter says my business cards are too busy, but I know that they stand out. They look very much like my banner with the verbiage printed, in white or pale blue, over the less busy parts of the pic.
      It took a lot of bead inventory, & time, to be able to come up with the combinations for my necklaces, even if they did come from Michael’s or AC Moore.(only get them on a good sale.

    • Paula says

      Buy the waterproofing spray and on a nice day, pop up your EZ up and spray the top. Let it dry. Best decision we ever made.

  24. Connie says

    You can get regular plastic bags– the “Thank You” kind– at Office Depot. I save ONLY my ‘generic” bags to re-use at a show– I do not use walgreens or krogers bags—but since I DO upcycle–I don’t mind re-using normal bags. I even have friends to save their bags that don’t promote other stores.

    Nashville Wraps has pretty bags that are much nicer–and I do use those as well for my husbands items– they’re more high-end. Im too cheap–I have trouble knowing I put a $2 item ina 75 cent bag hahaha I know i shouldn’t be– but I am. Plus my customers, on the whole, are different from my husbands- which is why he does more art shows, and I do craft shows. So we have differ a little in how we pack up our sales. This would be a personal preference I think. Most grocery and dollar stores sell plain Kraft paper bags– which are easily personalized with rubber stamps or even run through your printer (we are experimenting with that now!)

    If you’re wanting cellophane wrappers for your merchandise, try Uline or –i’m forgetting who they are– but its a big shop on eBay.

  25. Cheryl says

    I make my bags from “high” end material. I found a place that sells me their discontinued fabric samples. People love them!!!. I paint glass and wood so it is hard to display, but I bought 2 corner folding units, went to Lowes bought wooden shelves, cut them to fit, and painted, added tons of space to my booth with added height. I drilled thought my tables, and added eye bolts to attach the units too for safety. LOVE doing craft shows and meeting people.

  26. says

    This is great info! Thank you so much for sharing it! Thank you to those who commented for sharing your wisdom too. I’ll be entering my first craft show in about a month and could definitely use the advice! :)

  27. says

    Having been doing shows for about 4 months now.
    A few thing I have learned.
    1.) Dress the part. We are Country Rich Creations! We dress in blues jeans and flannel shirts. (We used to dress to the nines, but a few of our buyers, told us we looked out of place at are own stand) Now we dress comfortable and it fits.
    2.) Square! Get it, you are only charged if you use it. I sales improved when people were able to use their cards.
    3.) When displaying. Put your eye catcher in the front. We always make sure our cookies and milk, sundae and banana split are out front. It draws buyers in every time.

  28. says

    These are some awesome tips! I used to be a seasoned craft show vendor with my handmade Barbie clothes. Then web sales took off really well and I had to stop shows in 2005. Now in 2012 where my Barbie clothes and my clothes for American Girl size dolls are not selling well online, I felt the need to take on a show this fall, actually next month in December. I plan on getting my Bruce Baker CDs back out because I always felt that he was very motivational in what he advised. I may add more shows next year depending on how my web sales improve or don’t improve.

    I’ll be bookmarking this site and referring back. I’m going to be checking out some possible doll clothes displays online. I have an idea of what I want to do plus an online friend sent me a picture of her display. Tweaking is always good!

    I loved the comment about staying off the phone. In 2005 there were no smart phones so yes I can say that would be as annoying or even more annoying than seeing a vendor sitting back reading a book. After I got Bruce Baker’s CDs, I never sat down at a craft show. I always stayed standing and tried to engage the customers in any kind of conversation that would keep them at my table but still not annoy them or detain them.

    I know one thing Bruce says that comes very hard for people is “don’t say thank you, that closes any possibility of a sale.” To explain, he says if you receive a compliment, of course your reaction is to say “Thank you!” But saying that may cause the person to walk on. If you say, “I’m so glad you like my work. All my items are handmade by me and I would love to show you something IF you would like to see it.” He also suggests not saying “you need to” or “you should”–replace it with “if you need some assistance” or wording similar to that.

    I won’t tell all his tips here, it would take too long and I’m sure he still sells his CDs. Good luck to all fellow crafters who might be doing shows this fall! I’m signing up for emails from this blog so I can keep in touch!

  29. says

    Thanks for the great tips. I’ve been selling online for a couple years now, and decided to do my first show a few weeks ago. I learned a lot from the experience and also in talking to other “seasoned” crafters at the show. They were a wealth of information & so very helpful! I must say, almost everyone who purchased one of my items used a credit card. I was very happy that I was set up to accept them because I think I would have lost out on a lot of business.

  30. says

    Congrats Deb! I have sold online so long that I thought the sales wouldn’t ever decline so much I’d need shows again. But I’m actually anxious to get back to them, not lots of them like before but 2 or 3 a fall maybe, if my web sales don’t pick back up.

    In my previous show days, I was signed up to take credit cards due to people asking me if I did, but how cool and different it is now! There were no smart phones or Square or PayPal Here swipers–I can’t wait to try my PayPal Here! My friend and I would have to call in each credit card sale at the point of sale. We hoped and prayed that for each show there would be cell service in the area, lol. Before that, (I can’t believe I did this but no different than a check I guess) we used a credit card service but only took an imprint of the card, then entered them all online after the show. Never had a bad card luckily. I’m such a tech geek that I love the idea of being able to do the card swipes right then and there with my iPhone and not having it cost an arm and a leg. :)

  31. Lianne says

    I did my first craft show a few weeks ago. I sold out of almost everything! I could not believe it.
    I was even approached by 2 women that own boutiques. They are interested in my goods! Wow! I’m not really interested in taking orders but will be visiting them with what I have & they can purchase if they choose.
    I’ve only been sewing on the machine for 7 months & am addicted! Not only must you have product but interacting was the key to my success. At least I think so. I had the best time & met the nicest people!

  32. Carol Godin says

    I have been doing large craft shows for over forty years now. A couple more tips that might be helpful are Make sure your tablecloths go to the floor. When you are close to your booth, you think it looks fine, but from a distance, all people can see are boxes, and legs! NEVER use a cashbox – keep your paper money on you in a small money purse, or apron, if you are not using a cash register. NEVER read! Make sure everything is either priced individually, or have price signs, that are easy to see. As others have mentioned, smile, smile, smile!

  33. says

    I’m preparing for my first-ever show. Any tips on how to plan inventory? I do appliqued and personalized tees and onesies. I’m also going to do a few vinyl embellished plastic storage type items (Lego storage, pencil boxes, lunch containers, etc.) and maybe some simple reversible headbands (low price point, easy to make from scraps of fabric). The show will be in November and I’ll take custom orders but am wondering how to decide how many styles and size runs, etc.. (how many of each style/pattern and how many in each size)?

    It’s a 1 day show (9-4) with about 1,000 people attending.

    Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you.

  34. Jeannie says

    I make stuffed animals and quilted useable art – table runners, bags, pincushions, growth charts, and much more. I started doing craft shows about 4 years ago, and I’ve learned a few things that so far have served me well – my sales increase significantly every show.

    1. If you are brave and can make enough inventory, do a large fair to see how you do. Large fairs get more people that smaller ones, but aren’t as intimate – if you sell more items when you can take more time one on one with customers, stick to smaller shows. If your stuff seems to almost sell itself, try a large show.

    2. Bags. I use plain white gift bags with colored tissue from Michaels. (I found a new source, but I need to order them and see if the quality is as good.) I factor in the cost of the bags into my pricing – each one is about $.50, so when I’m figuring out my costs I add in $0.25, since most of my clients buy two or more things when they visit my booth. I have people come back and find me just because I’m the only one using gift bags! I print pretty stickers with my logo and put them on each bag. It’s a little extra work, but it seems worth it in sales!

    3. Always set up your booth at home a week or two (or a month or two) before the show. Make some room in the garage / basement / pitch a tent / and test it out. Leave it set up for at least a week, fully stocked, and just come by and look at it now and again. Get a few friends to come look. I’ve set mine up, and then thrown a party for a dozen girlfriends with wine and cheese and snacks just to get honest feedback on what works and what doesn’t.

    4. Listen to other vendors who visit your booth. If you hear someone say “I like how they did xxx.” snap a picture of what you did, so you can remember it later. Make notes. Visit other booths, talk to other vendors. In my experience everyone who has a booth is in the same boat – how to make them more attractive to buyers – and is willing to help out. (I helped someone completely rebuild their display during a show I was shopping at, and they immediately started selling things – they hadn’t made a sale all day to that point.) Be willing to help others, too! It pays off!

    5. If you do a large show, and do well, do it again and again. After two or three years you’ll start finding that some people come looking just for you! Make a Facebook page for your business, and make sure you post what shows you are going to do!

    6. You will hear the following repeatedly. “I love your stuff!” “You’re so talented!” “Very clever!” “So pretty!” “My (insert relative here) would love that!” Then those same people will leave without buying anything. Do not get frustrated! Also, do not chase out the people who stand in your booth for thirty minutes without saying a word. (My biggest sale ever never said a word, spent thirty minutes carefully picking up and putting down every item in the booth, then pulled out her checkbook and just started stacking up things she liked – about $300 worth. I happily packed everything into as many bags as she wanted, and offered to help her to her car with her packages.)

    7. Always get a friend to help. Having two people in a booth seems cramped at first, but it achieves quite a few things: Bathroom breaks never leave your booth empty, for one. Less chances for shoplifters. More questions can be answered in a short period of time. I like taking my friend Becky, she handles the cash so that I can talk to people.

    8. Stories sell. People want to know the backgrounds on your ideas, they want to know where you found materials, they want to know what makes your stuff special. Larger stuffed elephants in my booth all have different names on their tags.

    9. Always dress well for the event. If it’s a Christmas show, break out the bright white or red or green sweater and nice jeans or slacks or even a skirt. Makeup / perfume / jewelry – dress to fit your booth. Dress so that your target clients feel comfortable talking to you.

    10. Be ready for anything. Pack the extra set of clothes for the outdoor show – if it rains, and you get wet, you’ll be cold when it stops if you can’t change. Bring the sidewalls for the tent even if the weather is supposed to be sunny – you might be glad of a bit of shade! Extra socks have lots of uses – I’ve used them as mittens in a pinch! Have a full toolkit handy in case of quick repairs – I bring a travel sewing box, a roll of duct tape (if my tent springs a leak, or I get a tear in my sign I’m ready), a small mallet (the ground might be too tough for my tent stakes!) Plan ahead, think of contingencies, and throw it in a box in the car just so it’s handy if you need it.

    11. If you have problems with people asking “Why do you charge me tax?” Try this pricing trick – figure out what you want to charge – say $30. If your tax is 4%, that’s $1.20. So price it $32.00. You still get your $30, and you don’t have to do the math on site, because you worked it into your pricing up front. The customer feels like they got a deal because you didn’t charge them tax on their slip. The state gets paid $1.28 on the $32, you get $30.72, paying yourself an extra $0.72 for the up front work to get your tags made. I live in a state that doesn’t have sales tax, so I don’t worry about this, but I have friends who have shared this tip with me.

    12. I hear a lot of arguing about discounts at shows that I do. “If they are willing to pay me cash, I can cut them a small break.” “I’m willing to earn a little less just to not have to cart it home!” “No, the price is the price – I won’t have to make another one if they don’t buy it – someone else will.” Personally, I feel that I’m in the middle on this. And it has bitten me a few times. The worst feeling in the world is when someone talks me down a few dollars because they don’t have enough cash, only to pull out their credit card when we reach a price. (I’ve had this happen twice, now.) Generally I figure that a sale is a sale, and cash is worth more than stored inventory to me. That said, I’m never willing to drop an item more than 10%, and even that is hard to get me to. Except in one instance. The little girl who so wanted an owl, so badly she was almost in tears, but was $2 short of 12, she got an owl for $10. (She was about 6, and told me how she had saved up the money herself because those owls were $10 last year, and she really wanted one so badly…I had raised the price from the year before.)

    The best advice I can give you is this: Remember to have fun. If it isn’t fun, you’ll get tired of doing shows really quickly. Play with new ideas, scour Pintrest, visit shows and ask if you can take pictures of displays you like (ask, please, I get so irritated when people just take pictures without asking).

    • Nancy says

      Thanks for the wonderful tips. I plan on doing my first craft show next year. Am making inventory etc. Your tips will really help me.

  35. says

    Thank you for these tips. I’m enjoying reading the comments too. I’m currently preparing for my first show and all of the points are extremely helpful. Dee

  36. says

    thank you for sharing all these great tips!! My first show is in a week and I just hope everything goes well. I’m also opening my first etsy shop next week! Ah nerves!! It really helps to read the advice you gave to help calm my nerves and stay organized and positive.

  37. Vicki says

    I’m just starting to do craft shows and next summer I want to do more. When I’m at a craft show as a buyer if the vendor doesn’t say hi or acknowledge me in some way I don’t even stop at her booth. My pet peeve is when they are on the phone, talking to their helper, reading a book or have head sets on listening to music, they are telling me they do not want my money. To me smiling, standing up and having a conversation with the customer is the best policy.

  38. says

    Doing my first very large show-so afraid I won’t have enough merchandise-it’s a 3 day show. I was told if you want to make $500.00 in sells-you need $1500.00 in merchandise.-my fingers are crossed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *