5 Tips For a Successful Craft Show

It is Spring and craft show season is among us. Spring and Fall are my busiest times of the year for craft and vintage shows. When I first got started in this industry I did every show I could get into. I thought why not. Then after leaving a show where we had 30+ vendors and only about 15 people showed up to shop I decided I needed to learn a better way to do this. So now almost all of my shows are successful shows. I say almost because sometimes even after doing all of the steps below it can still turn out to be a flop. BUT…. by following these steps it will greatly decrease your chances of a bad show. So get a notebook and read along to learn a few tips!

  1. Know Your Show

    Always do a little background work on a show before you apply. Join local facebook groups where local crafters review past shows. Although keep in mind that a good show for one person might be a bad show for another so take what you need from the review (was it properly advertised, did it have a good turnout, was the weather bad). If this is the first time this show is being held, find out how it is being advertised; is it a juried show meaning do they only allow a certain number of similar vendors in each category and what is the expected turn-out. One last tip… shows will usually start taking applications 4-6 months in advance. So if you are planning to do a fall show start researching them in the spring or summer!

  2. Dress the Part

    I know working your booth all day is exhausting and can include very early mornings. I am not suggesting that you wear your highest heels or put on your Sunday best but at least be presentable. Sometimes I will take my make-up and a change of clothes with me and change after I am set up. And for outdoor shows always take an extra pair of shoes! The ground is usually wet first thing in the morning and no one wants to stand around in wet shoes all day.

  3. Talk!

    Don’t just stand around all day waiting for someone to buy your stuff. Talk to every person that walks by. I see so many vendors at shows put a chair behind their table and sit in the back of the booth all day. Then at the end they are complaining about not selling much. Just a simple hello or good morning can be just what a customer needs to come on in. My partner in craft always tells people who are looking from afar that our stuff is cuter up close. That usually always makes people smile and come into our booth!

  4. Have a great display

    It is no secret that we all shop with our eyes. Because of this you need to put a little work into your display. There are so many great display ideas that you can do for free or very affordably that will make a huge impact. If you sell jewelry go outside and get a branch to hang your jewelry from. That gives your display height and texture. Use inexpensive crates to add different levels to your table. Just do a pinterest search for your specific craft and get tons of great ideas!

  5. Be prepared

    Whether your show is inside or outside you need to prepare in advance. Find out how far away from your space you will need to carry your merchandise and set-up. Be sure to take a wagon or cart to make loading and unloading faster and easier. This is my favorite wagon because my folding table will fit in it. If your show is outside make sure you have a good tent with walls and that your display can withstand some wind. Clamps are great to have on hand and always have some sort of string. My personal favorite item to have are zip ties. You can secure almost anything with zip ties and something heavy!  It is no fun when your display blows over and breaks valuable products. A little bit of prep work on the front end will save you tons of headache and money in the end.

Even when you follow all of the right steps sometimes a show just does not work out for you. Maybe it is just not the crowd for your product. But don’t get discouraged, keep trying until you find your niche. There are so many dynamics that go into a successful show and it can take a few times to get them all aligned perfectly! Best of luck!

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