Read How to Show & Sell Your Crafts by Kathryn Caputo.
Join Craft Show Performance Support on Facebook, and read all the posts, from the beginning. Take notes or screenshots as you do so.
Please note these ways to encourage shoppers to buy from you at Artisan Dreams and 30 Craft Market:
- Greet people approaching your spot AND passing by
- Sit facing shoppers, not your companion or another vendor
- Remain at your booth unless it is necessary to leave it
- Tell customers something about your creations without waiting for them to ask
- Don't use your phone while shoppers are closeby
- Be an assertive participant, not a passive observer of traffic
- Invite passersby to your booth
- Don't ignore shoppers at your booth
- Put aside whatever you're doing and pay attention to the shoppers at your booth
- Dress for success. What you're wearing should match what you're selling. Don't wear sun glasses. This goes for your assistant or companion as well. If the glasses are necessary, occasionally remove them to let your customer look at your eyes.
- Ensure your packaging is clean and unwrinkled.
- Sell items for men. Customers have looked for "guy stuff" at our shows.
- Prepare to bring fresh products to the show.
- Give all pertinent info (eg state how long the item will last, how to take care of it, etc.) orally and/or in writing, if warranted.
- A filled (not messy) table draws interest, even if you're selling only one product. If you don't have enough stock, put something in the big empty spots such as a sign-up sheet or raffle box, etc. Overcrowding is not good either, but it's much better than a table that looks rather empty and thus uninteresting. You should bring enough stock so that you don't run out, but if you think you might, bring something else to fill your table, such as catalogues, access to your website, brochures, order forms, photos of your products (you can place these in acrylic stands or standing photo frames), etc.
- Make sure your booth's signage is conspicuous.
- Elevate your items. You can use risers. These can be simply boxes, crates or books placed underneath your table cloth. Or, if the boxes/crates look nice, you can use them on top of your cloth. A flat tabletop display is the least appealing. People will often just pass by it. Place items at various heights if you can. You can also buy collapsible displays from this Canadian artisan. Adding great height to your display is good, but make sure that you are visible behind your products. It's difficult for customers to talk to you if they can only see the top of your head.
- Iron your table cloth.
- Show your items in context. If you sell cup cozies, for instance, feature a cup cozy in use (with an empty cup or a prop - see here and here). If you are unable to bring what you need to show your items in actual use, bring large colour photos of them in use and display the photos upright. Acrylic frames do nicely because they have no distracting elements.
- Products do not sell themselves at an artisan or craft show.
- Don't bring an assistant who is not going to smile. If she/he is going to look like a grump, uninterested, or unfriendly, that will hurt your sales.
- Have a method or statement in place to encourage customers to buy rather than only pick up your business card. For example, if they've picked up your card and are not going to buy anything, tell them about your on-site special that is only offered at the show.
- Find out about sales techniques.
- If you are not a salesperson or are not comfortable with selling, consider having someone else sell your goods while you just assist with packaging and questions your salesperson can't answer.
- Pay attention to your customers. Don't let your friends who are just visiting your booth stand in the way of shoppers who are trying to see your goods.
- Don't ignore the people who approach your booth
- Use high-impact words when referring to your products
- Respond to the customer when she says something -- even if it's not about your items.
- Ask the customer who she is shopping for, or ask other questions to find out what the problem is that she is trying to solve and build rapport upon that. For example, if she is trying to find a unique gift for her husband, point out which of your items would be suitable and, if possible, why.
- Suggest how your items can be used, if appropriate.
- Thank the customer for stopping by when she is leaving, whether she bought something or not. This helps to keep you in a positive mode, and she might thus feel free to return to your booth.
- Pitch to people who appear to be between the ages of 13 and 17. They have money too.
The show's organizers' main duty is to market the show as much as possible. It is yours to sell your products. Products will NOT sell themselves much, if at all. Everyone who comes to the show is interested in what's available to them. Our data collection tells us that shoppers are spending at our shows. They buy from the vendors who are interactive and friendly.
Success depends on you: Your type of interactivity, your display, your attire and grooming; your products. Most vendors mistakenly believe that less traffic automatically means less profit. However, some of our vendors have sold more in our slower shows than in our better-attended ones.
"I can sell a few hundred dollars with only 20 - 30 customers because I market myself for about two weeks before the show to customers in the area so they know to come and to come with $. I do it all using social media and word of mouth." ~ Kimberly Harvey-Chase
When traffic is low, some vendors become sad or grumpy and this negative attitude keeps potential customers from their booths. Sales are not usually dependent on the amount of traffic. Once you accept this, you'll seek the right sales approach and perform better.
Once you have finished setting up your display, you become a seller, not a crafter simply waiting for orders.
Make it easy for your customers to pay you
- If you have a laptop or a smartphone, you should be able to cheaply and easily accept credit cards via Square or Pay Pal. You can also accept debit cards via Payd.
- You can also use your laptop to accept Email Money Transfers (Interac via email)
- Be ready with enough small bills and coins to make change.
- Be prepared to take orders and offer delivery. Customers at our shows have wanted to order items and have them mailed to them. Some customers are from other towns who just happen to be visiting. It's also normal for people to run out of money by the time they reach your booth. Be prepared with order forms when this happens. Don't forget to take a non-refundable deposit, even if it's a nominal amount. When the customers can fully pay, try to be flexible in how you can deliver the item (by mail/by courier/in person/pick up). If there is a delivery charge, tell them upfront. If you're willing to accept layaway (partial payments until the product is fully paid for. You then promptly provide the item once it's fully paid for), post a sign at your booth stating that you accept layaway. Be clear on your terms.
Before the show:
Tell people you know that you'll be at the show. Use all methods available to let people know that there'll be an opportunity to buy from you (Facebook, email, workplace, placing a 30 Craft Market postcard in your neighbours' mailboxes, handing postcards/mini flyers to friends, etc.). Don't feel shy about offering a one-day special to people who buy from you at the show. You may be surprised to know that people who know you are more likely to buy from you at a show than at your home, even if you host a home shopping party (and, a shopping party is more expensive than a 30 Craft Market booth).
Look Before You Leap
- It is the responsibility of the event organizers to get the word out about the show. They can't compel shoppers to attend, but before you register or pay for a booth, feel free to ask them how they'll be marketing the event. Don't be afraid to ask for specifics. For example, if they say they'll be distributing flyers, ask how many and where.
- Find out who your target market is. "Everyone" is not your target market. "All ages" is not your target market. You're not asking yourself who can use your products. You're asking yourself who would buy your products; who would find your products particularly appealing. The more specific you can be, the better able you will be able to determine which craft shows and other events you should try to sell your items at, and, how you should present them.
- Are your items distinctive enough? Ask yourself: Why would anyone buy from you instead of a big box store? These days, your items having been handmade is not enough.
Don't be afraid to ask us for help.
Jurors need good photos to judge your work properly. It's worth the effort to take the time to ensure that your products look as close to how they look in person.
Exhibitor Tips & Tricks http://www.aturnofevents.net/exhibitor-tips.html
The 5 Elements of Seductive Craft Fair Booth Displays
Table display http://meylah.com/meylah/how-to-set-up-a-craft-booth-that-customers-cant-resist
Display ideas http://www.flickr.com/groups/715724@N24/ and
http://www.everythingetsy.com/2012/04/craft-show-tips-display-ideas/ and http://www.pinterest.com/lifethriftylane/craft-show-display-ideas/
Display ideas (maximization of space) http://www.flickr.com/photos/spazzywonder/6931740904/in/pool-715724@N24/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/35347107@N05/7112402193/in/pool-715724@N24