Yesterday, we had so much fun at the Patchwork Indie Arts and Craft Festival in Long Beach, CA. The Magic Onions had a booth and we worked like busy little bees from 8:30am until it got dark at 6pm. It was wonderfully successful too and I thank all of you who popped in to say ‘Hi’ and support our little family business :-)
I have put together 20 tips for those of you who will be having your own booths at craft fairs this year. For those of you who are Craft Fair shoppers, it’ll be really interesting to see what goes into making a lovely craft booth too.
Don’t miss the photos from our The Magic Onions craft booth at the end of the post.
1. It’s really important to plan well. Try to plan every last detail in advance… from what items you will have for sale, to how you will display them, to what you will charge for them to how you want your booth to look, etc.
2. What has worked for me is having a variety of price points with the majority of my goodies for sale being in the ‘under $10 and $20 range’. Craft Festival shoppers like to be able to take home a lot of super cute little treasures. Instead of packaging my Felted Toadstool Ornaments in packets of 5 like I do in my online shop, I sell them individually at craft shows, with their price clearly marked, $7, and a ‘5 for $30’ deal in clear sight too.
3. I take a lot of stock with me and hide the over-stock under the tables. When an item sells, I replace it with another from under the table. Having a well stocked booth looks great and allows the people who arrive in the afternoon to experience your beautiful booth in the same way those who arrived early did.
4. Keep in mind why you think the people have come to the craft fair and plan your wares accordingly. With the Holidays fast approaching, I figured most people would have Christmas on their minds and would be looking for sweet little Christmas gifts and ornaments.
5. Get a map of where your booth will be situated and talk to the organizers as it’s really important to know how the people will flow through the show. Which side of your booth will they see first? Which sides of your booth will back up to other vendors… when you know these details, you can plan the flow of your own booth.
6. Plan to put your most popular products in a spot that is clearly visible to those arriving at your booth. You want them to see the eye-catching things from far away so that they subconsciously mark your booth as one they want to stop at. My little owl ornaments are a show-stopper… I hang them on a tree branch on the outside of my booth, along with a few eye-catching red toadstool ornaments, so that they can be seen from far away. Everyone stops to admire them and touch them… the little owls make them smile, the little toadstools make them feel magical inside and, all of a sudden, they want to see more and step inside my enchanted space. It’s so rewarding to me to see the delight spread across faces as they discover the things I have worked so hard to make.
7. Remember to use the vertical space in your booth. I like to place a white sheet, vertically, to block off the sides of my booth that are open to another vendor… I want shoppers to look at my items and not be distracted by something they might see somewhere else. I use this white space to hang things from using a bare tree branch I have tied to the top of my canopy. I have seen other great ideas to use this white space too, like using stacking shelves, stacked boxes and even gorgeous old vintage suitcases to create levels for display.
8. Make sure you bring all the things you’ll need to make your booth really spectacular… string, safety pins, display bowls, baskets, hooks, ribbons, fabric, pens, cash… etc.
9. I like for my booth to have a theme. Yesterday, my theme was Christmas. I had little Christmas trees to hang my Christmas Ornaments from. I had white fabric on my tables, covered in a strip of Christmassy burlap. I had signs that said ‘Get your Christmas Ornaments now!’ and ‘Stocking Stuffers’ and so on. When people arrived at my booth, they immediately thought, ‘Oh yes, Christmas is coming up and I need to get some cute Christmas decorations!’.
10. Have your creations clearly priced. This can be quite tricky as a price sticker on everything can detract from the prettiness of your creations. Try to group your things of the same price together and have a pretty sign that follows your theme show the price of those items. Put a price sticker on the underside of the things that are placed on the table. Make sure to have the price tags ready in advance… it takes a lot of time to make the price look good and you don’t want to waste time doing this chore on the day.
11. I strongly suggest having a credit card reader for those shoppers who don’t have cash. About half of my sales come from credit cards. I use Paypal Here that has a little device I plug into my ipad or iphone. The device is free and all I pay is a small percentage of each sale to Paypal. I’ve heard Square.com has a similar device that works well too.
12. If you offer payment by credit cards, be sure to display a sign that advertisers this to perspective shoppers.
13. Arrive at the site early and begin setting up as soon and as quickly as you can… it takes a long time to get everything just the way you want it. Try to be totally ready by the time the show starts. My busiest times are the first few hours of the show and I want to engage with everyone who comes into my booth instead of frantically writing out price tags or setting up displays.
14. Have plenty of business cards available for people to take. They might go home and regret not getting that felted Christmas garland to hang above their fireplace. If they have your business card tucked into their purse, at least they can find you online.
15. Have pretty packaging that fits your booth theme to put purchased goodies in and pop in a card too. I know I have returned from a craft show with something and thought, ‘I know I bought this for So-and-so but I love it too much to give away!’ Consider clear plastic bags… others might see your cute felted fairy being carried in the clear bag by a customer on the other side of the fair and wonder where on earth such a cute item can be found.
16. Have a clipboard with a signup sheet ready for shoppers who LOVE your goodies to sign up for your newsletter or shop emails. The more you build a relationship with your customers, the better you will do.
17. Make sure you have a enough cash with you. $1, $5, $10 and $20 dollar bills. I find it easiest to wear my cash on my body in a comfy little bag that has compartments for easy access.
18. Have a calculator available for multiple purchases.
19. Hide all the unsightly things you have used, like boxes etc, to bring your goodies to the market under the table and make sure that your table cloth goes all the way to the ground so nobody can see them. When it comes time to pack up your stall, simply pull the boxes out and pack up.
20. And last, but not at all least, have fun! Smile, be happy, be proud of your goodies and have a great day :-)
Here are some photos from our booth yesterday.
A Good Man’s truck packed full of all the things we needed for our booth.
Kitty setting up our little Christmas trees with all of our cute little Christmas Ornaments.
Teddy amusing himself with his cars while we set up around him.
Our little Christmas Fairies were a favorite.
We used shelves and little trees and hanging branches to make the most of the vertical space in our booth to display our ornaments.
Little sleeping Cardinals and bluebirds in their nests hung from a gnarled old tree branch.
Of course, all of these sweet goodies can be found in our shop Fairyfolk so pop on over and have a browse.
Here are some of the other booths we loved.
A cool vertical hat display.
Beautiful cards and prints.
Some enchanting necklaces.
We loved this ‘vintage’ booth.
And this wonderfully bright garland.
How cute are these little guys!
What a fun day! We can’t wait for the next one.
If you have any Craft Fair tips I’ve missed, be sure to add them in the comment section below.
Happy Christmas Shopping :-)
Blessings and magic,
Thanks for the tips! Always something new to learn.
Great tips! Well done.
So glad you all had a great day. Your booth looked wondeful! I love the way you used the little trees.
These are great tips, thank you! My friend and I are planning to participate in a craft show in the spring around Easter time.
Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not
writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!
You are so generous with your experience and knowledge, even to competitors. It takes great confidence to share. I’m proud of the person you are.
Thanks for all your great tips! You had a beautiful booth! We’ve done craft shows for several years but are always looking for ways to improve. Just launched our etsy shop, so I’ll be searching your blog for tips on that too!
~ Beth Anne
Thank you so much for this post. I am a long time crafter who is finally motivated to do some shows and I don’t have a clue how to start. This post inspired me and helped calm my newbie jitters ;^)
Good luck Christine :-) I bet you’ll have a blast!
Great article. I like number 4. I think a lot of businesses struggle cause that don’t really understand their customer.
Thanks for all the information! I am just starting out. Sure appreciate it!
Great post! As the Etsy populous grows, this topic becomes more and more useful to all of us :)
Thanks, Cailin… glad it’s a help to a fellow Etsy artist :)
This is very helpful information. Thanks for being so generous with what you know.
My pleasure, Janice… good luck with your craft fair. Come back and let me know how it went <3
I like having some simple 4×6 framed lifestyle photos of my bracelets & quartz crystal crowns in my displays to help customers see how awesome they look when worn.
Also less can be more, so declutter your booth so customers can see your products easily. It can be a fine line between charming clutter and muddled clutter. My two cents!
Great tips! Thanks!
Great tips, Marilyn… thanks :)