Today I thought I'd share with you some tips about Craft Shows that I've learned over the years.
I'm in no way a "know it all" when it comes to this topic, however I do several Craft Shows/Bazaars every year, and thought I could pass along any advice to those just starting out :)
In no particular order:
Always make sure you bring enough "change" with you. $1, $5, and $10 bills are a hot commodity. There is nothing worse than not being able to complete a sale because you don't have the change to give them.
If you can, have someone come with you to the Craft Show. Having someone help you set up/take down, give you a potty break, and to support you helps a lot. I've been very fortunate that my Mother comes with me to my shows. She talks my products up to customers, helps me set up, and if I need more attention to my booth she'll act like a customer lol...hey it works!
Ask if you can get a discount if you provide your own table. Some will offer this discount right off the bat, but others won't. It never hurts to ask. My last show had a $40 fee, but I received a $10 discount for providing my own table. Every little bit helps!
Greet your customers with a warm welcome and a smile every time. Yes, it gets exhausting, but let's face it, you are there to make money. Be open to answering any questions. Sitting in a chair, ignoring your customers when they are looking at your product is a big NO NO...if you look uninterested, then it's a big turn off for the consumer.
So you spend 10 minutes answering questions and talking with a customer, and then they walk away with out buying anything...don't pull your hair out! It will happen...every....single....time.
However, if you are kind and thank them for stopping by, there is a very large chance they will stop back by.
Some people like to walk around the whole show/bazaar and look at everything first, then go back around and purchase items.
Always have your prices available to see...people will hesitate to buy something if there isn't a price on it, and some are too shy to ask.
If you don't want to put a price tag on the item...display a large price sheet at your booth for your customers to see. This is the method I choose to go with.
Don't forget to hand out your business card! Give one to anyone who will take it. From the folks that just stop by, to the people who purchase an item.
Make sure your contact info is on there, so that your customers can contact you for future sales and or questions.
Have little shopping bags to give people. For me, I have a lot of smaller items, so it's hard for people to hold it all. I always provide a shopping bag to put purchased items in.
If you have large items, this may not be necessary.
Display a banner with your business info on it. This is my banner for when I sell my Duct Tape Items. I think it makes my booth look more professional and put together.
Pay attention to your show...what I mean by that is.... If your show is at a school, make items in that schools colors or with their mascot. If it's a sports event, make sports themed items too. Just a few items that go with the theme of where your show is located can make a huge difference. People love familiarity.
Don't be opposed to offering discounts. Such as a BOGO (buy one get one half off), or buy two get this smaller item for free.
People appreciate discounts..ok MOST people do. If someone asks me for a discount, I will most likely go for it depending on the item and how much of a discount they are asking for. I want to sell my items. Maybe it's only a $1off, no biggie for me, but it means a lot to them, and I made a sale.
If a customer buys a lot of one particular item, I will throw in a free one for them. It gets people to come back, and it shows you appreciate their business.
Do this or don't do this, and never feel obligated to give a discount, if you don't want to then don't, that's the best part of being your own boss. :)
Often times I will have merchandise that isn't moving as fast as I'd like. This goes into my sale bucket. I like to have some items at discounted prices. Everyone likes to save money.
Make friends with the vendors around you. Swap business cards! That way you guys can let each other know when a good show is coming up, or possibly bounce ideas off each other.
Keep your booth clean and organized! After a big swarm of people stop by and rummage thru your items, straighten everything up so it looks nice and professional for your next customers.
I must do this a hundred times during a show...then again I'm a bit OCD..but either way, it just looks nicer when everything is in it's place :)
This is THE most frustrating part for me...try not to strangle the kids that are left unattended by their parents and come mess up your booth. Kids like to touch...A LOT...and sometimes that's fine. However, if a child has Cotton Candy all over his hands and he man handles your handmade merchandise...I can tell you from experience it's beyond frustrating. As a mother, I would never allow my kids to do this, but we all parent differently. We are working with the public here. Don't be afraid to ask them nicely to not touch...or go find their parent. GRRRR...
Have fun! Be proud of your work, stand by it, take in all the compliments people throw your way and enjoy selling your handmade crafts!!
I hope these tips help you in some way....I could go on and on. Each new show I do, I learn something new, and I love that!