10 Tips For a Successful Craft Show
Summer is craft show season, and having participated in my share of craft shows, I thought I would pass along my top ten tips for success. If you prefer to get this info in video format, you can watch the video version here.
1. Get organized!
Spend some time preparing for the show ahead of time. Don't wait til the night before! Some things to think about:
- How will you lay out your booth?
This is a big one. You might even want to set up your table at your house prior to the show so that you'll know exactly where everything goes on the day of the show.
- What inventory will you bring with you?
Try to bring a variety of price points and as much inventory as possible!
- How you will display your products?
PS. Check out my Craft Show Displays Pinterest Board for inspiration.
- What are your goals?
You will probably be a little nervous before the show (it can be hectic!), but the more prepared you are, the less stressed you will be.
2. Bring a card reader.
Many shoppers don't have cash. Some people just don't carry cash, and others might have just stopped by the show randomly because they were walking by. Using a card reader is so simple (don't be scared!) so not having one is just missing out on sales. If you have a Shopify store like me, you can use their POS app (they'll send the card reader in the mail), or you can also get a Square card reader. There may be others too but those are the ones that I am familiar with.
3. Bring more than you think you'll need (of everything!).
Think like a girl scout and be as prepared as possible (I was never a girl scout but I believe preparation is kind of their thing). Bring plenty of inventory, first aid, water...basically anything you can think of! You can't really just run home if you forgot something. PS. My Craft Show Planner contains a giant checklist for you - scroll to the end of the post for a discount code.
4. Collect emails.
A craft show is a great opportunity to collect emails for your newsletter. Be sure to have a signup form at your booth and encourage shoppers to sign up for exclusive discounts. You can learn more about why it's so important to have an email list here.
5. Think like a customer.
Take a step back when you're setting up your booth and see it from your customers' point of view. Make sure everything is easily accessible and laid out in an attractive, organized way. Make sure your prices are clearly labeled (some people will just walk away rather than having to ask you the price). Think about how things are laid out and displayed in your favorite stores, and use that as inspiration. In fact, think of your craft show booth as a little mini store altogether and you'll be more likely to take your display seriously.
6. Promote the show on your social media.
Make sure your customers know that you will be at this craft show! Yes, the show promoters will probably have their own social media accounts, but use this opportunity to see some of your customers in person. Create or join an Etsy Local event so that your local shoppers will know about it. Your most loyal customers have probably only seen your items online and would love to check them out in person.
7. Reflect your brand.
Online stores are limited in the amount of branding and emotional response that you can create. A craft show is a great opportunity to really bring your brand to life. Again, think of your booth as a miniature store and plan out your booth colors, materials, decorations, and displays accordingly. If your brand is super clean and modern, don't do a really DIY, rustic look just because it's a craft show and you think you should. Also, be sure to utilize signage and display your brand name front and center!
8. Make your products easy to touch.
Depending on what you're selling, set up testers and samples, or at least make sure that your products invite potential customers to touch them (don't make your displays seem fragile or like they're ready to topple over!). People like to feel and hold what they're buying, and if your items seem off limits, they'll be less likely to buy.
9. Bring a friend.
You will need another person with you - trust me. You're going to need to go to the bathroom, get food, etc. so having another person with you is a huge help. You don't want to have to get up and leave everything at your booth! Also, if your craft show is busy (hopefully it will be!) it's nice to have someone else helping take orders and keep things organized.
10. Be friendly, but not pushy.
Some people are really turned off by "salesy-ness" or even just talking to them too much. It's also a huge turnoff to see a seller sitting at their booth with a frown on their face. My advice: be friendly, smile, ask how they are or some other short greeting, and then give them their space.
Ready to start planning?
Printable Craft Show Planner
Check out my printable 5-page craft show planner, which contains:
- Checklist of everything you could potentially need for the show, including space for you to add your own specific needs.
- A booth planner, designed to scale so that you can cut out the shapes and plan out your booth space before the show.
- Sales tracker, with space to write in each product name, keep a tally of your sales throughout the show, and then add up your total revenue afterwards.
- Price list, for your reference throughout the show, so that you can quickly look up the price of an item as needed.
- Mailing list that you can print out and put on your table and collect emails for your list.