Post by aftcra Guest Blogger, Danielle Spurge of Merriweather Council. Sign up for The Merriweather Council’s newsletter here.
I love to go to craft shows because it is so fun to get out of the house and be amongst crafty friends and lovers of craft! Plus it’s fun to set up your booth and talk about your work all day. I realize some people are not into this at all, but I love it and encourage everyone to do it at least a few times!
To preface these tips there is the mother of all craft show logic: only shows that suit your work, price points and appeal to your target audience. Will your people be there? This is the number one consideration! No point in investing time, money and energy into a show that doesn’t attract the people who want to buy your stuff. No matter how much promotion you do for a show you’ll be at, the organizers are the ones who will primarily determine what kind of audience this show attracts so do your research!
Ahh craft show season!! Gotta love it. On top of the main factors in craft shows such as location and target audience, you want to consider a few more things that are specific to you and your product’s presentation at a show. Being mindful of display, attitude and personal behavior is essential when doing a show! Here are my personal craft show do’s and don’ts for making it through this craft show season.
3 Craft Show Do’s
1. Do Display Wisely!
You want to present your item as close to it’s “natural environment” as possible. This means that if you sell wall art, you want to display it hanging, on a “wall” in your craft show booth. Some folks are lucky – photographers and painters especially- in that people generally understand you hang these up or frame them. But if you sell an item that is a bit more cryptic, let’s say a ceramic tile, people might not “get it” if it’s just laying on the table. Give your work as much context as possible for the passerby.
2. Do Use Signage.
Signs are essential. For pricing or additional info, signs are great for giving people info they are too shy to ask about. If you have a product that is difficult to adhere a price tag to, a sign is an easy way to communicate that info. Likewise, you want your signage to promote your brand and give interest to your space, so consider hanging signs above your table or from the sides of your tent if possible – rather than only putting a sign across the front of a table, where it will be blocked as soon as someone comes to your table, which is what you want! A sign that explains you take credit cards will also go a long way.
3. Do greet customers.
Time to break out of your shell here, people! A simple hello and welcome is a nice way to let patrons know you are the person in charge of this space. A friend of mine who worked many years in retail passed this phase along to me: “let me know if i can answer any questions while you look around.” This immediately takes away the weirdness associated with “Let me know if you have any questions” / “no I’m just looking” exchange. You have already acknowledged that they are browsing, and offered a no pressure invite. Don’t harp on people, some folks find it annoying.
3 Craft Shows Don’ts
1. Don’t spend the whole day on your phone.
Or otherwise huddled in the back corner. Be present and available for questions, discussions and most importantly, transactions! You are the brand, so be the brand!
2. Don’t only accept cash.
If you have the ability to sell online, you have the ability to accept credit card in person at a show, assuming there is decent cell service at your event’s venue. Many people will not have cash on them, don’t make it harder for people to buy from you.
3. Don’t compare yourself to your neighbors.
Shows are hard in that, you are competing in real life with the person directly next to you! You will get mad, frustrated and confused if you spend the whole day wondering how everyone else is doing. Not to mention distracted. Focus on the customers in your booth, and making sure your display is enticing and presents your products as well as possible. Don’t spend your day hypothesizing with your neighbor on how things are going down the hall or in the front of the room. Just make the most of what you’re got going on!
Get more advice, maker tips and handmade shop management guidance from Danielle by opting-in to the Merriweather Council’s newsletter. Here you can gain access to a variety of e-courses, including a free optimization course which focuses on optimization of your social presence from your online shop to your Instagram profile.
Danielle is a crafter, blogger and crafty business consultant. She empowers creatives to share their work with confidence, optimize their handmade shops + leverage their creations. More info can be found at the merriweathercouncil blog.