Mastering Your Debut: What You Need to Know Before Your First Craft Show

by | May 21, 2024 | Vendor Tips | 0 comments

Congratulations on securing a spot at your first craft show! As a creator of exceptional handmade products, this event holds the potential to catapult your business to new heights. Drawing from my years of experience participating in craft shows, I’ve compiled crucial lessons from my initial foray into the craft show scene. Here’s a guide to ensure you hit the ground running:

1) Start Prepping Now

Underestimating the time needed to build sufficient stock is a common oversight. Utilize the formulas in “Make More Money at Craft Fairs” to accurately calculate stock levels, saving you time and money. Strategic preparation minimizes last-minute stress, setting the stage for a smoother experience.

2) Everyone is a Little Nervous

Acknowledging that pre-show jitters are universal is key. Every vendor, whether a novice or seasoned participant, shares the hope that their hard work pays off. Understand that uncertainty lingers until those initial sales are made. Embrace the ebb and flow of each event, and remember, you’re not alone in those pre-sale nerves.

3) Set Up Takes Longer Than You Think

Efficient setup is a game-changer. Allocate sufficient time to unload, arrange your display, and have everything ready before opening. Organizing behind-the-table supplies beforehand earns you bonus points, ensuring a seamless shopping experience for customers.

4) You’re Offering Too Much

Resist the temptation to showcase everything you can create. Opt for 3-5 distinct groupings on an 8-foot table, allowing your products to shine without overwhelming customers. Crafting a focused and cohesive display enhances your brand’s identity, making it memorable for shoppers.

5) You DO Need to Sell

While the idea of “selling” might feel uncomfortable initially, it’s a necessary skill. Identify the unique selling points of each product, and develop a couple of lines to engage shoppers. Practice refines your selling techniques, making both you and your customers more at ease.

6) Your Display Deserves Thought

Invest time in creating a visually appealing display. Explore craft shows or online platforms for inspiration. Participate in the “5 Days to a Standout Display” challenge for insights into often-overlooked display details that can elevate your setup.

7) Don’t Forget Signage (and Registration)

Beyond your booth, consider the legal aspects. Ensure your business name is prominently displayed, contributing to building your brand’s reputation. Register your business name early to avoid conflicts and foster recognition among shoppers.

8) It’s Not About Location

While booth positioning may seem crucial, your display, products, and attitude ultimately dictate your success. A well-crafted setup and appealing products will attract customers, regardless of your booth’s physical location.

9) Expect the Unexpected

Craft shows are unpredictable, and not every event guarantees a sell-out. Embrace the diversity of each event, learn from experiences, and trust that you’re in the right place at the right time.

10) Vendors Love Trades(ies)… But You Don’t Have to Say Yes

Vendor-to-vendor trades are common but not obligatory. Politely decline if it doesn’t align with your goals. If interested, save trades until the end of the event to ensure ample stock availability for shoppers.

11) It’s a Tight-Knit Community

The craft community is welcoming, so take the time to introduce yourself to fellow vendors. Maintain professionalism even in challenging situations, as the community is closely connected, and your reputation matters.

12) You Don’t Have to Say Yes to Every Craft Show

Quality over quantity applies to craft shows. Research potential events thoroughly, considering the organizer, location, and overall fit with your brand. Selecting the right fairs enhances the impact of your participation.

Embark on your craft show journey equipped with these insights, and remember, each event is an opportunity for growth. For more exclusive tips and resources tailored for artisans like you, join us at Hometown Vendor Market. Let’s make your craft show debut a resounding success!

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