Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tips for a Craft Fair

Hello out there! And Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Joyous Kwanzaa/Merry Solstice to all of you.

I recently went to my first craft fair. I was invited through someone who found me on Etsy. The entry price was reasonable and it wasn't too far away, so I decided to give it a try. I read some tips on what to ask and got some good advice. I felt about as prepared as I could be, given my circumstances (procrastinated on making things, then had to study for and take finals the week before the fair; stayed up until 1:00 am putting some last-minute things together). So here is what I learned:

1. Besides asking what size table you will have, it's also good to ask whether that table is round, square, or rectangular. I brought a round tablecloth and initially started at a rectangular table. It would have looked terrible. Luckily, I was moved to a round table. But the tablecloth was still not large enough. So note: bring a few different tablecloths or get more specific information.

2. Don't procrastinate! Start as early as you can and build up a stock of items to sell. Much of my anxiety came from feeling like I didn't have enough to put on my table compared to the other more experienced vendors. However, considering it was my first fair, I felt okay with not having to haul five or six totes of stuff in and out.

3. Check the date to see if there are any other craft fairs in the area that day, and how big they are estimated to be. The turnout at this craft fair was lower than expected because of another fair that day. If I had known about the other one, I would have packed up and gone over to that one because it was getting more business.

4. Bring bags for your customers to put their items in! This is one thing I neglected to do- wasn't even thinking about it. Bags also give you an opportunity to slip in a business card. If I had to do it over again, I'd make these cute newspaper bags.

5. In addition to #5, bring more business cards. That's one thing I did bring, although I wish I had printed more of them ahead of time. I nearly gave all of them away.

6. Find a good way to display your items. My display was rudimentary because I didn't have many items to sell or time to figure out a better way to display them. A vendor next to me had a very professional display- and she had only been to 2 or 3 fairs. She said it was easier to store her display for the next fair rather than taking everything apart and then re-assembling it. See this page for some ideas.

7. Know your audience. Since this was a church craft fair, there were a lot of grandmothers shopping for grandchildren, women with babies and young children, and a few teens with their parents. Many of my items were meant for older children, so they did not sell. Age-appropriateness is certainly helpful, if you know who's coming. These cork fish were one of my most popular items:

That's about what I learned. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to you. If you are thinking about going to a craft fair, do it! It was a good learning experience, and I hope to do many more in the future.

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