Monday, November 21, 2011

Craft Show Do's and Dont's

I will be participating in the Newbury Park Arts & Crafts festival for the first time in 2012 and I am very excited!  I have never done a craft show, but I have been to plenty and have gathered a lot of information on how to be prepared.  Here is a list of do's and dont's.  Feel free to add any suggestions or comments.  All us crafters must stick together!
  • Visual set up is extremely important.  When displaying items make sure to make everything clean, organized, uncluttered and vertical.  To draw in buyers, you must have your display vertically appealing.  Use anything you can to have your products displayed between hip and eye level.  Most buyers won't bother walking into your booth unless they can see what you have to offer from across the way.  
  • Have a theme to your booth that will attract your potential buyers.  For instance, I sell baby items so I will have a crib set up with the custom baby bedding set up in it.  I will also have a vintage baby dresser that will have all the drawers opened at different depths with baby blankets and burp cloths sticking out of the drawers.  My set up will be all white with soft colors to complement my items.  
  • Lighting is very very important because it can accentuate your items.  If the lighting is dull or off colored it can make it easier for buyers to glance over your items and not see how beautiful your craft really is.  Natural lighting and accent lights really help showcase your items.
  • If your booth is outside and you are using a canopy make sure to have some sort of weights to hold down your canopy in case of a windy day.  You don't want to be running across the craft show chasing your canopy.
  • Set up your entire display at home before you set up at the craft show.  Make sure you know they best ways to present and display your items so you have a smoother start and a clear mind on the day of the show.  Also, pack all items in order of how you will display them.  If you get a late start for some unknown reason at least you won't have to create a beautiful display from scratch.  Everything will be packed according to its display section, therefore easier and faster to set up.
  • Eat your lunch or snacks secretly.  Its unattractive and uncomfortable for some buyers to see you working and eating.  Not very professional.
  • Try to stand up as much as possible.  It shows the buyer that you are interested in helping them with what they need and you're not lazy.  Standing all day is pretty much impossible, but choose your slow moments to sit down to take a break.
  • Put price tags on every single item.  It makes it so much easier for buyers to make decisions.  Some buyers are shy (myself included) and if there are a lot of customers at your booth they may not want to bother you to inquire pricing when they are not sure if they are interested in buying.  If the price is already on there it gives the shy buyers a more likely chance of buying instead of just walking on to the next booth.  
  • Label all types of items and try to display them as they are used.  If you sell nursing covers like I do, have a mannequin wearing the nursing cover, or a large photo of the cover in use.
  • Have a designated checkout area at the end of your booth so customers know where to go when they want to purchase an item.
  • Bring as much product as you can comfortable fit and store under the tables (which must be covered all the way to the floor).  Display as many items as you can without cluttering your table.  You want buyers to feel calm and see your feature items clearly without feeling crammed and overwhelmed with too many items scattered throughout your booth.  Keep your burp cloths in one area, nursing covers in another, blankets in another.  Have a little bit of space separating each category so it is easy on the buyers mind while scanning over your booth.  If your booth is easy on the eyes it'll draw more potential buyers.
  • Most importantly, make your booth professional looking.  How buyers see your booth is how they will assume your product quality is.  If your tables are dirty and sloppy, so is your craftsmanship.  If your display booth is professional looking and has attention to detail, they will feel confident buying your professional handmade products.
 These are the main tips I have gathered from research and my personal eye by shopping at craft shows.   Please share your personal tips and ideas! I would love to hear them!

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