10 Beginner Tips for Craft Fair and Market Season
I don’t do as many craft fairs and markets as I used to but would like to share just a few of the things I have learned, and I hope you find them to be helpful. Like anything else customer base can be regional and not every suggestion works at every venue, but these are pretty general, and I hope helpful to you no matter what type of product you are selling.
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1) KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetie. You don’t need to make your display more about the display and less about what it is you’re selling. For outdoor events I just have my tent, tables and table cloths. Outdoors can be hard if you’re dealing with the elements and you don’t want to spend the day chasing your display across the park if it’s windy. Indoor events are when I bust out the Styrofoam heads for hats and a few small display stands to set them on. And if you sell anything wearable remember to have a mirror so they can see how awesome they look in that hat or cowl etc. I used to have a huge elaborate display, but it was extra work to carry along and set up and DID NOT increase my sales. It looked beautiful, but if it’s not helping it’s wasted time and energy.
2) Get a credit card reader. There are several different ones available including PayPal and Square and some others. Each company has their own programs to get the reader and you do get charged a small fee with each swipe but trust me the increase in your sales is worth it. Just do your homework and get the reader that best fits your needs.
3) Business cards. Repeat and residual business is very helpful. Someone might not need what you have right now, but it amazes me when 3 or 4 months later I get a call or email saying they now need a gift, can I help them. Also let them know if you are willing to take custom orders. Not everyone does this and that is great! Do what you are comfortable with, but if you offer this service let them know you do and how it works as you hand them your card.
4) Smaller less expensive items sell best. I found that smaller items are your best money makers at fairs. I keep my biggest inventory in dish cloths, scrubbies, ornaments, hats, baby items and other smaller items. My lighted ornaments would be a good one to make for the holidays this year! I do take along a couple of sweaters and afghans as I offer custom orders. I have just enough to show them what I can do and while I rarely sell one off the table (although it does happen occasionally), I have gotten custom orders because they now know I can and will make them.
5) Please be aware of local tax rules. Each state and community have their own set of rules and percentages when it come to sales tax. Make sure you know the rules and comply.
6) Have your fix-it kit along with you. This is a tip I wish someone would have shared with me when I first started. Even with a simple display have some tape, safety pins, clips, and scissors, etc. along with you. You never know what you may need to fix and how you need to fix it. Be prepared!
7) Know what’s expected. Along with the whole be prepared theme you will want to read all the information given to you by the event organizers. Know what is expected of you. Bring your table or will it be provided. Is there an extra charge for use of tables and chairs? Do you need electricity? What is the cost, and do you bring your own cords and power strips? Know exactly what you need.
8) Dress nicely, but comfortably. A day at a craft fair can be a long one, so make sure you have on comfortable clothing and shoes. Dress in layers and bring along a sweater or jacket. You never know what kind of environment you will be in.
9) Prepare for a long day. I always bring a thermos of coffee, a few bottles of water (you want to stay hydrated), some snacks and of course some chocolate along. I also bring along a few WIPs to work on. It’s good for everyone to see you really are the one who makes these beautiful things on display. It also catches the eye of other crocheters who love to stop and talk shop with you.
10) Where to even start. If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself “That sounds good, but how do I even find where to go?” One thing I did was join my local Chamber of Commerce. They have their finger on the pulse of the community and can help you find local events. Once you get your foot in the door, network with all the other businesses there. The other vendors will be more than willing to help you find other events and will even let you know which ones are well attended and which ones are not. Another resource is Facebook. There are many groups that focus on vendor events and where to find them. Look for a group in your local area.
UPDATE: Since Covid-19 has darkened our doorstep rules are very different than they were before. Please be mindful of those around you, be extra courteous and most important, follow all local mask and distancing rules.
These are just a few tips to help you get started. I hope you find this information helpful and remember, do what works best for you. This does include some trial and error, like most things in life, but it is worth the effort. GOOD LUCK!!
May Your stitch count be true, and your frogs be few!
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