Selling at craft fairs is one way to market your goods and build your creative business. But it can be intimidating for newbies. So, we reached out to experienced vendors for their advice on selling at craft fairs, and they shared some really great tips.
Pre-show preparation, branding and displays
“…Also confirm if the event is not a scam! Call the place where the event is happening and verify if they are hosting the show and who the organizers are.” – Noreen Christofaro, Hidden Treasures Jewelry by Noreen
“Put your name everywhere that you can—on business cards, your tablecloth, hang a sign, put it on your Venmo QR code sign. Wear a shirt with your business name or logo.” – Charlette Helen, Charlette’s Crafts.
“My best advice to any new vendor is to make a pleasing display. Invest in quality tables and buy tablecloths that fit your tables. A nice display draws customers in. And then it’s up to you to talk to them and sell your product.” – Alice Petrone.
“Clearly price your items, try to avoid printed or busy tablecloths. Always do a mock setup before a show so you know how to organize (take a pic to remember the layout if you think you might forget), keep a list of your upcoming shows in case a customer is unsure of an item—they may come to your next show specifically to buy it!” – Pamela Potris, Dust Bunny Crafts
“Be sure to put your best foot forward. People remark about my booth because I personalize it with antique decor and boxes, fresh flowers and photos of my customers, which are dogs. Iron your tablecloths, make sure your items are marked clearly with the price or have a menu of your prices the potential buyer can refer to. Tidy your table from time to time. Make sure your products are visible and easy to see from several angles.” – Melanie Barker Wolfe, Wolfe & Hound Company
“Set up their tent display in their backyard or even living room a couple weeks before your show and do practice setups. Take pictures of what you like. Move things around and try different setups. Take more pics to remember how you ultimately liked it so you remember how to setup at your first show.” – Christopher Rowe, Falcon Wood and Laser Works
“Have a go bag of items. Things you could need like first aid, deodorant, bug spray, sunblock, hair ties, pens, notebook, ones, fives, tens, bags for items in different sizes, water, snacks, tape, scissors, permanent marker, business cards or postcards or pamphlets, extra price tags or labels, additional inventory if you can, coordinate your decor color scheme as you would stick with solids of floor length tablecloths let your items shine, tall chair or stool, a friend or someone who can stay or stop by so you can use the bathroom, clear signage that lets people know what you sell and if you take orders, easy to understand pricing, tiered displays as to not leave everything flat on the table, a variety of designs of what you sell of the same item type.”— Beth Peltier, Hush Little Baby Cakes & Gifted
“If doing an outdoor craft fair in warmer months, invest in waterproof bins up to carry inventory, fitted tablecloths, tent you can put up and down on your own, sunshade is a must, weights (cannot stressed this enough. Tents blowing away are no fun!), rechargeable fans or misting bottles that can attach to the tent or go on the table. Helps yourself to stay cool, and it will attract buyers as they’ll seek your tent to cool off and browse while at it!” – Elizabeth Goldberg, Ocean Wave Graphics
“There are lots of things to remember when first starting out so write things down! I have a notebook for odds and ends and I use my phone note app for actual information on my upcoming shows as a reminder.” – Noreen Christofaro, Hidden Treasures Jewelry by Noreen
“If something in your space isn’t selling, try moving it to the front somewhere. Worked for me. Most important thing to bring is weights for your tent. There’s been plenty of times that we get to a place and it’s windy. We’ve seen tents and other things flying. At my first craft fair, I brought more product than what was needed. I only bring what I’m putting out on my tables now and that’s plenty.” – Tammy Itse, Handmade Gifts & More
“Give out small discount coupons to your online shop so you gain more repeat shoppers. Also ensure you’re not next to someone who sells the same kind of items and that the show curates a limited amount of the same items allowed from each category. Have a “be back in 5” sign for when you need to go to the bathroom or buy food. Don’t think you need to over complicate your display or have too many different items to sell—simpler is often better! – Samantha Atella, Orange Cat Candle Co.
Know your target customer
“I would also recommend know your ideal customers and where they will be shopping. My products sell great at psychic, holistic, and wellness fairs, not regular craft shows. Also say ‘hi’ to everyone who stops by your table.” – Jen Kilroy, Orgone Jewelry Designs
“Sell multiple price points. If you sell a product with high price points, carry a few lower priced items, they always sell. Bring a business card so you can be reached for future business.” – Bethany Rawcliffe-Burke, The Workshop n More
“The only thing I would add is to check out prices of similar items to yours, so you’ll get a fair price for your product.” – Noreen Christofaro, Hidden Treasures Jewelry by Noreen
Engage with your shoppers
“You have to be engaging even if you just say hello or good morning and smile. Do not hold your phone unless you are using it for payment. Be present to everyone and don’t prejudge whether a looker will buy or not. You are there for such a brief period of time, so make the most of it.” – Nancy Howlett, Fashion Wraps by Nancy
“My suggestions are more basic than others, but they make a big impact. Be sure to stand up when someone enters your space. Engage with shoppers. Even if it’s just to say, ‘I really like your shirt.’ It makes you relatable and approachable. Talk about your product and the benefits of it as well as the processes that you use.” – Charlette Helen, Charlette’s Crafts.
“Have something the customers would like to sample or something to draw attention like a raffle. Always be prepared to answer questions. Be present to your customers, stand up, ‘say hello.’ Ask if they have questions and if you can help them find something today. Don’t sit in a chair and look at your phone. Engage with people. A simple ‘hello,’ ‘how are you today?’ or a nice complement to them. [You] may not get a sale, but you might just brighten someone’s day who needed it—just never know what one is there for.” – Danielle Burns, Wellness Goddess
“Always greet your customer. I think my number one pet peeve is when I attend markets, fairs or shows, and the vendor has their head buried in their phone or in a book, ignoring a potential customer. Be present. Smile and engage.” – Melanie Barker Wolfe, Wolfe & Hound Company
Technology and payment methods
“I always have back up chargers.” – Danielle Burns, Wellness Goddess
“Bring a charger brick for your electronic sales. My phone always dies halfway through the show Bethany Rawcliffe-Burke.” – Bethany Rawcliffe-Burke, The Workshop n More
“Make sure items are clearly marked, be set up to accept credit cards (or Venmo, PayPal etc). Not everyone carries lots of cash these days. Have a sign stating anything unique about your items. For example, I make quilted potholders using Insul-brite, so I have a sign stating that and that they cannot be used in the microwave.” – Susan Paulo, Sassy Suzi Creations
“Bring $100 in small change. Be sure to take credit cards—75 percent of my sales are via CC. Consider Venmo, PayPal too. Bring an extra battery charger, a backup Square reader, scissors, tape, push pins, pens, paper, snacks, drinks, wear comfy shoes. Bring tent weights for outdoor shows.” – Melanie Barker Wolfe, Wolfe & Hound Company
Make friends with other vendors
One of the most undervalued pieces of being in this industry is being kind to other vendors! You never know when you may run Into someone again or at the very least, if we can all support each other, encourage and inspire, there’s nothing better.” – Alyssa McMahon, South County Company
“Introduce yourself to your vendor neighbors. I’ve met some amazing folks at shows!” – Melanie Barker Wolfe, Wolfe & Hound Company
Want to share your own advice?
Would you like to share some advice for selling at craft fairs? Leave your tips below.