Just getting your feet wet with craft fairs? Here are some thoughts and insights I gained from my recent multiple-day fair experience.
- The 1st tip, unfortunately is, stay away from venues that are not specifically geared towards "handmade". While the press release for this event called for "handcrafted vendors", out of the 12 booths onsite, only 4 of us actually made what we were selling. I ended up next to the lady who sells really inexpensive mass-produced jewelry at one of the local flea markets, whic is exactly what the fairgoers were interested
- So, how do you find out info on upcoming shows in your area? There are many online eventlister services, some are free and others provide you a list of fairs a few months in advance for a membership fee such as Eventlister. Your local Etsy Street Team will probably also have a list on their blog or forum. Start looking early, at least 2-3 months in advance as some shows have a fairly large list of established vendors and are very competitive to be selected for. For example, applications for Ft. Bragg's November Yule Mart go out in the summer and are usually due by September.
- When choosing a venue, seek as much info as possible about the fair, ie., is it new? Been around for several years? Is there an admission price for fairgoers? Will there be onsite concessions? All of this will affect your potential sales, especially in this economy.
- If possible, set up your booth in advance, either in your yard, or wherever you have space (I used my living room) and take pictures to facilitate quick set-up at your event. Be creative with your booth, afterall, it's HOW your booth looks that will draw people in. Look around the house for interesting items, like baskets, picture frame stands, you can use for display. Use on-hand items like boxes hidden under your tabloth to create "risers" or heighth on your table. Check out Etsy for great banners, design your own (with cardstock and vinyl lettering that you can have laminated) or take advantage of free offers from internet marketing companies like Vistaprint. I use their free rubber stamps to stamp the back of all my cards. For smaller items, I print my shop info on a mailing label and adhere it to the outside of a clear resealable bag. Business Cards with a punched hole can also be tied to bags and larger items.
- Draw more attention by offering freebies or having a drawing to win some of your wonderful goodies. Use up those scrapbook paper remnants by creating little matchbook notepads. Sometimes I enter people in the drawing just for signing up on my email listing (have a clipboard set up for this and one for custom orders too).
- Set up a Make N' Take Station. Big Kids as well as wee ones enjoy craft-making so why not set aside a little space to let them make a card on the spot. Since the fair opened just before Mother's day, I assembled several card kits from leftover paper and cardstock and sold them for $2.00. I printed out various Mother's Day sentiments on cardstock and let the kids choose their desired phrase. Be sure to advertise your station and the price for making the craft.
Photo Memory Board came in handy to protect against wind.
Elevated photo trees make an eye catching dislay
- Prepare for varying whether conditions. We had to contend with rain and strong winds, either could spell catastrophe for our fragile papergoods! Relied on this memory board to keep cards from being blown away. I displayed cards with a greeting inside on this board. I hung blank cards in clear resealable bags (to protect fragile ones from too much handling) from this photo "tree". Don't forget to snap pics of your booth for future craft fair applications if needed.