Selling at Craft Fairs: What to Bring and How to Impress
Your items are all made. You have done your research on how to price these treasures you have been working on for so long. Now it is time to get packed up and go! There are some essential and not-so-essential items that you should remember to take with you on the big day.
A Friend: First and foremost, bring help with you! Do not think for a minute that this is something you can do entirely on your own. Running a booth is a constant juggling act, so having a right-hand man is not only your key to success, but everything is more enjoyable when you can share it with others! Having a second person to take payments helps you be fully available to answer questions and show your products. Having a backup is also valuable for transporting items, being able to take a restroom break, or even grab a lunchtime meal. This person also becomes your cheerleader to help support your efforts throughout the day! I promise, you will be so grateful if you can find that special friend or family member to help you on the big day.
Your Products: How many you ask? That is a good question. Bring what you can, but make sure you have a sign-up list available for those who would like to special order for later delivery, in case you run out.
Bags for Customers: Shoppers need bags! There are a number of resources online with ideas on obtaining bags, but one of the best resources may be in your very own area! Before doing a show several years back, I went to our local drugstore, as I knew their bags did not carry the individual store’s name. Instead there was a rose and I figured if I could get them at a good price. It really did not matter what was on the bag! So I went in and asked the manager if I could purchase some bags from them and indeed they did let me! The cost was unbelievably cheap and I was ready to take my bags with me to the booth!
A Credit Card Machine: If this is doable, you may want to seriously consider opening up this method of paying to customers. By doing so, you are offering a convenient service to them. If you don’t, you may lose some potential buyers. I say this not to scare you, but perhaps intrigue you into looking into this option more seriously. It not only makes your booth look even more professional, but it is also a much safer route to go than accepting personal checks. You must obtain a merchant account in order to offer this, so be sure to check with your bank on how to do this. Taking credit and debit cards can really boost your sales!
Your Money Center: Some craft fair organizers provide these for you and some do not, so be sure to check into your options. The small table is a great place to set up your money center. Some ideas of what to include are your calculator, a receipt book, a sales tax chart, cash box or machine, and the credit card machine if you go that route. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to bring change! A copy of your sales tax certificate and your business license to hang up in your booth is also a nice touch.
A Small Cooler: Bring some snacks and bottles of water to keep you at your peak performance all day. You may easily get worn down if you wait too long before taking a break. Sometimes a small snack provides the right energy boost you need!
Office Supplies & Other Miscellaneous Items: These include: pens, stapler, tape, a garbage bag, sales tax chart for your area, extra price tags, markers, business cards and brochures, tape, your cell phone, a camera so you can document this fun day, and possibly some candy in a bowl. Don’t believe for a second that the candy is just for the children! The grown-ups love it just as well!
Any Hang Tags or Care Instructions: If you are offering any item for sale that requires special instructions, be sure to attach those to your products. Your customers will truly appreciate your efforts.
Tissue or Newspaper: If you have any items that are fragile, you will want to be sure to have these on hand to help package the items in the customers’ bags.
Shelves: If possible, see if you can find some shelves that you can put onto your tables. Keeping items at different levels is more pleasing to the eye. So lift! Keep the booth interesting by doing this. Crates and stacks of blocks also work well with linen cloths draped over.
Company Name Sign: Make sure it is big and make it something special. If you have a website, be sure to include that on your banner as well.
Now, let’s talk about that first impression! We all know the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”, right? Well, it rings true in selling, as well! First of all, if you follow the checklist items mentioned above, you are already half-way there because you are ORGANIZED. Have your booth set up well in advance before the show begins. That way you are not scrambling at the last minute while customers are beginning to just walk on by.
Keep your prices clearly marked. Remember my “car sales” approach? Trust me, customers want to see the price immediately and not have to guess. If they do, some will simply just not inquire.
If possible, you may want to consider making some of your items right in front of the customers. If you are selling jewelry for example, demonstrate the process you go through to make a particular piece. This method can work in many different areas of crafting and others may truly enjoy watching! And just think, you will be able to get something done at the same time! But be carefully not to ignore the customer while working on your project. Be flexible enough to pause the project to answer questions, visit with the customer and showcase some of your best-sellers. This is also where your helper can come in handy.
Be positive! There is no doubt that you will get some who may come into your booth and you will hear whisperings such as, “Oh, I bet I could make that myself” or “That’s nice, but she’s asking WAY too much for it. I could get that cheaper somewhere else!” Staying positive and upbeat will create a great feeling in your booth. Both you and the customer win when you can maintain a pleasant and courteous demeanor no matter what. Be a professional. You will always get the naysayers, but more often than not, you will find customers who are just excited to be a part of this whole experience. They will appreciate the extra effort you go to being genuine in your approach to each of them. And smile!
Cover tables with floor-length tablecloths. This makes great storage space for your extra items and keeps the booth area look nice and neat. A solid color works best so it does not distract from your hand-made items.
Dress professionally. As mentioned before, you are a professional. Wear comfortable shoes. If you have a company name on a shirt or jacket, wear it! If not, just keeping a modest and higher end casual style in your clothing choices will make you feel even more confident and approachable.
Kim Christopherson is the owner and creator of www.YouCanMakeThis.com. Find hundreds of downloadable patterns and “how-to” eBooks for your home and family. Sign up for the YCMT newsletter and receive a $75 ebook bundle package for FREE!
Article Source: Selling at Craft Fairs: What to Bring and How to Impress