30 Craft Show Tips for Beginners
Have you ever sold your goods at a craft show? If you have, you know it is not for the faint of heart! The payoff can be big, but you MUST have a game plan and do your homework. That’s why I’m sharing my top 30 Craft Show Tips for Beginners today! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
30 Craft Show Tips for Beginners
Okay, it’s time to get your booty up and get your act together, because today I’m teaching you tips for making some serious dough at your next craft show! I’ve watched thousands attempt to sell at craft shows and those that don’t succeed are missing some key elements. After my polling, I’ve compiled my 30 Craft Show Tips for beginners that I shared in a recent Facebook Live video (see below) and now I’m sharing them with you here.
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Summary of my 30 tips:
- The number one tip is to do your research and only participate in shows that are well advertised by those hosting it. You can find craft shows in your area using these websites (festivalnet.com, craftsfaironline.com, craftlister.com, nationalcraftshows.com) but you must research them. Look at past show vendors to get a feel for the price range of what they offer to see if your goods will fit within the price range of the other vendors.
- Book in advance because the good shows only take a few duplicate vendors and/or book up.
- Create a Facebook event for your Facebook Business Page including the date, the time and location of the craft show. Starting two weeks in advance, post photos of what you will be selling once a day to give your fans teasers.
- Email your contact list to let them know where you will be and where to find your booth.
- Create an Etsy Local Event. This lets die hard Etsy buyers locate craft shows near them. It also shows examples of what they can buy during the craft show.
- Invest in or borrow a tent that will cover on all sides. You want to cover the sides to protect your goods if there is a lot of wind or rain, plus sometimes you might want a divider from you and the other booths.
- Bring tables & chairs – cover the tables with quality table clothes and use the underneath for storage.
- Bring an emergency kit such as tape measure, hot glue gun, glue sticks, wire, pipe cleaners, extension cord, zip ties, wire cutters, scissors, markers, extra hang tags (like these from bagsandbows.com), gum, breath mints, pens, paper, snacks, smart phone, phone charger, sun glasses, sun hats, water, etc.
- Take lots of business cards!
- Make your area/booth a mini retail shop (see video below for more detials).
a. Think warm and inviting
b. Set the mood with rugs, lamps, plants, etc. (put price tags on these items too)
c. Display your items using multi-levels to bring eye up
d. Stage the items you’re selling using other store bought stuff like pumpkins, scarecrows, and ornaments, etc. (price these too)
e. Have towers or displays that come out of the tent and use both sides of the tent to hang items. See my craft show towers here.
- Set up an iPad or a smart TV/monitor with a slide show of items you have made in the past. If no iPad or electricity, use a 3 ring binder with large quality photos in sheet protectors.
- PRACTICE SETTING UP YOUR BOOTH BEFORE YOU GET THERE!!! Take the time at home and set up everything the way you like it. Use tape to measure off exactly how much room you will have. Take lots of photos too and it will make setting up so much easier.
- So you know how you have to make a lot of inventory for the show right? Well, why not save yourself some time by making one item of your popular items to display and then take custom orders!
- Also save yourself some time on inventory by making several simple designs, not every design needs to be over the top.
- Wrap sold items in cellophane bags with raffia and attach a business card so that when buyers carry it out, others might ask where they purchased it. BUYERS ADVERTISE FOR YOU! The bag in this video is from creativegiftpackaging.com and measures 30”x40”.
- Fill your booth with items! You have to offer a lot of items and your booth should be full but not so full that your eye doesn’t know where to look. So you want to make sure to bring enough items to restock as needed but store them out of sight until you need them.
- Place your most expensive items at eye level.
- Sell items of various price points. You want the majority of your items to be what the average selling point is for that craft show, then add in a few more expensive items and a few more inexpensive items. So if your in the home decor biz like me, offer centerpieces, lantern swags, bows, smaller wreaths, etc. Also, try grouping items together for a more expensive price point (i.e, bracelet sets, 5 bows, a wreath and matching mailbox topper, etc.).
- Print off my packing checklist to use as a guide for your next craft show.
- SELL YOUR SUPPLIES! For example, if in the home décor biz, sell new unused ornaments, full unopened rolls of mesh, ribbon by the rolls, holiday picks, signs, monograms, etc. You know you have too many supplies in your stash and now is a great way to try to sell of some of them. Obviously price it to where you make a profit, not what you paid for it.
- Consider selling a kit for shoppers to make their own items when they get home. You know you always here, “I can make that.” So be prepared and offer them a kit. Selling your knowledge always pays off. This is what I teach the wonderful ladies in my Success Circle Membership group.
- Consider selling items you don’t make but fit in your niche. For example if you sell jewelry, consider scarves and if you sell wreaths, consider painted door hangers.
- Take a card reader (Etsy, Square, Paypal). Debit/Credit card readers are free however, they charge a fee when you use them per sale. However, it is so worth it because people rarely carry cash anymore and if aren’t able to take their card, then you won’t get their money.
- Use the Sell On Etsy App and try to get the buyer to accept an emailed receipt because when they receive the receipt, it will have your branding and shop link info.
- Capture shoppers emails by holding a drawing of a premium item (see video). You can use a QR code to make it that much easier for you because the shopper types all their info in for you. You can even request that they have to do two things, Like you on Facebook and enter their email.
- Use an email service provider to save their emails. During my Success Circle Membership Training, I will be teaching creative business owners how to use an email service provider, set it up, make newsletters, etc. When you email your shoppers with a follow up email, you can include a reminder where you met, any sales you are currently running (perhaps given them a show discount), any new items you listed in your Etsy shop, ask for custom orders and don’t forget to announce who won the giveaway, etc.
- Take a friend to help you!
- Take photos of your set up, you engaging happily with customers and post them on your Instagram and Facebook biz page the day of your show.
- Demonstrate how to make your product as you wait to help draw customers in to your booth.
- For items that don’t sell, list them online in an Etsy shop (check out my Etsy Success Tips!) or save them for the next show.
Now that you’ve heard my 30 craft show tips for beginners, click here to download an example of a Craft Show Packing List! My friend, Patti Manning with Patti’s Pretties helped me come up with the list. Thank’s Patti!
I hope these tips will help you at your next craft show. Do you have a favorite tip that I didn’t mention? Comment below and don’t forget to share this with your friends!
If you haven’t already, join my mailing list and follow me on Facebook where I’m LIVE most Thursdays. I can’t wait for you to join in on the conversation at www.facebook.com/southerncharmwreaths.
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Great video Julie. Thank you for the practical, useable tips! I always look forward to your videos.
My name is Yanna Utley of Wreaths by Yanna. Thank you so much for the great video. WOW….so much information, my head is about to pop. I’m currently preparing for a show now and I understand why the last two fairs I did was not successful. I had so many errors in my setup according to your tips and not enough product displayed. I thought by you showing people how you do your product, it will take away from your business but now I understand and you are correct, some people do want to create their own wreaths at home. Thank you, Thank you, thank you for all the information you shared in this video, especially the bag! LOVE THE BAG!!! I will be applying your tips in this next show.
Thank you, glad you liked it! Praying for your success Yanna!
Julie, I am about to do my first craft fair. How do I find out which permits and tax ids I need. Since I am just starting, I will not be going to very many shows yet.
Contact your state’s dept of revenue for a crafters license and check their terms.
Great video!! Your enthusiasm is contagious and so encouraging! Thanks for all you do!!
Q. How did you go about creating your business cards? Did you make them or go through a printing company rep and work with them, online or in person?
Thank you for your time!
Really like your energy and down to earth approach!!
I designed them and uploaded them to nextdayflyer.com to have printed. If you go to their website, they give detailed instructions for how to design and upload.
hello Julie! I am getting a vendor table at the Blue Barn in North Ridgeville, Ohio. I have never done this so I really appreciate your pointers to us!! My friend will be selling her homemade jewelry and I am selling & taking orders for Christmas items like wreaths etc.
I really have to make a list and when I do I will let you know what I am selling or taking orders for. I really appreciate you Julie, I hope you believe that! Hugs to you! Pat
All of your tips are so wonderful I thought I would love to get some of your tips on decorating a booth for holiday bazaars. I have nice thick white table cloths that hang to the floor and have my garland and wreath displays to set up behind the table. Have you ever set up a small tree with decorations or a wax melt pot with a holiday scent. I also make holiday table runners, and some small hostess gifts that will be on my 8 foot table.
Julie, thank you for the hints. If a booth is only 8×10 or 6×12 am not sure I can do all you say for my first show today. Hoping people will enjoy and like the first group of wreaths I am showing and will want more!!! I am ready and excited!
Julie, you are amazing!!! The entire time I was watching you, I was thinking – why didn’t I think of that? You gave such excellent common sense advice. Thank you so much!!! I have my 2nd craft show coming up in the next 2 weeks. Thanks to you, I will be prepared!! 🙂 I teach math at Madison Central High School and have always done crafts as a hobby. For some reason it is difficult for me to promote and sell my own items?!? You have given me the confidence that I lacked in order to sell my own hand bags. When my confidence starts waning, I’ll just watch your video again!!
Why didn’t I think of the demonstration idea?? I teach math to high schoolers every day and absolutely love it!! I have FANTASTIC students!:) Teaching is what I do!! Thank you for reminding me that my teaching can spill over into my craft business. Again – common sense – why didn’t I think of that?!?! 🙂
I have been waiting months to start an Etsy account. Thanks to you, I think I can actually take the first step.
I will be checking into your Success Circle and look forward to what I will be learning.
Since you promoted giveaways (another great idea) . . . if you will email me your address, I would love to send you one of my handbags to thank you for all of your GREAT ideas.
Your enthusiasm is contagious!
Have a great holiday season!!
I have just started selling wreaths in Ontario, Canada. Thanks so much for the great advice as I am preparing for my first craft show. I have been looking for an example of a custom order form as I have had some custom order requests recently. Would you happen to have one or know where I could find one? Going back and forth through email is getting a bit difficult and doesn’t look professional. Thanks !
No sorry I don’t have one.
I love your videos and I always love your color choices! Your funky bow video was so helpful in making my first wreath! I too like to “collect” ribbon and I am also a “fabric addict”. Where do you buy your ribbon from? I never seem to find any as pretty as what you have!
What do you package your wreaths in when you sell them at the fairs? Thanks!!!
I have a Show sat. It came up on me so quickly…This will be my first show and I’m so excited, I have a ton of wreaths to show case for Halloween, Fall and Christmas already. The only think is I have so much I need the best way to set them up and display them. Your set idea is great and I’m super excited because I have the whole elf system sitting here so I can just use those!!! I enjoy your video and take you for sharing your knowledge.
Is there a certain type of tent that is Easier for one person to set up, and where can I get it? I don’t have help
Hi, Julie. I’m very new to making wreaths. My dream is to make beautiful wreaths. I have practiced making ribbons, I just CAN’T GET IT! I have the bowdabra and EZ bow maker…can’t get that either. I get lost with the “twisting…pretty side up, ugly side up.” I’m so frustrated, this is my second year trying to make bows. Please help me. Also, I’m considering purchasing the membership for your wreath of the month. I’m sure bow-making will be included in the class. Actually , I want the quarterly month subscription, but I am not sure if it will be beneficial. I’m in the process of subscribing for one month to start. Does one have to have ANY KNOWLEDGE of wreath making, as I have NONE…NEWBIE! Also, I want to know if the prior month’s videos will be available to students. I want to join every learning media you have available, i.e., FACEBOOK group, any group, as I want to eventually make wreaths for income. I’m an advocate utube subscriber as I am very good at making projects on the various craft videos…I CATCH THEM! I CAN’T CATCH wreaths, ribbons, bows, sprays, garlands, where to displaying flowers…up, down, what color combos, etc. Again, please hepa susta out!
Yes. It’s all included in the wreath of the month club and beneficial for all levels. http://southerncharmwreaths.com/wreath-club/