Attending a craft fair, market, or show soon?
If you’ve never done it before, it can seem super-overwhelming – remembering everything you need to pack and take, and thinking about how the day might run smoothly.
Use the following tips to ensure smooth sailing through every craft fair you attend.
You need to take enough stock to keep your stall looking freshly stocked.
This means starting your market prep as early in advance as possible. This is especially important for your first stall – it will be the one where you find best sellers. Write a schedule of what to make over the weeks or months leading up to the event and stick to it.
Keep a List
Write a comprehensive list. Save it and print it out prior to each and every market you attend. This will stop you turning up and suddenly realising you forgot to bring a cash float or your mobile phone. Add to the list whenever you need as things always change over time.
Do Your Research
Do they provide tables? Will you need electricity? Do they cover insurance or is this something you need to organise? All this information will be available in their correspondence to you or on their website. If not – email someone to find out.
Perfect Your Display
This comes easy to some and not so easy to others so it is an awesome idea to do a mock set up.
Merchandising is important because it is how your customer sees your brand. If it doesn’t interest them they will keep walking so you need to make an effort. Get someone you trust to look at it and give you feedback. Draw up a little diagram so when you get there all the thinking has been done and you can jump straight into it.
Get an Early Start
Rarely is a craft fair just around the corner from where you live, if it is then congrats! If it isn’t then you need to ensure you sort two important details out.
Firstly where is it? If it is close enough go for a drive so you know exactly where – if it is too far research on maps. Once you are there you will need to know where you can drive, where you can park and where you need to set up. Most markets will email you these details in advance – so study them to reduce confusion on the day.
Secondly, though not always easy, leave on time. The last thing you want is to be running late as you really need a nice easy morning. Take plenty of extra time in case of traffic and so you can stop at your favourite café for a take away coffee.
Take a Friend
Craft fairs are fun but they are even better with a friend. Find someone who is willing to be your assistant for the day in exchange for lunch and coffee – it’s easier than it sounds!
All they really need to do is be your support if you are tired, fill in for toilet breaks or simply be your company for the journey there and back. Of course it is completely possible too attend markets on your own, it is done by many makers, a friend can help ease you through the busy times though and is someone to celebrate with at the end of the day.
Dress for Comfort
Flat shoes, warm clothes just in case, and something you feel confident in. You don’t need to dress up, neat casual is fine. It is about feeling comfortable and confident so you can happily sell your work and meet new people without feeling self-conscious.
This is something that can’t get said enough. If you do not drink enough water through the day you will be tired and probably grumpy before the day is over.
Water helps keep the oxygen running through your blood and keeps you hydrated so you have enough energy for even the longest of days. Take plenty of water bottles too because not all markets have water available to purchase.
Take along more than you need when it comes to this type of thing. Business cards, or more effective are fliers that tell a little more about you and what you do. There is so much to see at fairs so having information for people to take home means they will be more likely to remember or recognise you in the future.
Work in Progress
If possible take along some work in progress. Depending on what you do this can be a simple task or it could be impossible.
Having something to work on during quiet periods keeps you busy and customers love to see what you do. So if this is possible take something along, even if it is just something small or even a notebook for planning.
Take a little book along and write down the things you notice so that you haven’t forgotten by the end of the day.
Write down which items got the most attention. Which colour ways attracted people the most. What positive things did you hear people say. All of this can be taken into account as you plan and make decisions for future projects and markets.
Write down all sales. Write down what sold and the sale price, how the customer paid and what time the sale occurred. This is helpful for future market prep as well as bookwork at the end of the day.
Practice Self Control
Many makers have a rule not to make any purchases while at the market. It can be so tempting being surrounded by beautiful items. If you don’t have this rule or at least a limit you will end up eating through all your profits.
Take business cards and when you get home look them up, follow them on social media and tell your friends. There are more ways to support your fellow market stall holders than making a purchase and this means you can take home all that you make. It is a huge compliment to have your work purchased by other makers and it does happen all the time despite the rule!
Play the Customer
An important point to remember is not how your stall looks from where you stand but how it looks from the customers perspective. As often as possible walk around and take a look. Are there grubby finger prints? Have items been moved by people looking? Is your tablecloth wonky? During quiet periods assess this and make changes so that your stall is always looking neat.
One of the most important pieces of advice is to relax and have fun. Markets are an excellent way of making and building connections, learning about what to do and what not to do, connecting with customers or potential future customers. So enjoy it, have a laugh with people and you will go home feeling satisfied.
Want to learn more about how to sell more at craft fairs and markets? Check out our self-study eCourse – How to Sell More at Markets and Shows.
Enrol and get your first lesson straight away!
Want to start or overhaul an Etsy shop?
Download this FREE 2-page checklist now - it's part of my Handmade Business Toolkit for Makers.
Don't make those common Etsy mistakes: make sure your Etsy shop is the best it can be!
(P.S. It’s also packed full of links to additional resources on all aspects of Etsy shop setup.)