This is a series of helpful hints I want to share with you that I’ve learned along the way in my art journey. For more How To’s click here.
I recently participated in another craft show and I feel like I turned a corner with being prepared for it. Yeay! I learned a lot through watching how others presented their items + took note of what worked for me, so I wanted to give you a break down of it in case you were thinking of trying a show out soon. It’s pretty simple once you see the whole picture.
And if you’re on the fence about doing one, I would totally encourage you to go for it. It’s a great way to get exposure as well as get feedback from the public on how they like your work! It gave me a serious boost of confidence when I kept hearing how much people enjoyed my art. What could be better than that?
So let’s get started, shall we?
At least 2 weeks before the craft show:
- Start thinking about how you want your customers to feel when they see your booth. How do you want it to look? Some artists are fine with a simple table, others prefer an elaborate set up. It’s all a matter of preference. Start working out in your mind how you want people to feel when they interact with your products.
- Sketch out your setup. If you can visualize how everything will look, you’re less likely to forget something important to bring + it will also save time because you already know how you want it to look when you’re setting it up. And to take it further, the best thing you could do is actually set up your booth before the show to see how it all works together. That visual trial run can give you ideas on how to change it if you’re not happy with it.
- Keep a running list of what you’re bringing to the show and start collecting those in a box. Start with your set up and then move on to your inventory. (I created a list below that you can print for future reference.)
- Figure out what inventory you need + start stockpiling! I made sure I had multiple copies of each print, card and postcard I offered–I almost sold out of the cards so I’m glad I over-printed! If it’s your first show, you’re going to have to guess and then work from there next time. It’s a learning process, so don’t stress too much about it. You can always take orders and offer free shipping to them to make up for lack of inventory.
- Plan out your break person/help situation. Can you ask someone to join you on that day? It will be a lot easier to set up, break down your booth + take a bathroom break if you have a helper. Worst case, you can help out the person in the booth next to you when you need a break + vice versa.
- Think about your food/drink/snack situation. The last show I went to didn’t have any food vendors so I was psyched I had brought serious amounts of water + some things to much on, but next time I’ll be bringing a full lunch. There’s nothing worse than dealing with the public when you’re cranky from hunger.
- Prepare for the weather. Is it outside? Is the show rain or shine? Do you need a sweatshirt for cool breezes? Do you need sunscreen? Being prepared for all of these situations can make or break the day so check out the forecast before the show for any surprises.
The day before the show:
- Figure out what time you have to leave to get there so you can set up without rushing. There’s nothing worse than being harried at the beginning of the day so give yourself ample time to get there, park, unload + set up your booth.
- Go over your ‘to bring’ list one last time to make sure you have collected what you need.
- Print out the Vendor FAQ/Instructions from the craft show organizers so you have the information you need if a question pops up.
- Pack up your car so you can have an easy morning before heading out. You’re less likely to forget things if you pack the day before at a relaxed pace.
- Confirm the timing/expectations of your help person.
After the show:
- Go over your inventory list and notice what items were the top sellers. Did you have enough of what the buyers wanted? What was a popular item? Can you expand on that and offer more options? Make a note of these things for the next show.
- Evaluate the attendees. Was this a good show for you? Was it full of ‘your people’? (ones who tend to buy your product.) This will help you figure out if you want to try it again next time the show comes around.
- Add items you forgot to your ‘to bring’ list. This includes ideas you got from seeing other booths.
- Congratulate yourself on all of your hard work!
Selling at a craft show for the first time can be a little stressful + scary, but once you go through the trial run, it’s just a matter of following the same steps next time. Good luck with your show!
Click on the image to get access to the supply list PDF