Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair

Do you create handmade goodies or artwork?
Are you thinking of setting up a booth at a local craft show or maker’s market to showcase your righteous creations?

We just finished a successful craft fair selling our soap! products at the bi-annual Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair here in Kansas City.

After having a couple other vendors asking questions about organizing their booths, checklists, and sales so it got me thinking about putting together a list of things to keep in mind while going through the whole process to keep your booth organized and functional, to help you sell a lot of items, and to stay on top of your marketing game.

And here is what I came up with:

1. Choosing a Craft Fair/Show/Market to Participate In

Choose an event that you know will have traffic.
Feel free to contact the organizer with these questions: 
How many years has this event been going on? How many attendees do they usually have? What type of people usually frequent this event (moms, grandmas, dads, golfers, artists, etc.)? How many vendors will be at this event?

Find an event with a fee that is reasonable for your situation.
Remember, you will need to at LEAST be able to make the amount of the vendor free back from the sales of your items. If you’re just starting your business and you’re wanting to join a large professional expo event where the vendor fees are higher than a typical month of sales, it might be a better idea to look for a smaller event.

Choose a well-organized fair that seems established and requires forms for vendor submissions. 
Look for an event that has dedicated organizers who are on top of things like marketing and promoting the event and getting back to you quickly with any questions you might have. Feel free to contact them with any of the traffic, logistic, and demographic related questions.

2. Vendor Paperwork

Complete and submit the vendor application.
Read the directions thoroughly and follow them exactly.

Submit your vendor fee.
Try to get this in ASAP. Of times events fill up pretty fast with prospective vendor applications. The sooner you get your payment in, the more likely you are to be chosen to participate in the event.

Confirm your participation with the event organizer. 
If you haven’t heard back from them in one week (or by specified date), contact the event organizer to confirm.

3. Selling your Items

Know what products you are going to sell. 
Make what you create the best. How many other vendors will be selling similar items? What makes yours stand out from the rest? Look at the vendor list for the event and scope out the competition by going to their website and social media pages to do a little recon. If there is no vendor list, browse sites like Etsy.com for similar items. How are their prices compared to yours? Does the time invested in creating your products match up with the amount buyers would be willing to pay for it?

Have CLEARLY labeled products.
Make sure your labels are simple and easy to read so that people just glancing at your booth as they walk by can get a clear idea about what it is that you are selling. If applicable, make sure all ingredients are listed on your products.A simple, clearly labeled Dry Shampoo that lists ingredients and website.

Make sure prices are easily visible.
People do not like asking for prices on items. If prices aren’t clearly visible, they may just continue on to the next vendor.
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Price Sheet

Display portfolio of other items not present at the fair.
For people who do a lot of custom items or services, having a portfolio of images of previous products or custom orders for other customers is a great way to show people the bigger scope of what kind of products and services you offer.

{We brought a portfolio of our Professional Organizing Before and After Photos to show customers more of the organizing side of our business in addition to our soap! products.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Portfolio

4. Craft Fair Booth Decor

What is the decor theme of your booth? 
What kind of feel do you want customers to get when they walk up? What are some thematic elements you can incorporate into the decor/design?

{Since we sell all-natural products, our theme is more of a natural/woodland theme. We tried incorporating that with twine leaves, babies breath flowers, and various woodland decor.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Woodland Decor 2 Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Woodland Decor

Booth:
What is the booth size? How many tables will you need? What kind of layout?
Will you use rugs? Will you need extra lighting?

{We played with a couple different table layouts before we settled on one with our booth partner Victoria at Melting Pot Love. Since we were on a corner, we settled on keeping both tables toward the outer edges, giving us enough chair/walking room on the interior of the tent.}

Table:
What kind of tablecloths will you use? Table decorations that match your theme? Table banner?

Item Displays: 
Get creative with your displays. Make sure you utilize height and dimension. Flat tables are boring. Will you need shelving, stands, trays, hooks?

{My husband, Kelly, built us this awesome 3 tier cupcake stand out of wood pieces to display our Vanilla Sugar Scrub and Dry Shampoos on.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Height and Dimension

Signage:
Let customers know who/what you are right away. Will you use a banner, business sign with your slogan/tagline, price signs, social media signs?

{We put our banner right on the front of our table so that everyone who walked by could tell what our booth was selling without having to come right up to the table.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Front Banner

5. Point of Sale

Have a cash box or bag.
Depending on the prices of your items, keep enough small bills cash that you’d be able to make change without having to leave your booth.

{With our prices between $6 and $12, we started with $60 in change in 5’s (7) and 1’s (25). I had to make a trip on the second morning to get more $1 bills.}

You NEED an electronic payment device.
These days, a majority of people pay with their cards. There are several different card readers: Square, Paypal Here, Amazon, etc.

{There were several people who stopped by our booth who said they only had cards, sales we would have otherwise missed if we hadn’t used our Square Reader. Over half of our customers used their cards.}

Throw in a Thank You card with a coupon for buying additional products/services.
Reward the customers who have supported your business with their purchase. Make it easy for them to come back and buy more of your awesome products.

{We included a coupon for $50 off of our Professional Organizing Consultation that they could use or give to a friend.}

6. Marketing and Customer Contact

Display product information cards. 
If you have several products with different ingredients, it’s a good idea to have some printed material for people to pick up, read, and get more information about your products. Rack cards are a great resource for people who also might want to give the info to friends and family who may be interested in your products.

{We had rack cards for all of our soap! products, listing the prices and ingredients. Several people opted to pick these up and read them instead of trying to lean over at a crowded table and read the displayed price sheet.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Rack Cards

Have brochures and business cards available. 
If you do custom products not displayed at the booth or if you have additional services that you offer, having brochures out on your table is a good way to let customers know about them. You can always direct them to a brochure with images of your other work to get a better idea of your other products and services. Having business cards available is a quick way for someone to pick up your contact info for re-ordering products or to give your info to someone else.
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Brochures and Business Cards

Have an email sign-up list that doubles as a product give-a-way. 
Getting your customers information is key to developing a relationship with them. With an email list you can let people who are interested in your products know when you are will be at other craft fairs and are having special events or promotions going on.
A great way to get people interested in your products is to give them away for free! Using the email sign-up as a drawing for free products or services is a great motivator for people to share their contact info with you.

{Since we both provide products and services, we used our email sign-up for a Professional Organizing Consultation and 1 Hour Session give-a-way. We chose one winner each day of the craft fair. We emailed the rest of the people who signed up to thank them for stopping by our booth and to share our website/social media pages with them.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Email Sign up and Giveaway

7. Everything Else

Have a booth partner or helper.
Being stuck at your booth at ALL times is not fun. You need small breaks to go to the bathroom, stretch your legs, and to meet and network with the other vendors. Having a co-working or friend who is outgoing, knows your products and will be good at fielding related questions is key to selling your products.

{Nicole and I were a great team. It was awesome having two people who could talk to customers. One of us would be ringing up the sale as the other person bagged the item. It was great to be able for each of us to get breaks to check out all of the other amazing vendors.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Nicole and Shawna

Things you’ll need for your comfort during the event.
Unless you plan to spend all your profits at the food vendors, it’s a good idea to bring a cooler with plenty of water and snacks.
Though you might not get much use out of it, bringing a chair for yourself and your booth partner.

{We found that we didn’t do very much sitting at our booth because we were wanting to engage our customers and it’s hard to do that while sitting behind a table. Nicole had the brilliant idea of bringing a tall stool to sit in on day two. The height of the stool still allowed us to rest our little piggies while still sitting at a similar height as a browsing customer on the other side of the table.}

8. FREE Downloadable Vendor Checklist

Here’s a free checklist you can download (PDF) and print off before your next craft fair!

CraftFairVendorChecklist

Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair (13)

 

Post by Shawna in Kansas City.

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