Prepping For A Craft Fair
In total transparency I have only attended one craft fair as a vendor but I did learn a ton and have also attended as a shopper too many to count over the years. So as a somewhat newbie in this realm I wanted to share what I learned from my first craft fair and how I’m preparing for the upcoming holiday craft fair season. I did briefly mention this in my holiday season prep blog post if you want to see what I said there plus see other ways to prep your business outside of the holiday markets.
The Setup Design
First thing is you need to have a shop setup. The presentation part is super important since there will be a ton of other shops competing for attention too! In order to make sure you do this part successfully make sure you get information from the host of the craft fair on what will or won’t be provided to you. For my first market I was given one table and they gave me the dimensions. Based on this information I was able to make a mock set up at home to test out the layout of everything I was bringing.
Part of creating a fun setup is to make sure you have props or stands or containers for your products depending on what you sell. I wanted to keep costs at a minimum since I do not do holiday markets regularly. Based on this I tried to use items I already had on hand, like the random bar tray or baskets I have, plus some fun Christmas decorations I already had that worked good as displays.
If you need ideas or inspiration for your own setup design then definitely check out Pinterest! There are so many good images that can hopefully help you figure out what will work best for your own products. Here’s my own board with tons of ideas to get the ball rolling!
The best part of attending a craft fair or holiday bazaar is to be able to sell your products on the spot! I love my online shop but there is something special about selling in person and seeing the people who are buying your own items for themselves or as gifts. The hard part is to know how much product you need to have stocked at the market. This is another area where you can try to get more information from the host and ask a few more telling questions, like how many people typically visit the market and how many other vendors are there? These numbers can help you figure out how much exposure your shop will receive. I’m definitely tweak the products I take to market versus what I have in my online shop. Since the market is for the holiday season I tend to bring more items that are great for gifts and holiday decorating (mugs, ornaments, cards).
Once you have decided on the set up and what products you are bringing make sure logistically you have a way to store and transport them!
All the Branding
Since your shop will be selling your products hopefully your brand will come through well, but there are a few other things to consider to make it clear who you are. Make sure you have some type of larger sign stating your business name so people know who you are. You can also have business cards or flyers or catalogs for people to take so they can remember you even if they do not purchase on the spot. I also made sure I had an email sign up list at my stand that way even if someone did not purchase I could reach out to the later with more details about my business.
The other way to get your brand across and leave a lasting impression is with your packaging. You want to make sure it fits your brand but is easy to fit into your checkout process. This can be done with a fun sticker or an insert into the shopping bag to wrap up the whole experience.
I consider the products, set up, and branding the more fun parts of attending a holiday bazaar. However there are some very important business things to definitely consider when prepping. First off you have to have a process set up to sell your items. That means price tags or signs for your products, starter cash for change, credit card reader (if you take cards), and a receipt system. Don’t overlook how this process works since a smooth transaction can really leave a good impression on the customers! You also want to make sure as you are selling that you can easily keep track of your inventory and what sales you have made. A quick way to make sure you’re not missing something is to have a friend do a mock check out and go through all the steps. This will help prepare you for the real thing. You will also notice if you’re fumbling to mark off something as sold or if you are able to easily take the cash and give change. Practicing will help make the day of run so much more smoothly! One other thing to think about and practice is your “elevator pitch” Don’t worry you’re not trying to land a job at the market but it is important to make good impressions and have conversations with customers who are browsing your items. You want to be able to tell them about your business and your products. Even if you don’t practice this at least think a little bit about how you want to come across and what you’re business is all about!