Selling at Craft Fairs: Extending Your Business After the Fair

You’ve put hours and hours of time into your craft show. You hope that it will all be worth it.  But make sure you don’t judge your outcome solely on sales at the end of the day. In order to be successful at the show, you must also put some time into planning ways in which you can continue to reach the customers in front of you.  This is how your business will grow in the future.

Many ideas seem commonplace, but are important enough that they deserve a refresher. The first is to always have business cards on hand. In fact, it would be a good idea to place them in several different areas of your booth. Be sure to include your business name, your name, your email address and a website, if applicable. A picture is not necessarily vital, but may serve you well if it immediately identifies the products you carry. You may want to include some kind of discount code so customers look forward to making that first or next purchase with you in the future.


Brochures
can also be utilized at the craft show. Most word processing programs include templates for putting these together. 
Or, venture out on your own to come up with a brochure style that works for you. Oftentimes, customers will pick these up for when they have more time to evaluate your products. You may also want to include the “story” behind your business as a way to personalize what you do and to connect with the customer. Don’t forget to make sure your contact information is provided!


The third strategy to build your business from the craft fair is to keep a guest book in your booth. Customers can sign their
name and provide an email address if they are interested in receiving more information from you.  This is valuable way to get out the news on new products you will carry in the future, sales and promotions, or other shows you will be attending. This gives you a good base of potential buyers who are interested in what you have to offer.  You could also have a drawing to win some prizes for those who enter their name and contact information.


Listen to what customers are saying
when they enter and leave your booth. Take mental note and jot things down to help you
remember afterwards. It’s key to find out what people are looking for, their reactions to prices, and what motivates them to make the final purchase.


Keep a portfolio
of your past work in your booth. Up-close photographs of not only the products themselves, but different ideas
of how to use them can really encourage the customer to “see” the possibilities of what you are offering. You may also consider taking special orders from customers.


As funny as it may sound, try to step outside of your comfort zone and meet other vendors who are there with you! Exchange
information and talk together about upcoming shows. You might be surprised how much you can learn from someone who is in the same boat as you!


In the end, it is helpful for you to evaluate your experience at the show you just finished. Take the time to list the pros and
cons of what occurred at the show. What items sold? Which items did not? Take note of all of your expenses. Don’t underestimate the importance of really “debriefing” your experience and taking note of these things on paper. After it is all said and done, you will look back and be grateful that you took the time to write these things down, as it will help you think about future shows you may or may not be interested in.


We hope you enjoy your craft show experience! Know that there are many people behind the scenes who are cheering you on and want
to see you succeed! Preparing for and selling at a craft fair CAN be worthy of your time and your talents. Maintain a positive attitude, knowing that each and every show you attend is a new opportunity to learn more about your business….and yourself.

_____________________________________________________________

We want to hear from YOU on the blog!

Blog Question: What ideas have you implemented in order to extend your business beyond the craft fair? What has worked? What has not? What is the best advice you can give someone when they are looking at selling their products?

Advertisements

10 Comments

Filed under Selling at Craft Fairs

10 responses to “Selling at Craft Fairs: Extending Your Business After the Fair

  1. Juanita

    Craft Fairs are still a dream for me but now I feel prepared for that time that I can get it together – whatever “it” is! I have never been one to venture out into the great unknown and that is what a craft business is to me. I love to craft and always have but the selling part has always been sooo intimidating.
    There are several craft fairs each year in the region where I live but I have never been able to take that first step.
    Thanks so very much YCMT for taking the scariness out of selling my products!

  2. I’ve had several very successful crafts shows that I used to run out of my home. I would always ALWAYS have door prizes. The old adage, “you have to spend money to make money” is certainly true and I still do it to this day! I now just design bead patterns and sell them from my web site, but I’m always giving something away! I’ve got customers who have been with me for over 10 years, and they keep coming back, not just for the FREEBEES but for the quality of my work and design. Because my CUSTOMERS make me who I am, I like to thank them along the way! Check out my BLOG to see what I mean! I’m always THANKING THEM through the little gifts I make! I’ve been self employeed for over 12 years now…and it’s THANKS TO MY CUSTOMERS!
    http://angelamps.blogspot.com/

  3. Sherrie

    “Listen to what customers are saying”, this is an important part. Also watch what they are picking up. Customers who are thinking about purchasing always pick it up. If they put it down…why? Is it priced to high, do they need another color or size. Ask and get feedback for the next time.

    I love meeting other vendors! Get to know someone maybe you can cut costs and share a booth, especially with someone who has complimentary items to yours.

  4. samnben

    My business was launched from our hospital Craft Fair4 years ago, right before Thanksgiving. My partner and I sewed up a storm, mainly jumpers and jon-jons. We sold out and took orders for about 25 more outfits. We sewed over the entire Thanksgiving holiday to make sure everything was delivered on time. While this time was crazy, we took the time to deliver high quality goods in a timely manner and we developed a very loyal customer base. We now do only repeat business and home shows and we are thriving because we were flexible and listened to what our customers wanted. Never deliver anything substandard or even with a tiny flaw—customers are paying top dollar and want quality. When you are selling your product, having something “custom made” is totally different than having something “homemade”. We also stuck to the classic jumper and jon-jon–cheaper for us to produce and they are timeless.

  5. amy

    We did a show last year and a woman was selling clothes for eighteen inch dolls . She had a digital picture frame with tons of pictures of dolls in all of her outfits in her booth. I thought that was a great idea. My sister and I sell girls hair accessories among other things and sometimes we brought live models. Okay it was just our daughters, but we did make them wear the product. They always looked cute and got alot of compliments. Business cards are a must also, ours are homemade very vintage looking, simple, so you don’t have to spend$$$ but to be able to say “Here’s my card” makes you look so much more professional . The shows we have done this year have been not great so we have no more planned but they can be alot of fun so if you’re thinking you might like to give it a try I say go for it . Just don’t sweat it. You learn something at every one. Talk to other vendors even if you are making exactly the same thing. I hate it when someone acts like they invented something. I mean come on we all know you can find the instructions on how to do anything on the internet. Good luck and hope you make lots of $$$$

  6. AlishaSays

    I think the idea of having a guest book is genius! It’s an extra way to get in touch with the customers who are interested! And definitely as another comment said, feel free to take orders if you don’t have something available just the way the customer wants!

  7. holly

    these articles are the bomb. thank you. the comments are so very helpful as well.

  8. I have been participating in events for a few years. Each event is different…and so is the amount of booth space and booth layout. I recommend getting there early (even before the setup time because most likely you can go ahead & start) so you have PLENTY of time to set up. Be sure to view your setup from your customers view (the front of the table) so you can actually see what they are seeing and how they are seeing it. I have frames with the item description & price infront of the items. This way the customers can see the price without having to ask you.

    SALES!!!! Or BUY ONE GET ONE!!! With today’s econony everyone is wanting to save a dollar of two, and EVERYONE loves a sale. I ALWAYS offer something FREE with purchase or a discount on purchase..either over a certain dollar amount or in amount of certain items purchased. I ship a lot of items if they have to be personalized/monogrammed so sometimes I also offer FREE shipping.

    Business cards are a MUST! So is a guest book/list. This makes a very easy mailing list.

    Each event is different, and you NEVER know what the outcome until it’s over. I did a show last week & barely made over the vendor fee, and today I had a HUGE sale minutes before the show ended. Oh, and don’t break down until it’s over!!! This not only shows respect for the event coordinators, but there are usually late shoppers.

    Lastly…HAVE FUN!!!! Enjoy the event, meet new people, and participate in the shopping if you fel the need. Sometimes we feel the need to support all or most of the vendors, but don’t spend all of your profits! Best of luck to everyone in the business!!!

  9. ann

    My daughter just participated in the annual “Parents As Teachers” craft show fundraiser. It was so much fun. We had a booth with great location and we made up several of the many items that we had for sale. While people love to pick up these items for gifts, they also like to choose their own colors and styles. We made sure to have a large sign that read “We Love To Make Special Orders”. We received more orders than we ever expected. What a great way to get more business. People actually purchased items and then ordered more for pickup before Christmas. We are so excited since we have others that are wanting these items now that our “special order” friends have taken their great buys home and shared them with others. Thanks for all of your ideas and help in making our booth sales a great success!

  10. ann

    My daughter just participated in the annual “Parents As Teachers” craft show fundraiser. It was so much fun. We had a booth with great location and we made up several of the many items that we had for sale. While people love to pick up these items for gifts, they also like to choose their own colors and styles. We made sure to have a large sign that read “We Love To Make Special Orders”. We received more orders than we ever expected. What a great way to get more business. People actually purchased items and then ordered more for pickup before Christmas. We are so excited since we have others that are wanting these items now that our “special order” friends have taken their great buys home and shared them with their friends and family. Thanks for all of your ideas and help in making our booth sales a great success!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s