Preparing for a craft show can be extremely time consuming, but also profitable and fun! You will meet so many wonderful people and form a comradery with other artists at the event. There is nothing more rewarding than someone purchasing something that you put your blood, sweat, and yes, sometimes tears in. Selling at a holiday craft show can be a little daunting at first, so I put together my best tips for how to prepare for a craft show.
#1: Plan ahead
The most important step in crafting for the holidays is the very first step and that is planning ahead. Research different craft shows in your area and see which one will make the most sense for whatever craft you make. Not all craft shows are the same. I have been to some that are strictly crafts, heavy in direct sales, and some that allow duplicates of the same craft. Compare table pricing and previous attendance history. Vendor tables near outlets can be hard to come by last minute, so if it something you need, I definitely suggest planning early. You want to make sure the event advertises as well as you advertising on your own. Obviously, the more people that come, the better odds of sales.
Once you have your vendor table booked it is time to start your personal advertising. It is never too early. I suggest using platforms that are already free. Facebook is a great way to get your name out there and show off all of your projects. You can sign up for a free account and make an event page advertising your crafts and the details of the show. If you already have a business name you can take it a step further and create a business page. When you create a new item, you can post it to your event page to show everyone what will be available. My advice is to pace yourself when sharing your projects. I have found when you post multiple items at the same time, only the first couple items get the most views. When advertising for a show, I like to advertise other small businesses that will also be attending the show. I love supporting others and their crafts. You never know, someone may go there for a handmade knit hat and walk by your table and see something they like and you get a sale from it. Kindness over everything. No matter how big someone may seem, we are all small businesses and should support each other.
#3: Make your inventory
Now that you know how much space you will have to display your items and you start seeing all of those “attending” clicks on your event, it’s time to get to crafting! Do you have an item that sells really well? Make multiples. Personally, I make anywhere between 600-900 items of all sizes and price points, depending on the traffic of the show. I always offer a variety of holiday items as well as regular everyday items.
Try and have items available that are inexpensive: $5-$8. For my business, an example would be coffee mugs or small 5×5 signs. Someone may be looking for stocking stuffers or secret Santa gifts. I have a wall of my items located in The Salvage Yard Resale Shoppe in Fairview Park, Ohio, and it has a mix of handmade items, unique items, furniture, and antiques. One of my favorite things they did this year for the holidays was, they created a separate table of prepackaged and ready-to-wrap gifts for under $10. Everything was made by the local small business vendors. There were handmade mugs, toilet paper gag gifts, signs, wash rags, ornaments, local made dips, and so much more. Having items available at all different prices widens your range of buyers.
#5: Build your display
Assuming at this point you have made enough inventory for your event, it’s time to work on your display. Start with a tablecloth if you are using a table. I always suggest a floor length tablecloth. Besides the fact that they do tend to look better, you can store bins of overfill items underneath them and they are great for hiding anything that you may not want shown on your display.
My biggest piece of advice when working on your table display is to add height! If you sell jewelry, make an investment in some great jewelry displays that can be used show after show. Another great option are crates for adding height. You want to draw people in. Depending on the holiday, you can add holiday appropriate decorations. Battery powered twinkle lights are inexpensive and are a great way to grab attention. One event I hosted was close to Halloween and I draped spider webs on the tables that had all of the Halloween themed decor. Have fun with the display! A majority of display items are reusable. The goal is to grab attention and get people to your vendor table.
#6: Add something special (optional)
It’s a great feeling knowing that people would rather buy from a local small business than a big box chain. As an appreciation gesture, I normally hide a “free” sticker on one or two signs I sell at shows. I have seen people do giveaways and I have seen people give discounts if you purchase their items at vendor events. I have also had people throw little thank you business cards in their take home bags. This is not necessary or mandatory but I do suggest you make sure that anyone that buys from you understands that you appreciate their purchases. The customers are the people that turn your love of a craft into a small business.
I hope I’ve helped you learn how to prepare for a craft show a little bit more. Feel free to ask a question in the comments. Good luck!
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My name is Angie. I am the owner of Little Rustic Home. I am a stay at home mom with a boomin’ side gig. I do all of the designing, staining, cutting and creating of the pieces. My husband works full time himself but helps whenever he can with everything. I am the chaos coordinator of 3 absolutely amazing little boys. They are 3, 6, and 7 years old. They are the behind the scenes muscle. Little Rustic Home is not just a local business. It has become our little family business. We love meeting new people and creating items you can’t find in any store and we’d love to help make your house a home!