• Misty Gage

Craft Vendor Success Tips

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

Being a craft show/fair vendor can be scary and intimidating. Your putting yourself, your vision, your talent, your product/service in front of the world and you have know idea what to expect. Will they love it? Hate it?

The "what if's" can destroy you before you even make it out the door but with the right prep-work and positive thinking a craft show/fair can be your big chance to show the world who you are.

Here's somethings I've learned over the years.

1. Passion

This is a must! Some customers fall madly in love with what your selling but that's rarely the case. If you don't have passion for your product/service how do you expect your customers too? You are the salesman! Your passionate stories of why it's important, what it means to you and how you do it are stronger than any marketing you'll ever purchase.

2. Branding

This is another must and I'm not talking about marketing (though that's included) when I say branding. You are your brand! You need to know exactly what you're selling, who you're selling it too and your style. Knowing this creates flawless cohesion in your look, feel and actions. Having a cohesive brand shows you're professional, differentiates you from the competition and creates lasting memories with your customers. We've all seen that gorgeous booth in the corner that everyone flocks too. Examine it, do some recon, break it down, talk to the owner, see why/what is working for them but in the end do what works for you...no one likes a copy cat.

3. Consistency

If you plan to do more than one show per season, make sure your booth is consistent. This lowers customer confusion and helps your followers recognize you. Change is a great thing and can keep you fresh but too much can lead to loss of sales/customers and confusion. That's why branding is so important.

-Move your tables around to maximize your space/customer flows but keep your branding consistent.

-Add new products/services in small amounts. Never redo your entire line all at once without previous notification.

-Rebrand if you must but keep the changes small or wait until the season is over to do a full rebrand.

4. Visible Pricing

Putting pricing front and center on all of your pieces/collections is a must. Many customers want quick information with minimal personal engagement. They don't want to have to ask you for a price every time they like something.

4. Be available

We've all had that horribly pushy sales associate that just won't give up and makes you run screaming from the booth or avoiding it all together...nobody wants to be that person. Which makes this one of the hardest things for most vendors. The trick is learning to be available to your customers while maintaining the proper amount of space.

- Be inside the booth but don't be the first thing everyone sees. People are less likely to stop if you're waiting to "attack" them.

- Give customers space but DO NOT ignore them. Acknowledge everyone! Even people just passing by. If someone lingers, strike up a non-selling conversation. Ask them how their day's going, what brings them to the show, where they're from. People are much more willing to talk about themselves.

- Let them know you'll be near by to answer questions. This gives your customers breathing room but reaffirms that you are always available to help.

5. Self Advertising

Your customers need to know how to reach you once they leave the booth. Business cards are the easiest way to achieve this. Make sure you have plenty of them on hand and available to grab around your booth. Brochures and flyers should also be available if you want to send home more information.

6. Giveaways/raffles and email opt-ins

Free giveaways or raffles are a fabulous way to get email opt-ins and draw customers to your booth. Don't give away the farm here but make sure your "gift" is eye-catching, appropriate and appreciated, no one wants a free pencil from someone who's selling $1000 paintings. Also be sure that the customer knows what they are signing up for (newsletters, blog posts, email blasts, etc.) Gift with purchase is another great way to attract customers to your booth.

8. Helpers

Having a helper or two is a life saver. Most events are hours or days long and you can't do it all by yourself. You can try but I guarantee you'll regret it. Those bathroom breaks will be a whole lot less stressful if you know someone trustworthy is left to answer questions and make sales while you're away.

'til next time,