I have attended many an expo and have spent what felt like years of my life sitting behind a stall at a flea market, so I’m no stranger to the trader life. But a few weeks ago, I attended my first craft fair with just my own, handcrafted items! I’m going to tell you all about how I got ready, what the experience was like on the day and then share some tips that I think would help out those of you thinking of attending your first craft fair. You can also watch my vlog of the whole process right here:
Part 1: Prep
The first thing I did was set a goal of how many charms and other items I wanted to make by the date of the fair. I did not actually meet my goal but I got pretty close! I wanted to make 200 charms and I ended up with around 150. I also made sure I had enough findings for each charm and I also bought some chain to make bracelets and necklaces.
I also decided that I wanted to make some crochet items for the fair, so I made two owl hats in adult sizes.
Once I had all of my stock ready, I needed to package it and think about what I was going to do when someone actually bought one of my charms. So I designed and printed out my packaging, got packets to put everything in and also got my business cards and thank you cards printed.
My sales bags were actually candy bags! And inside each one I placed a handwritten note and a thank you card.
I also had to think about the display. I knew I was going to have a table and two chairs provided for me, so I worked with that. I made a DIY display stand out of poster-board for one side of my table. On the other side I stacked boxes and covered them with some spare fabric that I had lying around.
Here’s my Prep List (Feel free to steal it and use it for your own craft fair prep!):
- Make new products
Goal: 100 Goal: 150
- Goal: 200
- Table cloth & Box covering fabric
- Stand & Pins
- Masking tape
- Storage for non-displayed items
- Shopping bags large
- Packaging for small items
- Bag for cash and receipts
- Credit Card Solution
- Receipt book & Pen
- Price all items (Luxury & Bargain)
- Business cards & thank you cards
Part 2: On the Day
The craft fair that I attended was actually part of a larger fete day at a local school. And the kid’s sports events started at 7am… Now if you know me at all then you know that I am not a morning person. At all. It was almost a deal breaker when I was told that I had to be there at 6am to set up…
But once I processed this information and steeled myself for an early day I was okay. Sort of… It’s winter here in the Southern Hemisphere and when I woke up it looked and felt like the middle of the night!
I ended up getting to the school at around 6:30am and was pretty much set up by the start of events at 7am.
I was really happy with how my stall turned out! I think it looked super cute, professional and pretty.
Cool stuff that happened
- I sold enough to cover what I paid for the stall and make some profit too.
- I connected with fellow crafters, especially my neighbors to the left and right.
- I got a lot of positive feedback about my charms and my hats, everyone seemed to think that they were really adorable.
- I handed out a few business cards, so there is the possibility of more business in the future.
- I walked around and was outside the whole day which I haven’t done in a long time.
Not so cool stuff that happened
- I was completely ‘jetlagged’ when I got home, and felt sick the rest of the weekend…
- I didn’t sell as much as I hoped I would.
- My thermos ran out of coffee way too soon…
Part 3: Tips
Tip 1: Have a credit card facility.
This is a must in today’s cashless society! I used SnapScan. It’s free to set up and only takes about a 3% commission when you make a sale. I’m so glad I got it because it actually came in handy! I know for sure that I would have missed out on sales if I didn’t have some way for people to pay with a card. I also like them because they don’t require an actual card machine, just the QR code. They do not sponsor me by the way! 😉
Tip 2: Bring as much as you can and more than you need
Even though I made way too much and didn’t sell as much as I thought, I’m glad I did. Because I was so overprepared my stall looked really impressive, and I had a good range of stuff to show people if they asked me any questions. I also brought all my tools and findings along, just in case someone wanted a variation on a charm on a necklace or earrings, I could do it right there. Always be prepared!
Tip 3: Talk to people, but don’t be pushy
This advice comes from many years of experience as a sales person. People think that in order to close the deal you need to push people and give them the hard sell. But I find that it’s better to talk pleasantly and politely to people and then back off. If they have questions, they will ask. If you breathe down their neck and chatter on about your wonderful stock they will most likely get annoyed and move on. So let the customer come to you!
Tip 4: Bring snacks and coffee, don’t spend your money!
One of the biggest mistakes people make, in my opinion, is that they don’t bring their own food to expos. The prices there are jacked-up by traders in order to make a profit, which is fine. But you are there to make money, not spend it! I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy something amazing if it catches your fancy, but don’t waste money on snacks, cold drinks and coffee. All of that can easily add up by the end of the day and eat into your profits.
Tip 5: Connect with other crafters
If you are just starting out and you don’t know many places where you can sell your craft, connect with other crafters. Spend your down time chatting to your neighbors and picking their brains. You might make a valuable connection that will further your creative business.
Bonus Tip: Have fun!
This was the tip that I wish I would have heeded myself! Even though organizing and packaging is so fun for me, I could have had more fun on the day itself. Don’t think that direct sales are the only goal of craft fairs, they are also a marketing opportunity and a market research opportunity. So get to know your target audience and get your brand out there with a smile and some enthusiasm. Because if you’re not excited about your brand, how can you expect everyone else to be?
Thank you so much for reading! Give yourself a high five if you got all the way to the end! I hope you enjoyed my musings and tips! Let me know in the comments if you think I missed something, or if you have any questions!
Next week I have something totally different for you! A little DIY project :3 So subscribe via email if you want to be notified of my next blog post. Till next time <3