Monday, October 12, 2009

Craft Show 101...

We had a wonderful time this weekend selling our wares at the Covered Bridge Festival. It's always nice to have some face to face conversations with customers. This was our third year at this particular show {the largest show we attend by far}. It's nice to see returning customers who have positive feedback about the items they've previously purchased. We sold a ton of soap and I definitely have my work cut out for me to get ready for the holiday season!
But today, inevitably, we're all recuperating from three very full days of being outside in the cold, eating deep fried everything, and hawking our wares! But I thought I'd share some craft show tips that I originally posted last year. I do not consider myself an expert but there are a few things that I've found to be very helpful and effective on the craft show circuit...

1) Allow customers to see, touch, smell, taste, try on, and try out your product (all that apply to what you make of I wouldn't recommend tasting soap).
Not only can you show off how amazing your stuff really is, but it also builds trust in your product. If you're willing to prove the quality of your products right there at the show, then customers will feel confident about purchasing. Have samples, testers, mirrors, etc. all available and encourage customers to try them.

2) Have clear pricing and good, descriptive signage.

Do not assume that if a customer has a question, they will ask. You are the expert about your products. Inform your customers. Make clean, professional looking signage giving customers the information you think they need to understand your products and why they would want them. For example, if you sell jewelry, tell them what kinds of metal you use, what type of stones you use, or what technique you use.

3) Greet everyone who comes to your stand and everyone that makes eye contact while walking past your stand.

Just say hello! Make small talk, but please don't be catty, gossipy, or annoying. Be informative, but not boastful. Be friendly, but not pushy. But definitely don't ignore your shoppers or make them feel like their potential business is not important to you.

4) Make your displays clean, organized, and thoughtful.

You don't want shoppers to feel overwhelmed when looking at your stand. Separate your items into themes or categories that make sense. Ask yourself how you shop. Look at popular stores that carry items similar to yours and see how their products are grouped and displayed. Figure out how you can apply that to your items. Put complimentary products next to one another. Make it very easy for customers to see what you have and allow your displays to casually suggest other items.

5) Come prepared.

Have plenty of cash and coins for change, tissues, paper towels, tape, scissors, pens, scratch paper, snacks, water, any tools you would need to make on-the-spot simple modifications to your product (if applicable), business cards, promotional coupons or postcards, etc.
6) Have a sale bin.
Having a bin/basket full of deeply discounted merchandise will appeal to the bargain shopper. This gets more people to try your products and they may end up loving them and becoming regular customers. Also, this helps you to move slow/un-popular/out of season merchandise. I always have some sort of sale bin and I rarely bring any of it back home. {But now, I said deeply discounted!} You may be loosing a bit on the product but at least you're moving the product and gaining potential customers.
I hope that is helpful to some of you out there. Craft shows can be very intimidating when you're first starting out. But as long as you know your product, you'll be fine. They become a very good selling tool for your business because you'll receive first hand knowledge of how people shop. And knowledge is power!
Happy Monday, y'all!


barbara October 12, 2009 at 9:44 PM  

i did my fair share of craft shows last summer and loved every minute of it. these are some great tips for anyone starting out.