How To Prepare for a Craft Show

When attending a craft show, there are more things necessary than just a bright smile and your inventory. It usually takes at least one day to prepare for everything to make sure that you’re well stocked up to make the best of your day and share the most that you can about your business with as many people as possible. Check out some Do’s and Don’ts for Craft Show Prep.

Do: Bring Snacks

Even though some events will have snacks there, and some will ask you not to bring in outside food, bringing along a bottled water and maybe an apple is always for the best. It doesn’t have to be a full lunch pale with all the snacks you think you might want to eat, but at least something to tide you over for long events. Water is always a necessity. Whether or not the event will have some, you may not be able to leave your booth to get some, so bringing it with you will always save you the trouble.

Do Not: Bring Things to ‘Keep You Occupied’

As a customer, there’s nothing less appealing that walking up to a booth that might be interesting and seeing that the booth owner doesn’t interact with you because they’re focused on something else. One should always engage customers, even if it’s with a short “hello” as they walk by. If you want someone to stop by your booth and engage, maybe even make a purchase, then you have to invest in them, even if it’s asking them how their day was. It’s understandable if you’re too shy to be so outgoing, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to engage like a pro and you’ll be so busy selling that you won’t even need something to keep you busy during the event.

Do: Bring All Your Supplies

Even if you think there will be tables, chairs, and other set up things there, always bring your own. Better to have and not need than to need and not have. Some events will have designated space and prefer that you use their supplies, and that’s fine. You’ll have to work with what they have if they insist. Most times, you have to bring your own things. Make sure you’ve got your table, your table cloth, any specific display props, and, most importantly, your inventory! Bringing other smaller supplies that you may not always need, but are good to have, include extension cords, light, tie cords and weights, a small first aid kit, and other such things. Even if it turns out that you don’t need to use those things, your booth neighbor might need a helping hand.

Do Not: Go Alone

If you can, bring someone with you. There is, of course, nothing wrong with going alone with your shows, I have done that before, and it was nice. There are advantages to never going alone. If there’s at least one volunteer with you, you’ll be able to leave the booth for a short moment to do things like use the restroom, get food, or simply stretch your legs if it’s a long show. When you go alone, you must attend your booth at all times. Not only for the sake of missing out on a sale, but also because most events require someone to always be manning a both, making things like restroom or foods breaks much more difficult. Besides, it’s nice to have someone to chat with if it gets a little slow.

Do: Remember Cash for Change

Probably the easiest thing to forget to bring to a show is change! You should always have 5’s and 1’s, the rest will usually be given to you throughout the course of the show. Depending on your price ranges, quarters may also be a big help. I never start with less than $15 worth of change, but recommended is $30. That will allow for enough change to start your first couple sales just right. If your prices are higher, consider bringing a larger amount of change to start. It’s also important to bring something for your cash to be in so that you don’t have to pull out large wads to make change. A small or simple cash box will work, or an apron with pockets that you can separate the bills into so it will be easier to make change.

For those of you that prefer card readers, they are very important for making a sale that you’d miss out on if you’re cash only, but don’t rely on as many people using a card as they would cash. Depending on the venue and target market, the majority of shoppers will have planned to go and will know to bring cash. If you don’t have a reader and you’re cash only, make sure you give them a way go reach you outside of the event, for those few that prefer to never carry cash.

Do Not: Tear Down Early

Whether the event is unsuccessful or you sell out of inventory, packing up early is never a good idea. Even if you’re out of inventory, there are still opportunities to pass out information about your business or do a little bit of networking. Benefits aside, leaving an event early can reflect negatively on you. Some event hosts may not invite you back, since early take down is usually frowned upon. After all, vendors can build reputations in a small community just like an event host. Keeping things professional, even at an event you consider a bust, is always for the best for both you and any potential customers.

Do: Consider your Display

It may not seem as important, but a display can often make or break your success at any given event. Customers are less likely to come over to a table that looks disorganized at first glance. If your display is thought out and well executed, even if it’s simple, you’re more likely to have better foot traffic to your table, which could turn into potential sales. If you’re not sure how to display a particular product that you make, taking notes from other vendors or doing research on Pinterest can really help things along. Your display should be consistent with your product and brand. Even if you find some unused boxes or Tupperware around the house to use, it should be made to match your themes. If a customer looks at your table and can’t figure out what sort of theme or vibe you’re trying to create, they’re not as likely to stay at your table.

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