Thursday, January 19, 2012

Getting ready for another Show Season!

As the show season gets ready to kick into high gear for me, I thought I might take a few minutes to rehash the Do’s and Don’ts and some common mistakes of Craft Shows. When I first started Art & Craft Shows (and occasionally still) I find myself committing some of these blunders – so if this helps anyone at all, then it is a successful night of show prepping.

1. Little or no inventory for sale. If you don’t have enough inventory and variety of inventory to sell, don’t plan on any sales during the event. In the past I have seen more sales from an overstuffed, but well presented booth, than from an under stocked booth. I always bring at least one whole box of back up stock (for me that is about 40 bags) in the hopes that I need to restock all of it.

2. No signage. I know some shows won’t allow outside signage, but a banner hung inside or even smaller signage around the booth with help promote and entice the customer into the booth. Another thing to keep prominent is pricing. I have found if some people look and don’t see a price they assume it might be too expensive and venture on. I have also seen people who will look, but just don’t want to ask pricing (you know the ones who don’t want you to speak to them) and then leave if they cant find the price themselves.

3. Business cards. I have finally found that I can never have enough cards. Always take more than you think you will give out. I have had several people call me after the show to see if that adorable bag they saw was still available. So, therefore, stock up on cards and giveaway promotional materials.

4. Don’t attack the customers – but don’t ignore them either. After 5 years of shows, I still haven’t figured this one out yet, but I have found a few tips that help. Occasionally a simple “Hello” or “How are you doing today?” or “Is it cold/warm enough for you out there?” gets their attention. Let them know you’re not a total slug, but allow the customers to look in peace. Sometimes I get a response, sometimes not. Either way, I have at least tried.

5. Welcoming and Attractive Displays. This is one of my favorite areas. I spend my summer months working on a new display for my fall/winter season. I try to keep is fresh and accessible, always changing the look each season, to keep up with the ‘brick & mortar” stores. They all have great window displays, and so I make my booth the same way. Repeat customers will not be bored with a new display and might even buy something they overlooked last time they stopped in since it is now featured.

Well that about sums up what I have been focusing on the week. I hope that any of these tips help anyone with their next show. Just remember, take a deep breath and smile! Let the shows begin!

Gypsy Blue


  1. Great tips!! and I agree with the 'changing it up' one. I have seen people go by booths commenting 'oh yeah, I saw her stuff last time' and not stop. But a whole new look and I've seen customers come back and buy again...thinking I am a different seller

  2. Thanks! Great tips!

    I like to have a Giveaway. Just a simple, leave your name and email and I will draw a winner for $X gift certificate or product. It gets people to leave their contact information so you can follow up after the show and tell them where to find you between shows and can be an icebreaker.

    Also, don't forget weights for your tent. An extra cinder block or two can go a long way for keeping your tent secure if the wind picks up and I have seen too many tents blow over in the past.

  3. Great ideas! Thanks for adding them! Love the giveaway idea - gets people more involved in the booth and your art/craft.

    1. No problem! I learned from other people in the first place. :) I thought your tips were great and am glad this information was shared. It can be overwhelming to commit to your first show and sometimes we stress so much that we end up not doing it. If someone is thinking about doing a show, start small and go! Borrow as many of the expensive supplies as you can from friends (tents, tables, etc) until you know its something you want to keep doing. Then add the custom displays and your own tent. If part of why you started a business is to meet other people and share your talent, then shows may be right up your alley.

  4. this is my first time here, melissa, and I love the information you are sharing here especially for some starters or for someone who thinks of doing the same thing.

  5. Thank you so much for the great tips : ) This is my very first art/craft show season and I've participated in 2 shows so far (with great success) and 3 more coming up in the month of March. I have to say that I am absolutely amazed by how helpful the other vendors have been in giving tips and leads on other shows that might work for me! Up until now I've sold exclusively online and the best part has been to actually meet my customers and see their reaction to my work! All in all it's been a wonderful and lucrative experience!!!

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