When I wrote this, I was planning on doing something I said I would never do again: Work a craft show. My stomach…well, it had other plans, so while I still have yet to do what I said I would never do again, I am confident in what it takes to have a successful craft show/market. It has maybe been a while, but I still know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two (million).
What does it take to have a successful show?
- A SOLID ATTITUDE: It is important know that “success” can’t just be measured by the dolla doll bills, y’all. I go into shows knowing they are just as much for brand awareness than anything else. Even if someone doesn’t buy, they are still interacting with my business and it creates a touchpoint. They say it eight touch points/interactions before someone makes a purchase, so this is a huge way to create an even bigger impact that might lead to sales down the road. TIP: Be prepared to collect emails and build that list through craft shows. This is the new business card, as we can catch them just as easily as they can get us.
- A GOOD POS: No, that’s not an oxymoron. POS is the abbreviation for point of sale. Sales are more efficient and easier to obtain using something like a Square over just relying on Venmo or PayPal. It is more trustworthy, and it ups the professional quotient quite a bit. It makes making money that much more enjoyable.
- A SIMPLISTIC SET UP: The more there is, the more that can go wrong. I know this first-hand from my first run as a handcrafter a decade ago. The more convoluted and constructed a set-up is, the more trouble. Keep it basic at the beginning and build on it. I get wanting to be cute and cohesive, but customers also need clear communication, which sometimes gets hidden behind displays. I remember one time someone disassembled my set up because it wasn’t clear that the suitcases displaying my sweater mittens were not for sale. As it is with words goes for anything visual: Clear communication is key.
- A CORE COLLECTION OF ITEMS: I sell a lot of different things, but I don’t bring all the things to every show. A late August show is going to have a different vibe than a Black Friday market. It is easy to believe you need to bring everything, but you can create a really curated inventory for each show (and if anyone wonders “where’s this item?” you can direct them to your site/Etsy)
- A WATER BOTTLE: You are going to talk. A lot. Bring a bottle along to make sure you are sounding as excited as you are!
What questions do you have about craft shows?
Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer (and handcrafter and designer on the side). She provides services to elegant, authentic, sentimental couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest! See more about the KLP Wedding Experience!