Hi, my name is Erika and I own Midwest Family Life, a sewing and quilting business for moms and babies. I started selling my products a about a year ago on Etsy and haven’t looked back. Today I’m going to give you a two-part article on selling at craft fairs. Part 1 is the nuts and bolts of doing one. Part 2 will be about what I’ve learned and tips that might help you be successful.
My business really took off after I had success at a local craft fair (one of the largest Fall Fests in our area). From that point on I got really excited and started booking more craft fairs for the entire 2014 year. This post will hopefully give you some pointers on how to manage yourself at a craft fair. Hopefully it will inspire you or educate you so that you can help your own business.
I will preface this that although my first experience was good, things started going downhill and I have actually backed away from craft fairs and probably won’t do many anymore. Craft fairs aren’t for every business. With that being said, maybe your business is the right one that does super!
I want to do a craft fair, what do I need?
So, you want to do a craft fair? There is a lot of prep that goes into doing one of these. They really end up taking so much time from you; from the products you need to make to sell to the time it takes to set up and sit there. I did most of my fairs with another seller (friend) who made a complimentary product, this way we shared the expense of the booth and were able to walk around and take bathroom breaks. Fees around me (Wisconsin) are anywhere from $40-$150/fair, depending on the location. It adds up fast!
2. Once you have a good fair to attend, really work on your booth. You only have 10 square feet to give off an impression of your business and your product. You want people to wander in. Make sure your tables and booth space are an extension of you and your business. If you don’t put a lot of thought into your space, customers will assume you don’t put a lot of thought into your product. Pinterest is amazing for inspiration!! I have started gathering ideas on a Craft Fair board here. Take a look and get inspired. Start collecting ideas to paint a really great space for yourself! The photos above and below are one of my recent booths.
3. Pack the night ahead and make a check list. If you plan on doing a lot of fairs, make a little “craft fair kit” of things you’ll need for every event. Things like rope, tape, scissors, cash, square reader, etc. You can find a very comprehensive list here.
4. Patience and a smile. You are selling your product. Work on finding the balance between jumping on each customer when they even glance at your booth and ignoring them so much you seem uninviting. Really work on reading your customer and knowing when to say something. Since I sell baby things I tried to open my conversation with things like, “Your baby is so cute, how old is she?” “How many grandkids do you have?” “You look great, when are you due?” It was my way of approaching them but in a soft way– not so much about my products, but about the customer.
5. If you want to push your brand make sure people know who your brand is. Have a sign that’s easy to read! I purchased the small, outdoor banner from Vistaprint. It was only $17. A small price to pay for a durable sign that can be used over and over. But, make sure you practice hanging it because they aren’t as easy as you would think. I’ve tried clips, string– depending on the wind, you’ll want to have different options in your kit.
This should get you a start on selling at craft fairs. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the post– my tips, tricks, and lessons learned. Good luck and remember to have fun! After all, you started this business because of your passion. Live it and love it.