If craft is your thing, you’re more than likely at some point bound to be considering exhibiting at a craft fair or show. Whether you’re doing it as a way of earning a few extra pounds or you’re hoping that it could be the start of a retail empire, there can be no denying that selling at a craft fair can be one of the best ways of making an impact - both to showcase your wares and more importantly to sell them. It’s not just a matter of turning up though and hoping that the crowds flock to your stall - there’s a little more to it than that. Here are some basic tips for Selling at Craft Fairs that hopefully should help.
Do your Research There are so many craft fairs these days yet choosing the right one for you can take a little time. Put some effort into researching what other exhibitors are likely to be there, what the average attendance is like, perhaps even the demographics of the typical attendee. The event organiser should be able to provide you with details on all these areas. Having this info will help you to decide if your products and crafts will fit in and complement the fair itself and also to determine if your typical target customers are likely to be attendees. There is no point in exhibiting at a craft fair if your products are unlikely to be of interest to the fair’s usual customers.
Get the Pricing Right When you are researching, it might be also worthwhile to determine what other stall-holders or potential competitors typically charge for similar products to your own. There is no point in pricing yourself much too cheaply and likewise in pricing yourself way out of the market. Our tips on pricing your handmade goods or crafts should hopefully help with this too.
Stock matters If it’s your first craft fair or perhaps your first time selling at this particular one, it can be perhaps a little difficult to figure out exactly how much stock you should take. It’s best sometimes to err on the side of caution and take along a little more than you are likely to sell. An empty stall or stand is far from appealing from a customer perspective. Therefore try and ensure you have adequate stock so that a visitor at the end of the day gets as good an impression as one of the early bird arrivals. Remember though, if you do run out of stock, you could always set up an order book and take orders or commissions so that your time is not entirely wasted.
Perfect your Stall set-up It’s likely you will have a little time before any customers arrive to get set up and ready for the onslaught of sales. In order to ensure that you don’t waste that time, make sure that you have your stand layout planned in advance. Know how you are going to merchandise your products - even if it means practicing before the day itself. Many exhibitors take photos of what their stall should look like so that on the day itself, they can simply copy the photo thereby saving themselves considerable time. If you are still merchandising during ’opening hours’ you are wasting valuable selling time.
Remember the Practicals There are a whole host of practical things to consider when you are selling at a craft fair - from ensuring that you are dressed appropriately - warm clothing is a must in a draughty village hall after all - through to ensuring that you have sufficient change to be able to deal with any potential cash transactions. Remember - customers can be impatient and if you have to run around all the other stalls in order to give a customer his or her change, you could actually end up losing them and any potential sale.
Promote your Work Some customers, like it or not are there to browse and have no intention of ever buying on the day. However that doesn’t mean they will never buy from you. Make sure that you have any business cards, or flyers or links to your website or ecommerce store available and accessible for all customers. If they like your work, they are likely to want to pick up a card where they can either see more of it or even potentially buy it at a later date - therefore don’t waste the opportunity. Promote yourself whenever you can.
Watch and Learn When you do attend a fair, don’t be so engrossed in your own stall that you miss out what is happening with other stallholders and exhibitors. Do a little ‘competitor check’ if you like and see if you can pick up any ideas that potentially could work for you too. Look at displays, or promotions that they may be running and identify what is going down well with customers. We’re not of course suggesting that you then simply replicate what others are doing, but instead use what they are doing as a way to perhaps get some hints and tips on what is helping them sell.
We hope that these basic tips on selling at craft fairs help the next time you’re doing just that.
If you like what you see here on Startacus, why not become a member of our growing community? It's free! And you'll get all this - exclusive access to our Business Toolkit, discounts and offers galore for your business via our member only business deals, the chance to network and connect with loads of fellow self-starters, and maybe even become our celebrated 'Self-Starter of the Week' and tell the world your startup tale! Join right here for free
Mi-IDEA Manchester looks for disruptive startups
11th Apr 2017
Tech Startups take note - this Manchester evening meetup on 26th April 17, will give you all the key info you need to know about the Manchester based MI-IDEA post accelerator programme...