Craft Fairs and Shows: What to Bring and Display Considerations
I decided to put my two cents about craft fairs here on HubPages. I'm providing a variety of considerations for your display, a general check list, and a check list for outdoor shows. There is no single article out there that will provide you with everything you could possibly want or need to know about having a craft fair booth. This hub is not intended to be some all-encompassing guide for you. Instead, I simply hope that this will provide some new insight for you. If you have questions about anything (whether I do or don't cover it here), please drop me a line or leave a comment.
Check your show guidelines about table coverings. Some shows have very specific guidelines about this. Others don't. I use plain black bed sheets ($4 each at Wal-Mart), with music fabric (about $4 a yard at Jo-Ann's) over them. There are many possibilities for table coverings. Make sure that what you use coordinates with and does not distract from your items.
How do your display components (i.e. shelves, necklace displays, etc.) fit with your work? Do they fit with your table coverings? I decided to use the music fabric because sheet music backgrounds were my original photo trademark on Etsy.
Where you sit / stand
I have had the most people approach my booth when I'm sitting or standing behind my tables. Fewer people come over when I'm standing out in front. Experiment with different positioning and see what works the best for you.
The set up that works for you for one show may not work for another simply because booth sizes will vary at different shows. If necessary, do "test run" set ups at home. This will ensure that your set up process goes much more smoothly at the fair.
Price tags / price displays
Even though I tag all of my items individually, I also include price displays. No matter how clear you are about your pricing, you will still get questions. Be as thorough as possible.
Do you want anything else out on your tables? I constructed table weights for my outdoor shows, which I use for indoor shows as well as pen holders. You can see them in my link above for price displays. I also have some simple photo displays with pictures of favorite pieces, custom orders, and sold items.
You should definitely have some sort of shop display sign. If you are clueless about designing one, enlist a crafty friend to help you. Consider other information that you should have at your booth, too. I addition to my price displays, I also have a sign about my payment options and a sign about trying on earrings (which I do encourage).
Many indoor shows have the option for electricity (almost always for an extra cost). Some artists choose to use this to provide additional lighting for their show. Personally, I have never done this and haven't felt like I missed out, but it's something to consider. If you are considering lighting, check out this resource.
If you will not be against a wall or other barrier outdoors, I highly recommend a back wall for your tent so people will not be tempted to wander into the back of your tent. I've included links for some additional tents at the end of this hub. A lot of big box and bulk stores (Sam's, Costco, etc.) also carry these tents in the summer and fall.
At outdoor craft shows, I have solely relied on cement blocks, which I got for $4 each at Lowe's to weigh down my tent. The cement blocks work well, but I would advise adding additional weight, such as weight bags or cement weight plates. Some people also use sand filled buckets or gallon jugs filled with water. Do not skimp on this area! You never know when it will get very windy. For more on this subject, visit Craft Professional.
As I mentioned above, I use votives filled with decorative stones for my table weights/pen holders. This is a simple, colorful, and inexpensive option that you can put together for $15 or less at Wal-Mart or Michael's. If you have a lot of raised displays for your items, you can sometimes hide weightier items (books, etc.) underneath them for additional weight.
Yarn / string and safety pins
I highly recommend securing your table coverings and signs with string and safety pins. Even a slight breeze can lift items more than you would like.
You can cut down the number of safety pins that you use for your table coverings with tablecloth clips. Last year, I was able to track some down at Target in the camping section. They came with a picnic table cloth. The ones I found were silver so they don't distract from the table. You can usually hide them under your item displays if they do distract.
Dressing in layers
My final piece of advice for outdoor shows is to dress in layers. This is especially important if your show starts early in the day and runs until mid/late afternoon, you never know how the weather might change over the course of the day. It isn't fun to be really cold or hot for a large part of a show. Be prepared!
This list includes everything else that is helpful to have at a craft fair.
All signs. (See display considerations)
Business cards/holder. I use a napkin holder that I got at Target for my business cards. It's the perfect size.
Repair/alternation tools. You never know when something will need a last minute fix or when someone will request a quick alternation.
Extra price tags.
All display materials.
Mirrors. I have a handheld and one that props up on the table. If you sell wearable items, it's extremely helpful for buyers to view how they look when they're wearing them.
Photo of sold/custom work. If you do custom work (i.e. scrapbooks), I highly recommend this. If you have electricity for your booth, you can run a slideshow on your laptop.
Mailing list sign up.
Vendor apron. I got one through Etsy. Unfortunately, the shop I used is no longer active, but there are lots of other Etsy shops that do offer vendor aprons. Some people opt to use a money box, but I greatly prefer the apron. Interested in making your own? Check this out.
Change. I usually bring around $200 in assorted bills. This has always been more than enough.
Custom order form. If someone does request a custom item, you'll be ready.
Credit card equipment. (See links below.) I highly encourage you to take credit cards. In this day and age, there's really no reason not to and you may miss out on sales by not doing it.
Clorax or other sanitizing wipes. This is a must if you're at a festival with food. It's also a must if you make earrings and people can try them on.
Camera. It's great to post pictures of your show on your blog, Facebook fan page, etc.
Information about upcoming shows.
Jewelry boxes/packaging supplies.
Easy to eat snacks/food.
Tape. I usually bring Scotch, packing, and duct tape.
Inventory list. Prepare a list of your current inventory before any craft show. Check off items that sell as you go. If the show is too busy to allow for this (which is a great thing!), you can check them off later, using your receipts.
Craft fair advice (tips, displays, my experience) | dandilynn
Additional Craft Fair Resources
- Shipping and Packaging Resources for Online Jewelry Sellers
Looking for jewelry boxes, organza bags, business cards, or other wrapping supplies? Check out my shipping and packing resources hub.
- Square – Accept credit card payments with your mobile phone
Accept credit card payments anywhere with your iPhone, iPad or Android phone. Download the free Square app to get started.
- Credit Card Imprinters | Credit Card Imprint Machines
If you don't have a smart phone device or app for credit cards, you may want a credit card imprinter.
- Retail Sales Supplies - Artbeads.com
Stock up on price tags!
- View Tasteful Half Aprons by Foodphyte on Etsy
Great resource for vendor aprons.
- Sale Special: Canopy Tents (canopymasters.com)
Any and all accessories for tent and canopys.
- Canopy | Pop Up Tents | Canopies Tents - HutShop.com
DIY Packaging Tips for Handmade Jewelry
More resources for handmade vendors from the author.
- How to Sell Handmade Crafts
This article is about how to sell handmade crafts. It includes information about getting started, selling locally, selling online, and then taking the next steps with your business.
- How to Sell Handmade Greeting Cards
This article is about selling handmade greeting cards. It includes information about getting started, important considerations to make, and taking the next steps.
- How to Sell on Etsy: Creating a Professional Etsy Store
This article is about how to create a professional Etsy store so you can sell on Etsy successfully. It includes information about setting up your shop, taking the next steps, and keeping your customers happy.
© 2011 Rose Clearfield
More by this Author
The next time your garden hose wears out, don't throw it away! Instead recycle or repurpose it into something useful or decorative. From sprinklers to vases to wreaths, the possibilities are endless.
This article is about how to price homemade craft items. It includes the most commonly used formulas for baseline, retail, and wholesale pricing as well as advice on everything from comparing the prices of similar...
This article is a collection of sample interview questions and answers for special education teachers. It also contains a number of tips and considerations for the interview.