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How to Increase Sales at Arts and Crafts Fairs

Updated on January 4, 2015
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Marian (aka Azure11) has been working as a professional artist since 2006 and has sold over 600 paintings in that time.

Are You Trying to Make Money at Craft Fairs?

Many artists and crafters just do what they do for the love of it and are not interested in selling their handmade wares. However, there is an increasing number of people who are trying to either just make some extra money on the side or even make a full time income out of selling their homemade arts and crafts. In fact home made seems to be the new fashion and if you want to stand out from the crowd you will really need to be the best sales person and have great products in order to get more sales.

If you are serious about selling at arts and crafts fairs then there are a few keys things that you should think about when setting out your paintings, pottery, jewellery, cards, or whatever you have to sell, so that they look more attractive to buyers.

Firstly you need to find the fairs to sell at. One good place to look is Festival net who have a list of thousands of arts and crafts fairs that take place across the US and Canada (sorry if you are outside this area, perhaps there is something similar in your country).

Craft fairs are very popular ways of selling handmade products, but go the extra mile with your display.
Craft fairs are very popular ways of selling handmade products, but go the extra mile with your display.

Creating a Good Display

One of the most important things in making more sales at craft fairs is to think about your display. Find out what you get given by the market organisers and then improve on this. For example if they just give you a white tablecloth for your table then take along your own one that will enhance what you are selling - for example get some black velvet if this will set your jewellery off nicely, or maybe some red silk. Hessian is also a current trend on displaying goods and is pretty cheap as well. If your display is eye-catching then you are more likely to get people coming to take a look.

Also, invest in some display cases or even just boxes that you can put under your cloth so that the display has different levels - if you just have a flat table full of your goods that is not going to look very professional and will not make people want to look further. It doesn't have to be anything expensive if you hide it under a cloth anyway. Try to get some of your products near eye level to draw people in too. If you can create multi levels not only does it give you a better display area but it also looks more professional. In addition you will likely be able to fit in more goods than you would otherwise.

It also helps to show your work in situ - whether this be a small mannequin for your jewellery or a laminated photo of your art in someone's home, this gives the buyer an idea of how the finished product will look. Dress it up to give the buyer the experience that you might be trying to sell.

Labeling of your goods can be done by hand and still look professional.
Labeling of your goods can be done by hand and still look professional.

Pricing and Labelling

There are two camps in the art and craft fairs that I go to - those who prefer to mark everything with prices and those who wait for people to ask (and maybe quote different prices to different people!). I am firmly in the camp of the former as I believe that if I was a buyer I would like to see prices on everything that I look at without having to ask for each one. Yes, you can possibly be negotiable if you want to but if you give people a ball park idea of your prices at least they know if they are in your price range or not.

Make sure that your prices and labels look professional. They do not have to be printed necessarily as long as you have used proper labels and have good handwriting! A scrappy piece of torn off paper will not do!

Promotional Material

It almost goes without saying that you must have business cards. You do not need to order these in vast quantities to start off with - you can just as easily print some off on your home computer if you are just starting out. Maybe customise them with a splash of paint or else a glued on crystal to give them that extra edge. Make sure you have an email address, contact phone number and preferably a website to where people can view your products. It does not cost much these days to set up a small website with some images on that looks very professional. Many hosting providers offer small websites with customised templates where all you need to do is add a few details. Some even offer free websites although the catch with these is that you usually end up with some advertising on then which may not look very professional.

It can also be useful to have small brochures available and a portfolio for customers to look through - you can print your own trifold brochures through Microsoft Publisher and have these available if someone is particularly interested in your work. I keep these handy in case I have interior designers come to my stall and they want to go away with something with a bit more information and some pictures of my work.

Make a List of Potential Clients

One of the key things to do is to get a list of potential customers. So have a clipboard or similar at your stall asking for email addresses so that you can collect this data and let people know where you will be selling in the future. Also you can keep them up to date with any special offers that you might have.

This is a key marketing tool and is often overlooked by people when they start out but if you can get a list of potential and actual customers then this is surely going to help your sales.

When it comes time for your next craft fair you can let people know where you are going to be by sending out an email in advance to those who have signed up.

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