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RobinInOR

Tips for Craft Fairs?

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I hope I am not repeating anyone else's comments - but if I am, I apologize.

so - above all else - smile, be friendly

and as much as it may kill ya at times -

do not turn your back on your audience (yep, the crowd is your Audience)

You are on display too!

If you are the shy type - bring an outgoing friend with you for assistance.

Someone to make you laugh, help you keep an eye on products, and an eye on you (and vice versa)

1. Don't talk people ears off (or tell them your life story)

2. Ask questions and be interested in them.

3. Create a traffic flow with your booth - if possible. You want folks to come in and look - so I have made it so that folks will come IN to the booth area (if this is possible)

Finally - have a good time.

Thank you for listening

Jules

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Coming in on this thread late and a lot of good suggestions have been made..

To add, don't complain about any shows or promoters. I have listened to my show neighbors run down shows/promoters during slow times with customers in my booth hearing all the fuss. The last thing they will do when they leave my booth is go into theirs.

Take credit cards, many come to shows with cash to spend, but it is nice if they can get everything they want because they can put some purchases on a card rather than not take something home.

Dedicate certain things just to shows. I have a box that has my 'office' stuff.. pens, biz card holder, cc machine, and such that has those items in it and they stay in it. That way I never have to wonder if AI got my stapeler. I am working on other boxes that hold my decorations, extension cords and display boxes.

Have fun. Even if you don't do as well as you might have wanted, look at the experience. Do you need to reevaluate your products, that show, the weather..

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We (my DH & I) usually have a votive for each scent lined up in the front of the table display with a scent label so the customers can smell them. That way they not taking votives out of their display boxes and marking them up when they put them back. We would pick out the scents they want and individually wrap them and bag them (with practice you can be very fast,lol!). I always throw in my business card, info sheet about my products and an event flyer if I have one.

Always have a price sheet for all your products in a visible spot .

I think it's also important to invest in a big business sign so people can see from the distance and come to your booth. My DH made a 6ft wooden sign out of a thin plywood,stained it,stencilled the lettering on and finished it off with a trim. It looks beautiful and very light too.

Like they say "if you build it they will come" LOL!!

What a great thread, I learned quite a few new things too!

Shannon

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Just to add to the topic here, I wanted to mention something we tried and turned out to be great idea....

~Scents grouped by type~

We made two very separate sides of our table, one side with the bakery scents, one side with fruits, florals, and blends. In the middle is our "odd" jars and specialty items (aka "attention grabbers"). We also put all the Christmas scents in the middle at the last show, and it worked rather well. Durring the summer our berry scents sat, and those all sold very well.

We've noticed people "hang" to one side or the other, depending on the time of year and their scent preferences. It's done wonders for our sales, because they can zero in on their favorites easier.

----------------------

Also, don't make your customers hunt for what they want. I know this was mentioned, but I want to stress it - TALK TO THEM!

Ask them what type of scents they like, and if they say "anything", point them to the top seller or most "unique". We point out scents not everyone has, or sometimes what's perfect for the season (a Christmas scent in the fall or early winter, Green Tea & Cucumber in the spring, berry scents in the summer, etc).

-----------------------

I also agree with mentioning what other shows you'll be at, because we've had a lot come hunt us down at the same show the following year, or the next show in the area. It may even be helpful to print out a list of shows you'll be doing, or keep them handy on your website. When a past customer is there raving, you'll have more NEW customers buying. :cool2:

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Once you are all set up, take a look at your table/booth from the side(s) your customer sees. Looking at everything through the eyes of the customer, you might notice something that you wouldn't from your selling position. I do shows with a friend & one morning when everything that could go wrong, did, we were hurrying to set up & she placed all of her labels on one side of the table facing US. It got busy very fast & we didn't realize the mistake until a customer mentioned it about 30 mins into the show. She has been doing shows for 16 yrs and never made this mistake before but was just rattled over the events of the morning & having to hurry.

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I went to our county fair over the weekend. They don't have a craft fair, but a vendor building. To my surprise, there were THREE soy candle people there. Two were home companies, one was Mia Bella. I stopped at all three booths. At all three, the person/people running it were lounging in the back of the booth in their chairs. I picked up two products at all three, sniffed, and passed to my husband to smell. NOT ONE said ONE word to either of us. NOT ONE seemed interested that we were there. I wasn't going to buy anything, but they didn't know that. If I had been looking to buy, I wouldn't have because of that. Maybe it's just me, but if you can't show some interest in your potential customer, why should I give you my hard-earned money? :confused:

Now the one booth did something I liked, and similar to what's been mentioned. She had only jelly jars, but at the front of the tables, she had opened ones to sniff. That way no one is messing with the lids, etc.

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I find so many crafters sitting at the back reading and not paying any attention to their table. I am surprised they don't have a box sitting on the table to put your money in and bag your stuff...

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I have so enjoyed reading and reading here. I'm preparing for my 1st big show in November, so believe me I'm taking notes!

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I'm planning ahead for my first show next year, and this thread is going to be an invaluable resource to me. Thanks so much for all the good ideas! :)

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My secret buddy kindly pointed me to this thread!! Thanks buddy!!:D

Alot of really interesting stuff in here!! As I'm gearing to start a couple of shows this year, I found this info invaluable!!

Thank you to all of the contributors!!:cool2:

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yes definetly pay attention to everyone. always say hello and thanks for stopping. i too see vendors at shows sitting talking to each other, having a picnic, and ignoing their potential customer. i hate nothing more than showing interest in a product only to have to kiss the vendors butt to get any info or even a crack of a smile. i don't even sit when i see a customer coming. customer service is every business's #1 priority for a reason. have fun and customers will too.

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DO NOT smoke in your booth. YUCK! To raise your tables up, you can cut PVC pipe to the lenght that you want. They just slip right on the legs. I saw this at a show, and was impressed. It is easy to cut. I use a slated wooden box. I turn it upside down and burn 4 candles underneath it. It makes a nice riser. It keeps the wind from blowing them out, and keeps young fingers from getting burned. It also smells up your booth. I also take my little stereo and play cute uplifting music. I only do it loud enough for my customers to hear. It makes them dance around and feel happy. And if all else fails, I put my Pomeranian on the table for people to pet. He loves it, and it brings in the customers. You got to do what you got to do. :highfive:

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Outside shows, I take a kick butt stereo and play oldies that people dance around to. I don't play it real loud. Most of the vendors want me to turn it up. I also take one of my little dogs to sit on the table. A real dog. People love to pet them. I also burn candles under a crate. It is big enough not to burn the wood, and the slates keep the wind from blowing them out. One more trick. I open a few candles on the table. The people will pick those up first. I make sure they are my best sellers. Make bright signs. Do anything to have lots of energy in your booth. This all draws a crowd. We have been doing them for 9 years. I got it down pat. :wave: Now if people just had money, everything would be cool. lol

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I agree with what everyone else has posted. One thing that helps me big time is I sewed myself a money apron instead of having a cash box. It has a place for cash, change, checks (if you accept them) my receipt slips, so on and so on. I cant constantly keep my eye on the cashbox and this way I always had my money right on me for discreet counting and so on.. it was a big hit and I actually had 8 other vendors at the show order them from me! I could never go back to using a box now.

I always pack snacks/food.. water bottles.. more business cards than I ever think I will need..

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I agree with everyone about the fact that your should pay attention to your customers but I also feel you should not pounce on them to try to sell them something they don't want. You have to find the fine line between helpful and desperate to make a sale!

I guess I am just one of those people who like to look and not be bothered with a hard sell. It is such a turn off. I know what I want and I don't need someone telling me what I want. If I have any questions I will ask.

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I attended a particular craft fair twice this summer at the beach (both of the holiday weekends). I was interested in the candle booth which was staffed by a gentleman. I don't know what it was, but both times I was turned off, and believe me, I could live at candle booths and anywhere there are candles. So I do believe that attitude and how you present yourself is everything.

I also agree with the photo taking idea. I wish I had taken pictures of all the craft shows I did in the past. Not only for memories, but to recall the products and how they were laid out. Sometimes it jogs the memory of things that worked in the past.

Jackie

Edited by Sara

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Have boxes available to put your product into for your customer or also sell the boxes. GiftBoxOutlet.com has all sizes that work well for crafts.

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I've seen a lot of people asking how much inventory to take. My *general* rule of thumb is that my booth rental should be 10-15% of my sales, if that helps any. There are contributing factors - weather, what time of year it is (spring sales slip to 20%) - fund raisers for church-based private schools can go down to 5%. I have been doing festivals, fairs and craft shows for about 7 years. Farmers Markets run about the same percentage for me, but are stretched over the entire season, I make herbal soap. Also, I sell the product, I don't just have a product for sale.

My tip is this: there will always be a vendor or two griping about something to do with the show. Get them out of your booth as soon as possible. Never, never, never say anything negative about *anything* to anybody.

Also - dress professional and compliment your products. My booth is brick red and tan with the table top being checked. I always wear a red polo shirt and capris - I never thought this mattered until my daughter showed up in a wildly flowered blouse. Kind of clashed with the red checks when she stood behind the table :shocked2:

Best to all!

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My only tip that won't sound like a broken record is accept credit cards! I found a great place that I can phone in a credit card number (and keep a knuckle buster copy for myself) and I still make a great profit! My sales at shows have drastically increased after I started taking credit cards at shows. If you want the info, PM me and I can get you the link to their site. I think it's $40 for set-up, $8/month for statement fees, and only 3.85% per transaction for fees. This is the best I've found in the three years that I've been looking credit card processing - it's even better than the Pal's rates when you bust out and do the math (I had my hub do it for me - I suck at math!). Best of all if you have a cell phone signal (or just on of those knuckle buster machines - you can take a chance and call it in later if you want) - you can take a credit card and none of those stupid terminals to buy!

Just my 2 cents...

Life & Light!

Tish

I use Squareup.com. No set up fees, no monthly fees, and no this % for this but this much for that. It is a flat 2.5% and I get my money the next business day! The swipe takes a little getting used to but I can email or text receipts (they get it immediatley). Also, I can check my CC sales at anypoint! Don't need electricity, because I use my smart phone. I have barely used any data for it and so far it works anywhere my cell phone does! I love this. When you are starting up, you need to keep costs as low as possible. I pay nothing if I don't use it too!

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I know this was old and dug back up but I love reading everyone's tips over the years. Here are the three things I always try to remember at shows:

1. Greet everycustomer like a friend you haven't seen in a while. I was by a vendor who really had it down. She has a big warm smile and always says how are you like she has known each one for years. She told me she had to practice to get the right tone to seem like a long lost friend and not a stalker and it increased her business almost immediately.

2. Never say Thank You unless you have made a sale. I read a book on sales techniques at booth sales and one of their most important tips was that when a vendor says Thank You it is a signal to a customer or potential customer that the interaction is over and they tend to move on without a second thought. So when a customer says you have great candles or unique scents you should say I'm glad you like them or We try to have the very best scents around, etc instead of thank you. It really hit home because Thank you is usually the signal that transaction is done and I don't want to let them off the hook that easily-lol.

3. Once you find your style, stick with it. Customers are creatures of habit and if you keep jacking with your booth display they don't recognize you as easily. If your color scheme is fushia and lime green, don't swap for a dark green cloth or exchange the fushia for red at Christmas - your customer is trained to look for fushia and lime. Seasonal accents should be complementary of your permanent color scheme and not a change. If you ever wonder if it is true, change your display colors completely and see how many do a double take before coming in or say I wasn't sure that was you.

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Even though this is an older thread, it has a TON of valuable information. However, I am still needing some help. I have never done a craft fair before and I have been asked to participate in one this fall. This particular event is an annual 2-day craft fair (and a rather large outdoor one) which has great monetary potential. Last year - out of nearly 400 booths - there were only two booths that sold candles. And they were not the main focus of the booths (they were part of a bath and body booth). My head is spinning right now. I have looked on Pinterest regarding booth/tent setup and I "think" I have a good handle on that part at least. My problem is product quantity. Would someone please be willing to guide me in the right direction? How many different scents should I try to focus on? I plan on bringing 8oz and 12oz containers along with some clamshells. There is one signature scent that I will carry in a 31oz Libbey Cylinder (military related). I just want to make sure I have plenty of supply without overkill. I feel like I'm trying to hit a hidden target. I can't remember the last time I felt so green on something.

Edited by MLG

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Even though this is an older thread, it has a TON of valuable information. However, I am still needing some help. I have never done a craft fair before and I have been asked to participate in one this fall. This particular event is an annual 2-day craft fair (and a rather large outdoor one) which has great monetary potential. Last year - out of nearly 400 booths - there were only two booths that sold candles. And they were not the main focus of the booths (they were part of a bath and body booth). My head is spinning right now. I have looked on Pinterest regarding booth/tent setup and I "think" I have a good handle on that part at least. My problem is product quantity. Would someone please be willing to guide me in the right direction? How many different scents should I try to focus on? I plan on bringing 8oz and 12oz containers along with some clamshells. There is one signature scent that I will carry in a 31oz Libbey Cylinder (military related). I just want to make sure I have plenty of supply without overkill. I feel like I'm trying to hit a hidden target. I can't remember the last time I felt so green on something.

 

Check your thread you started for some information. This thread is more for experienced crafters who already have info to share on craft shows.

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