Taking your little business to the next level can be very difficult. You know, from making $20 a month to like $100. (all my Etsy entrepreneurs know what I’m talking about)
If you’re a crafter (new word) then you know that local markets and fairs are the way to make a quick buck and get your brand noticed on a local level.
But, how do you choose the right fair, and what about fees? What do you pack and how long should you prepare?
Craft fairs and farmers markets can be super nerve racking. You don’t want to pay an outrageous fee to participate and then make no money. You want to make sure that you have enough product to sell, but you don’t want to make so much stuff that you end up spending money on extra product.
I’ve been to a few craft shows by now and every time I do a show I learn something new.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you on your search for the perfect show and if you’ve got some experience, I provided a list to help you prepare for the next show and some pictures for display inspiration.
* * *
First, you want to get your feet wet in local waters. My first show was in my home town at the time. Now, if you’re hometown is a big city, you may want to venture a few miles out to a smaller town. Small towns put up shows that are far more affordable. Let’s say you live in Downtown Miami. A show in downtown may cost $1500. It may be a big show, but you don’t want to spend that kind of money on your first go round. Mistakes during a big show can really affect your image and your self-confidence moving forward. Instead, search for a farmers market in towns 10 to 40 miles away, like Hallendale Beach or Miami Gardens (for the Downtown Miami scenario). A show in a smaller city or town can range between $60 to $300. This is far more affordable and if you make no sales at all it’s okay because your initial investment was not so much. In addition you can see it as an advertisement opportunity, where you can pass flyers and start promoting your brand.
Now that you have selected your event, what do you bring?
Here’s a list of essentials:
- I always have my money drawer ready with $50 in change, my E-card reader, and inexpensive business cards. If you’re an Etsy seller, Etsy provides you with a free E-card reader. Its great because it’s linked to your Etsy shop. You can sell right from a listing in your shop or you can make a bunch of quick sales without any hassle. Use those business cards to give to anyone that browses your booth.
- If you’re an Etsy seller and have an Etsy E-reader, have your shop up to date. Make sure your products are priced well according to the show you’re attending. If you’re in a small local fair, you want to make sure your products are priced accordingly. This way, when you make a sale, you can make the sale right off your Etsy shop. I didn’t do this and I had to make a bunch of quick sales. These are good too, but every time I sold something from my shop, I then had to log into my shop and delete that particular listing. Its better to just sell that listing to your customer at the fair. Less hassle and it looks prettier when you do your bookkeeping.
- Have a bin with bags in a couple of sizes and tissue paper.
- Tool box
- Essentials in box include: tape, scissors, rope, clips, and pins.
- Other items to include are those tools you used to make your items.
- some paint and brushes
- jewelry tools (wire & wire cutter)
- Any other tool to help you enhance your display
- hammer and nails
- Cloth and drapery for displays
- Tent, Table, & Chairs (if not provided by event)
- Sign with your business name and logo
- If you can, have a few free samples to give away to people who you think will convert to buying customers later on.
I like to have most, if not all of these things ready at a moments notice. My most successful shows happened within a weeks time. A friend mentioned a local fair, or an advertisement popped up somewhere last minute. You want to be as prepared as possible for these types of scenarios.
Next thing to think about is your display.
You want it to be appealing and eye catching. Make the visitor feel like they are a part of your space; like they’re at home.
I like my space to be cozy. To achieve this I literally use things from around my house. A rug, a mirror, and a few decorative baskets make the space feel welcoming and warm.
The best advice I’ve encountered online and really in any marketing blog is to place your items at eye level. Especially your prettiest most expensive stuff. It gets people engaged with your shop very quickly. The idea of placing the more expensive things at eye level is an old trick. Its how we all get suckered into buying things right at checkout. If you notice, the impulse isle; the most expensive gum and candy is right on top. You want a sale, you look down, but that means you’re already in for buying something. That’s exactly what you want to happen to your customers at your booth. You want to lure them in with the expensive stuff in hopes that they’ll buy it, but if they don’t they’ll most likely buy the cheap stuff right underneath. That’s good too.
Lastly, here are two special tricks for a fantastic show.
– Do a mock booth the day before- This helps out immensely and boosts your confidence once you get to the venue or park
– Have something to do on your down time and take snacks.- You never want to look bored. Take a project with you for the down times. This also attracts people to your booth. Customers tend to be curious. They’ll ask questions about your project and it’ll give you an opportunity to chat organically about yourself, your shop, and your project. It’s also a chance to pass out your business card. But, please don’t forget the snacks. I pack a little cooler. You don’t want to spend the money you earn in the show, on food.
As a last note, I’d like to let you all know that it is possible for a tiny little Etsy shop to do a big time show. You just have to talk to the right people. Get in contact with the director of the show or the organizer and see if you can get a little discount. It is possible for a little fish to swim in a big pond without getting eaten. Try it.
Hope you enjoyed the read!
Please share it!