- Tell your fans about the event as soon as possible
As soon as you hear that you’ve been accepted for an event, start talking about it to drum up interest and let people know you’ll be there. The more sellers who talk about an event, the more successful it will be. Use social media and your mailing list (if you have one) to promote your involvement in the event. Fans of your work will want to visit and meet you in person. Talking about the event on social media beforehand can also be a useful way to connect with other makers that will be there.
- Have a plan or practice your table display at home
The more visually arresting your set-up, the more people will remember your work or be attracted to your table. So try a mock-up your display at home. The first thing is not to forget a tablecloth or fabric to cover the table. Use suitable props that work with your brand and aesthetic to complement your products, and add height to your display so there is something to see at different levels. Look at your display from all angles to check there are no weak spots. Take a photo of your final display on your phone so you have a picture to work from on the day.
- Design a beautiful banner or sign that shows off your brand
With so many stalls at events, it can be hard to see who’s who, so use your crafting skills to design a beautiful banner or sign that clearly displays your brand name. A good banner/sign will help visitors remember your brand name and it should match the aesthetic of your brand and products.
- Create a craft fair survival kit
Make a craft fair survival kit containing all the little things you’ll need, and have it ready to go for every event you do. Knowing you have the essentials packed will help ease any stress leading up to the craft fair. Things you can include are a float, pens, note book, business cards, bottles of water, snacks, strong tape, scissors, string and something to do in any downtime (preferably something related to what you are selling). You’d be surprised how many last-minute problems can be solved with these simple items!
- Make sure you can carry everything
How are you getting to the event? How much do you need to carry? Will it all fit in your car? How will you get your products from the car to your table? Do you need a trolley to help you? If so, find out if there will be stairs to navigate. Getting all this organized and having your stuff packed in advance will make the morning of and the journey less stressful.
- Know exactly where you’re going and when to arrive
It sounds obvious but make sure you know how to get to the venue and what time to arrive. Find out where you can unload, park and program the correct destination into your GPS/phone before you set off. Print out a map in case your phone battery or signal dies and leave yourself plenty of time for traffic jams. It is important to be set-up and ready to go when the fair opens. This could lose you sales and you run the risk of not being accepted at a further show because of it.
- Price your work
Work out your price list in advance and make sure all your products are clearly priced. Some people might be too scared to ask about your work or pricing, so it helps if they can find out this information by themselves. You should keep prices the same at events as they are in your online shop. Prices should be largely consistent online and at markets, although having “specials” at events could help with new or discontinued items. You don’t want to anger customers who notice the price difference online.
- Bring business cards
There are lots of reasons why people might not be able to buy on the day, but having a business card makes it easier for them to find you online later. Business cards are also great to give customers who do buy from you at an event – you can even write a discount code they can use in your online shop as an extra thank you.
- Do you need a card reader?
A card reader can be a really good idea if you sell more expensive products or if there isn’t an ATM near the venue. Having a card reader can also encourage customers to buy more than one thing from you. Some customers even expect makers to now take cards. The demand for card payments has increased over the years as people rarely carry cash nowadays. If you do have a card-reader, make sure you bring it along with a sign to say you accept payments by card.
- Update your online shop and social media so you’re ready for extra traffic
Taking part in a market will often lead to a spike in online sales so make sure your online shop is up to date, has stock and that all your social media links work. There might be customers who couldn’t buy from you at the fair but look you up online when they get back home, so rather than putting your whole shop in holiday mode, hide any one-off items (or products that can’t easily be replicated) while you’re at the event, so you still have buyable products but you don’t end up selling something twice that you can’t repeat!
- Be prepared with some conversation starters
Taking part in events offers more than a simple selling opportunity, it is also a chance get to know your customers, gather feedback on your products and build your mailing list so that you can keep in touch. Learning how to communicate well with customers – when to talk and when to hold back – takes practice. So have some conversation starters ready and be prepared to talk about yourself and your work, maybe how you got started or why you do what you do. You need to steer clear of acting like a used car salesman but you do need to engage with people and have ideas for conversation. Getting the balance right can be tricky. Always smiling and never jumping on customers is a good place to start. Be approachable and friendly but not over-zealous. People generally want to browse at their own pace and some people are more chatty than others. Make sure to have fun! You’ll have a good day (even if you don’t sell much), and people like to see other people having fun. It’s a selling tool all on its own.
- Talk to fellow makers
Make friends with fellow makers and keep in touch after the event. It is a great way to build a network of like-minded people. They can be a really useful resource when you have questions about your business or finding out about events. Markets and craft fairs are a brilliant way to build your network and make genuine friends.