I’ve learned a lot about selling at craft shows in the 10+ years since I first started. When I began selling handmade products at craft fairs, it took me hours to set up my booth. I’ve learned a thing or two since then, though. Experience is an amazing teacher, and hopefully my experiences will provide you with a trick or two and make your craft fair set up fly by!
Streamline Your Storage and Display Solutions
The first few years I did craft shows, I primarily sold handmade, upcycled clothing, which made setup a breeze: I would leave the clothing on hangers when transporting everything to and from the show, pop open a garment rack in my booth, and throw the clothes on the rack. Bing, bang, done!
When I started selling jewelry, however, it was another story entirely. At first, I’d leave each necklace or set of earrings in its individually wrapped plastic bag for transporting to and from the show. This meant I had to take each piece out during set up and put it back in when I was ready to break down my booth. I soon realized that this method was not practical for me. My friend Rachelle had been using stacking jewelry trays to get her products to and from shows and for displaying them, and I decided to test it out. Setting up my jewelry in stackable trays became a tremendous time saver.
Practice Makes Perfect
Something to keep in mind: speed comes with experience. If you’re just starting out, or if you’re trying out a new booth setup, be sure to do a test run of your setup at home before the show. Play around with different possibilities. Your set up could end up looking wildly different, depending on the type of booth you’re given–i.e. will you end up in a corner booth, or will you get one between two other vendors? You’ll want to be prepared for as many scenarios as possible.
Put it on Wheels
During my early craft fair days, I didn’t have a dolly or cart to transport my gear to and from my car. Needless to say, the many trips back and forth took just as long as my actual setup did. By the time I started selling on a weekly basis, I got smart. My boyfriend, who works in film, had a top-of-the-line Magliner dolly that I could fit everything I needed for a show on. Considering I’d often have to park a couple of blocks away from the venue, being able to get everything to and from my car in one trip made my life SO much easier. A good cart or dolly is now one of my craft show must-haves.
Honor the Scout Motto
Always be prepared for anything! I have a kit that comes with me to any show that includes more tools and supplies than I need, but when I do need them, I’m oh-so grateful. Your craft show toolkit should include handy gear for display and setup, as well as basic first aid supplies like Band-aids and aspirin. I always keep a few Sharpie markers and some cardstock on hand as well – you never know when you might need to make a last minute sign for your booth!