Craft fairs in the fall months can be very profitable. Shoppers are looking for holiday gifts, Halloween costumes, and seasonal home decor for the rest of the year.
If you plan ahead of time and bring the right kind of products, the fall shows will go smoothly for your handmade business. Let’s look at the easiest ways to achieve success at upcoming events!
9 Tips for an Amazing Fall Craft Show Season
1. Apply in the Summer
Keep your eyes open for fall craft show announcements and applications in the summer months. They often fill up quickly, so check social media and sign up for email lists to keep track of the dates. Once you’ve been accepted you can then announce your upcoming selling events on social media!
2. Don’t Overbook Shows
As tempting as it may be to apply for every show in the fall, try to choose carefully. The fall and winter holiday shopping season can make handmade business owners feel overwhelmed and even exhausted. If you have two or three shows booked for one weekend it might wind up being impossible without hiring an employee. Space out your events so you have at least a weekend or two free in the fall to recuperate and catch up on your work.
3. Create Seasonal Merchandise
This is a big one: bring your merchandise that reflects the season! Products that are timely will do well at fall craft shows. Items like holiday ornaments, fall wreaths, scarves and mittens (since it will soon be cold in the Northern Hemisphere), and comfort foods are always big sellers. Always stay true to your handmade business’ style when expanding your product line. Also, don’t forget to bring seasonal items for men as well!
4. Adjust Your Displays
For fall shows you should consider tweaking your displays to reflect the season. If you normally use bright florals for your display, swap them out for fall leaves or holiday colors. You can even paint your displays so they go with your seasonal items. Just make sure whatever changes you make still fit with your business’ branding and the guidelines of the craft show.
5. Discount Off-Season Items
If you still want to bring some spring and summer products to the show, consider offering a sale bin or discounting them. This is a great way to also get rid of misprints or “oops” items and extra stock that may not sell until the next year. Don’t make it seem cheesy or put a giant “Sale” sign in your booth, but you can offer some products at a slightly lower price. Even just a small sign with the price might get bargain shoppers to select these items.
6. Make a Mailing List Sign-Up Sheet
Fall craft shows are the perfect time to grow your email list! Place a notepad or sheet of paper and a pen on your table with columns shoppers can fill out with their name, email, etc. After the show, you can add them to your email mailing list to keep them up to date on your next craft show and products. You can even offer an incentive (like an item raffle) to encourage sign-ups!
7. Take Several Forms of Payment
Providing your customers with the option to pay by cash or credit card will ensure you don’t lose any sales at fall craft shows. Sometimes people only carry plastic, so make sure you have a credit card processing system account set up ahead of time. There are many options- including Square, Etsy’s “Sell Now” feature, and PayPal- all with their own card readers and apps. You can even advertise at your booth that you take credit cards, increasing the likelihood that shoppers will make a purchase.
8. Bring Gift Sets
Gift sets or baskets are also a great way to increase sales at fall craft shows. You can bundle your goods together based on a theme, color scheme, or product type, or even collaborate with another handmade business. Make the gift sets portable in a basket or pouch with nice packaging and customers will love them! Always check with the show’s organizer to make sure gift sets are allowed.
9. Provide Beautiful Packaging
And finally… packaging! This can really take your craft fair customers’ experience to the next level. It depends on what you are selling, but bring items like gift boxes, tissue paper, decorative bags, ribbon, and more. But never blow your budget on packaging- still try to buy at wholesale rates and in bulk if possible to save money. You can charge for elaborate wrapping, or offer it as a special deal for purchases over a certain amount. Customers will appreciate the extra touch.