Crafty Business Week – Craft Fair Lessons and Tips

Reported by Guest Blogger, Michele Gallagher

Originally Featured on Handmade Spark

Here are the lessons I learned from my latest craft fair, plus some tips I can give to others doing craft and street fairs this Fall:

Be professional at all times.
One woman who bought a pair of earrings asked me if I do home parties. I became a deer in headlights as 100 things ran through my mind. I ended up telling her that I had never done a home party before but I would be happy to set something up for her if she was interested and I gave her my card. She did not look pleased and just walked away. Maybe not the most professional answer, but an honest one. *Note to self: come up with some concrete policies for doing home parties*

Reclaimed Vintage 1912 Book Art Journal | $14 | Firebirdhouse

Be prepared.
Had my booth not been set up in front of a hardware store I’m not sure what I would have done when my jewelry displays started falling over. I would have had to have my husband run out to find some wood while I stood at an empty table waiting for him. I know it can be a pain, but set up a mock booth at your home or in your yard before attending your first fair with new displays. This will give you a better feel for precautions that might need to take place (like bolting down your displays or better securing your tent) and give you a chance to view your display from all angles and make some final changes without the pressure of trying to set up your booth with customers walking around. It’s better to take care of it when you actually have the time and not the day of the fair.

Know your policies and stick to them.
I told myself going into the fair that I would not be discounting my jewelry (as people often try to get a bargain at fairs). Most people actually did not try to negotiate but then there was this one woman who was persistent. She bought a pair of earrings earlier in the day and came back to say that she was leaving the fair and that she regretted not buying more earrings. She asked me what my best price was on the earrings and I told her that I was not negotiating today. “Really?” she asked. “Even if I buy 5 more pairs?” My head started to spin, she happened to come by at a slow part of the day and I thought to myself how this sale would really help me out, so I said OK. We went back and forth on the price and finally ended up settling on a discount. She bought the earrings, and as the day went on and my booth got busy again I started to regret going back on my no discount policy. Those earrings ended up being my best seller for the day and I think I could have sold them all for full price to someone else had I stood my ground.

Know your stuff.
One potential customer at the fair came up and asked me to prove that my crystals were authentic Swarovski crystals because she had never seen the designs I had anywhere else before and because my jewelry wasn’t stamped with the official Swarovski logo. I explained to her the difference between Swarovski jewelry and jewelry made from Swarovski Crystallized Elements. I gave her a website where she could get more information on these types of stones and told her that I only buy from reputable dealers. It turned out that this customer didn’t realize my jewelry was handmade and hadn’t heard of Crystallized Elements before. She thanked me for my explanation and bought a pair of earrings.

Have fun.
Even if sales are slow. No one wants to come over and shop at a booth while the person who is running it stands there was a puss on their face. Smile, relax, enjoy the day. If things are slow, reorganize your table to give it a fresh look. Greet customers and start a conversation with them. Even if you don’t have sales immediately people may like your demeanor and take your business card for future purchases.

Got any great tips or tricks of your own for Craft Fairs? As a buyer, what grabs your attention at a fair? As a seller what is your biggest challenge? We would LOVE to hear what YOU think in the comments section of this article!

About The Author

Michele Gallagher has been an active member of the crafting community for many years and has open and run several successful Etsy shops. Her products have been featured in many retails stores, including Nordstroms department store in 2009. Michele has a passion for helping other crafters grow their business. This prompted her to open, a place for crafters to come to get help and advice on how to grow their careers as artists.

Handmade Spark is a marketing service for Etsy sellers, and a creative blog for the indie and handmade community. They connect and promote. You design and inspire.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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2 Responses to Crafty Business Week – Craft Fair Lessons and Tips

  1. Avatar
    Michele Gallagher May 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Thanks for featuring my blog post! I hope other crafters will be able to learn from my experiences 🙂

  2. Avatar
    POSH June 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Great tips, great article. Lotsa good info.