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Craft Fair Tips and Lessons Learned

by | Crochet, DIY

I attended a holiday craft fair a couple of weeks ago, and boy was this one way better than my first experience!  I dressed (too) warmly, and it was indoors so I wasn’t standing there shivering while talking to the people who came by.  And the people!  Everyone was in the Christmas spirit, smiling and chatting.  Since this was a local school event, most of the people who attended the fair knew each other from the school community, so there was quite a bit of chatting going around.  I loved the small town feel of the event – kids wandering freely through the halls, moms (and dads, although a lot less) catching up with friends and neighbors, babies being passed around from arm to arm, and everyone cheering when Santa came in to take some pictures.  My friend came to cheer us on as well, and that was such a welcome sight!

I went with my friend Jenny who was selling mason jar soap dispensers, sugar scrubs, vanilla sugars, rosemary salts and her family’s awesome Herb Wreaths.  My items were all handmade crocheted gifts, so we had a very colorful and diverse table.

One Dog Woof: Craft Show Tips

Lesson learned #1: Focus your brand/set a theme.  At my first fair, we had a lot of different products and it seemed a little too “crafty” and not very professional.  This time, with me focusing on all yarn and crocheted items, and Jenny focusing on “things in jars”, we gave out a much more unified image.  Plus, our products were distinctly handmade, which set us apart a bit from some of the “come-to-my-house-party-so-I-can-sell-you-stuff” booths that were there.

Craft Show Tips and Tricks

Tip: Everybody says you need to have prices readily visible for those customers who may not feel comfortable in asking.  I made price tags for each set of items with a picture of how said item was to be used.  Obviously, no one needs to know how to use a hat, but it was an opportunity to show off some cute kids!  This also forced me to gather like items together, so there weren’t random products spread out all over the table.

One Dog Woof: Craft Show Tips and Tricks

One Dog Woof: Craft Fair Tips and Tricks

One Dog Woof: Craft Fair Tips and Tricks

Lesson learned #2: Know your audience!  I tried to sell baby hats the first time, and although many people said they were cute, hardly anyone plunked down moolah for them, or they asked if there were kid/adult sizes available.  Since this was a holiday fair at an elementary school, we anticipated our audience to be young modern families, many with children.  I had hats in every size from infant to adult, and there were lots of items at different price ranges, perfect for stocking stuffers, office gifts, or for the one adorable boy who threw a $5 dollar bill at me and grabbed a lip balm (“for my mom!”) and RAN.

Lesson learned #3: Pretty packaging.  If you’ve been in the craft blog world (or in the internet world, really) for any amount of time, you probably already understand the importance of packaging.  It can make the simplest things into a beautiful looking gift.  I used kraft card stock and extra cardboard (scrounged from the office) to make backings for the flowers and bracelets, wrappers for the mug cozies, and tags for everything else.  It turned a dinky little flower into something you might see at a store.  (I admit, I was a little too pleased with  myself with how they turned out.)

One Dog Woof: Create pretty packaging for craft shows

Tip: Accept credit cards.  Over half of our total sales came from credit cards.  Nuff said.  One lady asked us if we accept cards because she had no cash and used up all her checks.  When we said yes, she said “uh-oh”, and proceeded to do quite a bit of holiday shopping.

Tip: Get the senses involved.  Jenny offered rosemary sprigs to just about anyone who walked by, and offered to let customers smell the vanilla sugar and coffee sugar scrub and rosemary salts before purchasing. We had a mirror on hand, and encouraged people to touch and try on the scarves and hats.  You always hear you should interact with the customers, but I found that being really open to letting the customers interact with the products really helped.  Plus, it created a group around the table which attracted other people to come by!

One Dog Woof: Craft Fair Tips and Tricks

This time around, we didn’t really plan our table ahead of time, nor did I pack a lot of back-of-the-store items.  We had scissors, extra tags, a calculator, pens and string, and we seemed to do just fine.  Jenny had her own set of supplies to help replenish her products, but we didn’t hit any major snags where we were just completely up the creek.

Well, that’s it for this year!  I’ll probably be doing some more fairs next year, now that I know what to plan for.  Until then, I’ll be putting some items on Etsy here and there.  There are some mug cozies available right now at my Etsy shop if you are interested!

53 Comments

  1. Jessica

    Hi!
    I LOVE your attention to detail! Do you mind sharing your pricing with me? That’s what I struggle with most! In general, what do you charge for the infant and youth hats… and the cute flower bows?
    Thanks!
    Jessica 🙂

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thanks Jessica! I would look on Etsy to see what similar items sell for and think about how much time/effort/material went into a particular product. I think I kept the flowers around $3-5 and the hats in the $15 to $20 range?

      Reply
  2. Rebecca

    These are fantastic tips! Thanks for sharing. Do you mind sharing how you created your photo price tags?

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Hi Rebecca! I printed photos of my products and glued them to kraft paper and stamped the words on. Very low tech 🙂

      Reply
      • Rebecca

        Thanks for sharing your secret. I thought that may have been how you did it but, they looked professionally printed so I thought I’d ask. Thanks again!

  3. Shannon

    Hello! I was wondering how much yarn it took to make one of the mug cozy?

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      I don’t really know, but it was not near to a full ball of the Sugar n Cream.

      Reply
  4. Lisa M

    Hi! Do I see personalized buttons on the mug cozies? Where did you get (or how did you make) those?

    Thanks for all the good ideas. I tend to spend way too much time and $$$ on packaging. Your ideas are simply but graphically perfect.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Hey Lisa, yup, those are personalized buttons, aren’t they so cool? I got them on Etsy at Wearhouse Industries!

      Reply
  5. Brenda Treadway

    I am looking for ideas for packaging boot cuffs something like you have for your cup cozy do you have any suggestions

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      So sorry, but I will have to refer you to a Google search or Pinterest?

      Reply
  6. Peggy

    Everything is beautiful and this is so helpful – thank you!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      You’re so welcome!

      Reply
  7. Susan

    I love your mug cozy. Is the pattern available? please email me

    thanks.

    Reply
  8. shelby

    Wow, thank you for the visuals! I did a craft fair a couple of years ago but I am ready to upgrade my booth this coming November. Thanks for tips!

    Reply
  9. Kathleen Arvin

    Such great ideads, would love to see more.thank you for the tips.

    Reply
  10. Debra

    Hi love all your ideas thanks for sharing. I was wAs wondering if you had a printable for the lip balm Or direct me in the right direction thanks.

    Reply
  11. Kim

    I wish I new how to make all these animals. I don’t know how to crochet. They would be so cool to make for the children who are in the Oncology wards in hospitals here in New Zealand. Your work is beautiful.

    Reply
  12. Amanda

    Hey there. I would like to know how you got the letters to go up & down like that on the lip balm package. I’ve tried word, but when I move the letters they don’t go where I want them to. Still trying to learn how to use word. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

    Reply
  13. Amanda

    Meant to say lip balm sign with price, not package

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      I used stamps to create my price signs 🙂

      Reply
  14. mira

    Hi! Great post ! I’m wondering if you think an event like this is worth all your time and energy? Did the booth fee seem reasonable? Were your sales pretty satisfactory? Thanks for your post!

    Reply
  15. Victoria Allen

    I am participating in a craft fair in October. Do you have any suggestions for what is good for now to sell. I love what you have done. I am thinking hats, scarves, baby blankets, infant seat covers, spa items like washcloths, scrubbies, etc. dishcloths, large totes. Do you have other suggestions. This is my first attempt to do this. I have crocheted for many years. Thank you for your help.

    Reply
  16. Victoria Allen

    I have been asked to participate in an Art & Crafts fair in October, never done this before. I am thinking about
    baby hats, infant seat covers, scarves & hats, dishcloths, crochet & knit, tote bags, slippers, spa items. Can you share any suggestions. Thank you in advance for your help.

    Reply
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  19. Adriana Pulido

    Where can one get the templates for the displays. Like a cardboard mug, pan handle, flower, etc? Help

    Reply

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