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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.

53 Comments

  1. Kara @ Petals to Picots

    Wow!! Your table looks awesome, ChiWei! So glad you had a good experience 🙂

    Reply
  2. meet.make.laugh.

    Your table looks great! The bust with the scarf on it really adds some level which is nice 🙂 (Plus the scarf is beautiful…)

    Reply
  3. Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects

    It all looks WONDERFUL! These are great tips for those of us contemplating craft fairs who haven’t taken the plunge yet.

    Reply
  4. Amy

    Such helpful tips! Thank you!!!

    Reply
  5. Rachel

    Your table looks fantastic! Your items are beautiful, of course, and I love all the labels and packaging. So, so cute. You’re so right that the packaging makes a big difference . . . it really makes it a more fun purchase when it looks so cute in its little tag or package!

    Reply
  6. Kadie

    I LOVE,LOVE all your tips! I have been thinking of doing a table at a craft fair this year, I get so scared about it but your post didn’t make it sound to bad.:)

    Reply
  7. Lolly Linens

    I love your tags and all of your products! Your display is lovely.

    Reply
  8. Carrie

    Everything looks so nice and professional.

    Reply
  9. Rebecca @ Herons Crafts

    This looks great! I wish I could have come! Your packaging looks really professional, looks like you had a great day! Merry Christmas

    Reply
  10. Evelyn

    Thanks for sharing this information. Your table does look inviting and attractive:) Loving the chapstick covers:) Now I am off to check out some of your crafts. Also to follow via Facebook.

    Merry Christmas!!!

    Reply
  11. Repeat Crafter Me

    I am totally blown away by your packaging! I love the stamped cardboard/craft paper look! Everything coordinates and it looks like you spent a lot of money on professional printing 🙂 I can tell you put a lot of time and energy into your crocheted pieces and they look wonderful! Really inspiring and I love all your tips! Sounds like you and your friend made some good money too 🙂

    Reply
  12. Jocie@TheBetterHalf

    wow, great tips and I LOVE those mug cosi’s – i know I have commented that before but they really are adorable!!
    Loved seeing this at the special link party supporting Sandy Hook last week. Hope you’ll come to The Humble Brag link party today to see some features from last week and link up some more cool projects. Happy Friday!

    http://www.oneprojectcloser.com/the-humble-brag-link-party-13/

    Reply
  13. Karen at Bargain-ista.com

    Great tips! You have an attractive product line and the packaging is awesome! Your display looks good too 🙂

    Reply
  14. Eva {Tales of the Scotts}

    I really like how you priced your items. I’ve done 2 fairs now. But I always need more tips and tricks. Thanks!

    Reply
  15. Jessica Pelasky

    I’ve been wanting to comment on this post for quite some time because I used to do Craft shows with my mom for about 5 years and this post is amazing for those that do them! 🙂 Great job!

    Reply
  16. DAFemme71

    Great post. I have my 2nd craft fair in about a month. I love your tags. How did you make those?

    Reply
    • Chiwei @ One Dog Woof

      They were made using custom stamps on leftover cardboard, card stock and kraft paper.

      Reply
      • Glenda Maikell

        I was wondering where you got your custom stamps. I really like the font and general look of them.

      • ChiWei

        I got them on Etsy, but I can’t remember where. I’m a newbie when it comes to stamping, so I just found a place that let me design my own stamp and was affordable. Sorry I can’t help more!

  17. Darcie Sherrick

    I love the way your table looks!!! Do you have your hat pattern for sale??
    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Hi Darcie! Unfortunately, I do not have the hat pattern for sale. I actually made up the pattern as I went, and changed it for different sizes and tried out different stitches, so I don’t have anything written down. But if you’re looking for infant/kid hat patterns, my friend at RepeatCrafterMe.com has several available on her blog! Tell Sarah I sent you!

      Reply

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