I was a part of my first craft fair last Thursday.
My husband works for Allina and they have a craft fair every year for their employees and loved ones. It was my first craft fair that I was on the vendor side of things and let me tell you, I learned a lot.
I re-arranged my table two different ways through out the day. The first was more of a symmetrical balance and the second was arranged by product.
I was told that most customers don't feel comfortable asking for prices, so it's important to have prices visible. I realized right away that my two pricing signs on the table ends weren't effective enough because I had so many people asking if the Minnesota shaped things in the boxes were magnets (they were). Next time, I'll have callouts by the product and items individually priced.
I noticed some tables had free chocolates for people. Is this really effective for a sale? My conclusion was that it wasn't, BUT it was effective in making people feel invited into the booth. I noticed that the booths that had a lot of traffic had some how made the space very welcoming - either by setting tables into a U shape, so the customers walk into the space or by sitting off to the side of the table instead of in a semi-intimidating spot directly behind the product.
In another note to myself: BRING SNACKS. Because this girl got HUNGRY and couldn't leave her space. I read some rules of etiquette for craft fairs and they all said not to eat in your booth because customers don't want to interrupt you. So my question to veteran fair/show/market vendors: HOW DO YOU EAT if you run a booth by yourself?! In this fair, I made friends with my neighbor vendors and we took turns watching each other's tables. But I can't imagine that's an effective way when you're at a public event.
The biggest realization I had was: make sure the event attendees are your target market. There's not a lot of reason to set up a table and worry about your layout and your prices and how/where you're going to eat and how much information to share with people browsing if they're not really interested in your product anyway. If you're in a craft fair where other vendors are selling items for less than half of what you have your items priced at or the majority of vendors are there "just to get out of the house", while you're selling items to make a living - you joined the wrong event. I now know the beauty in attending an event as a customer before joining it as a vendor in a way to vet whether the event would be a good fit.
Overall, this was a great event to dip my toe into the vendor pool. It was very low overhead, I was able to meet some of my husband's co-workers and some fellow crafters, I worked out a lot of kinks in my setup and got to practice using my Square reader.
Are you a vendor with some veteran tips for this newbie? Are you a regular fair/show/market attendee and want to drop some knowledge? Leave a comment below or fill out this form: