EXCELLENT CRAFT SHOW ADVICE

This is the absolute best advice on how to succeed at a Craft Show. With the permission of the author, Tiffany Perry Rich, I am sharing it with you all. Follow her guidelines and your sales will soar.

CRAFT SHOW ADVICE

I am the founder/president of a Non Profit corp. We have an event once a year that includes hands on education that emphasizes farming, local talent and lost arts. This is a free entry free parking event that averages 2000-2500 attendees during a one day event. We have apx 60 vendors that we host. Vending costs are between $30-50 depending on location. We are going into our 10th year. We have some incredible vendors that have mediocre product and we have some awful vendors with amazing product. I want to help some of you understand what attendees tell us at the end of an event about the vendors as well as what I have observed.

YOU need to sell your product. 

It will not sell itself. I see vendors sitting, I see them on their phones, and tending to their children.

You can not expect to sell a product that you don't completely LOVE. you need to share your passion, show them a little of your soul so they can see why your product is unique. If you are on your phone, dealing with children or scowling, people are going to walk by. 

I used to have a vendor that made the most incredible soaps and lotions. used the best product and developed amazing packaging. I was doing my rounds and noticed someone at her booth so I hung back to allow her to make her sale before I relieved her for a break. 

The customer had several bars of soap in her hand and asked how much the soap was. The vendor was sitting at the back of the booth, never stood up and told her “ The price is on the bottom of the bar". The customer put all the soap back and went to a different vendor with not as wonderful of a product but was engaging with the customer,made small talk and even had a sample and some water for the customers to try. I later learned that that lady purchased nearly all the the vendors product for Christmas gifts. she spent almost $500.


Do not talk bad about other vendors. 

The customer IS listening. They will often leave your booth to go see what the fuss is about, you have potentially lost a sale.


RESPECT the customer 

No matter how silly or off beat or absolutely CRAZY the question is. If they ask, answer them in a respectful way. I can't event mention how many times I have heard sarcastic responses to what the vendor thought was a silly question.

 Not everyone knows everything about your product. This is YOUR chance to shine, to make a lasting impression. Don't run out of business cards. You don't need to make a sale to make a difference to your business. Use the contact with every person as a chance to educate them. With education comes understanding, appreciation and ultimately sales.


Don't profile your customers.

This is such a BIG one. I have found that the farmer with bib overalls and callused hands typically spends more money on home made products than the business looking perfectly groomed customer. WHY? that farmer works with his hands, he understands a labor of love and hard work. He understands supporting the little guy and he will ALWAYS support his community before the business person will.


Understand your venue and your potential clients. 

Ask the people putting it on what the typical sales are. They should know or have an idea. if you are vending at a farm type event, don't go in with silk and lace and a big expensive set up. You look expensive, and intimidating even from across the room and people figure there is no way they can afford your product. Just as if you are going to a more upper class event, make sure to dress it up a little. Getting the customer to your booth is 3/4 of the battle. Once you get them there its up to you to do the rest.


Donate to the events raffle/silent auction table. 

It shows your support for the event as well as gets people interested in your product.


Arrive early. 

The early bird gets the worm and also the sales. I have seen many products sold as they came out of boxes before the official start time of the event. These early shoppers are not after a bargain, they are after your best product. don't push them away, take a second to show them your stuff and talk to them. If you send them away or IGNORE them they will find someone else to buy from GUARANTEED.


DO NOT EVER pack up early. 

First its rude to the people putting on the event. Even if you are horribly disappointed in your sales, smile and enjoy the last few moments. Have some items that you held back that are maybe not your prized product, but that you can stick a big fat SALE sign on your table. EVERYONE loves a sale. many customers will hang out until the end to wait for sales, discounts or give- aways.


DO demos. 

People LOVE to see how things are made. It also helps them to understand what the process is. Let them get their hands dirty. Vendors that have hands on or demos, sell almost double the product as the vendor that doesn’t. It helps to have a friend handle sales while you demo or vice versa.


The venue cannot make your sales.

They cannot guarantee your sales and its not their fault you did not sell. 

Every year is different. different people, different advertising, different weather. You cannot guarantee it and neither can we. We want you to be successful so we will do everything to help make your day successful. 

WHY do we care? Because jurying vendors is extremely time consuming. Because finding new vendors is difficult because no one wants to take a chance. The more returning vendors we have the easier it is on us. 

This is especially true with one day events. vendors think that a one day event will get them less sales than a 2 day event. I don't feel this is true. while you make make a few more sales on day 2, if you traveled you have additional expenses. (lodging, food, gas) do the extra day of sales make all that back AND profit. If not, you may find that a one day event cane be more profitable, leaving you a day to make more product or just spend time with your family. not to mention you are no longer FRESH and do not work as hard to sell.


I hope this helps some of you to understand the OTHER side of the event and helps you to understand your customers better.

Copyright © Chris Campbell Pottery, LLC  chris@ccpottery.com