Craft shows have grown some serious traction over the past few years and if you have an online business, adding craft shows to your repertoire is now a necessary step for success. Craft shows take a good deal of planning, and most makers will put aside a large chunk of time preparing their work and planning their booth display. Outside of all the internal production, organization, and heart that goes into craft show prep, it is important to keep certain aspects of sharing the retail environment in mind. In other words, put your best business self forward when interacting with customers and fellow makers. To get your craft show experience off on the right foot, I pulled together my top five tips for perfect craft show etiquette.
Photo Credit: Lisa Anderson Shaffer (Zelma Rose).
1. Do Your Research
Part of bringing your best business self is being educated about an event. Before the show, research the event. Know who your point of contact is and how to reach them on the day of. Introduce yourself to the organizers when you arrive for set up. They have worked really hard organizing the event, so give a little thanks. Also research and know who your nearby vendors are. Check out their websites; write down their names and where their business is located. When you have a little bit of down time before the event starts, quickly introduce yourself and say hello. Some of my best business connections have been via fellow vendors.
2. Know Your Limits
When planning a display stick to the parameters given by the organizers. If your spot is 10x10 then plan on your table and chairs taking up about 8 feet of space either way. This gives everyone room on either side of you, and cleanly separates your merchandise from that of your neighbors. Having things fit too tightly could mean knocking down someone’s display trying to wiggle out of your booth or a customer bumping into someone else’s merchandise. When in doubt go smaller than you think.
3. Be Wholesale Ready
Don’t be surprised if stockists scope you out during a craft show. With little time to spare and a lot of vendors to check out, possible retailers want to be able to grab your info and go. Have line sheets ready along with business cards to give to interested stockists if asked. Make sure everything is clearly labeled and your contact info is obvious.
4. Organize Your Cash Wrap Area
If your booth is attracting a lot of customers and people are having trouble getting through it can impact the surrounding vendors. Have change, bags, and business cards ready to go. Be clear about how to use your credit card reader so you can swipe quickly and keep the flow of traffic moving.
5. Neat and Tidy
Craft shows can be hectic! It’s like setting up and tearing down your very own brick and mortar shop in 2 days. With so much to do and lots of customers to talk to you, it is easy for the booth to get a little messy after a few hours. Do your best to keep your space clean by having a trash bag on hand, a small dustpan and broom, and a lint roller.
Whether you are a craft show veteran or just starting out, etiquette is an important part of making the most of your craft show experience. Remember to plan ahead, do your research, wear a smile, and most importantly, have some fun!