Craft Fair Hints and Tips
Written by Amy MonaghanMarch 14th, 2021
When I first started out at craft fairs I was so worried that I wasn't going to have enough makes to take, that my float would run out and I wouldn't have enough bags. Safe to say those haven't been my main concerns, and some days it's whether or not you're going to break even on a stall. So how do you start to increase sales at craft fairs?
Choose your fairs well
I now don't book in at a fair unless I've visited it. When you're panic block booking fairs online it's easy to get swept up in it and get in wherever you can, but this is rarely the best tactic. If it's a regular market then go along and take a look. Take note of the type of stalls that appear there - would yours fit in? Can you see that people are looking to buy - and if not chat to the stall holders and see how they're getting on. Are your products seasonal? If so try and maximise your bookings around key selling periods. And can you find the organiser? If they're willing to chat to you then they care about their fair and attracting new sellers - just keep in mind they're busy people and don't have much time. If you like the fair, and maybe buy a couple of things, the chances are your customers will too.
Practice setting up your stall
If it's your first fair, or even just your first of the season, have a go at setting up your stall at home. It's a great opportunity to check that everything's there, you're happy with how it looks, and are sure you're representing your brand and business well - and it'll remind you to pack those other things that you're inevitably missing. Then you can pack it all up carefully and know that you're prepared for the job ahead. There's nothing worse than getting all the way to the venue and realising you've left something key to the success of your day all the way back at home.
Know your stuff
Your main selling point is your makes. You need to know them and be able to talk about them, because the fact that you made them is very important. Tell people about the processes, what is it that makes it special, how long they take you to make - and maybe why they won't ever find another one. The hard sell is rarely the best tactic at craft fairs, but encouraging people to appreciate the time and skill that goes into making your lovely things is a big draw.
You are a big selling point for your makes - you made them! Hiding from passersby and scrolling through your phone, or even being on the other side of the room chatting to someone else doesn't get you sales. You are part of the sales pitch for your stall, and if people can't find you they're not going to make the effort to buy. If you're worried about coming across as too keen and getting in people's way then take something with you to make. It doesn't matter if your product making isn't easily transportable, it could be attaching the labels to new stock, packing up orders, preparing ideas for your next product range - as long as it's something related to your business and interesting to customers it'll be time well spent and a potential conversation starter.
Use all craft fairs as an opportunity
Although you're there to sell your makes, that's not the only thing you can get out of the day. Useful tips from other stall holders, handy critiques from customers, or lots of people that you've connected with and want to visit your site later - there are lots of useful ways that you can use craft fairs to your advantage, so if it turns out you're not having a great sales day work out how else you can make it worth your while. It'll also keep you motivated and more positive for potential customers.
Don't go home early
The organiser has put a lot of effort into the day, you have paid to be there, and there's hours left on the clock. If you've made no sales then it's easy to get discouraged and think you'll knock off early, but I've often made sales towards the end of the day when other people have long gone. You don't know where your next customer is going to come from, but also if people around you are packing up it leaves the final customers with a feeling of scarcity, which in itself is a sales tactic. Be calm, show that your shop is still open, and chat to the people that are left. They'll be glad of the opportunity, and you might be glad of the custom. Win win.
Minimise your product range
This sounds counter-intuitive, but if you know the fair well and you can pinpoint what sold well last time then concentrate your efforts. Reducing the amount of items on your stall and displaying them well can help to focus the customer's attention, and your sales patter. If you did really well on your lower priced items then place those ones front and centre, you can always encourage people's interest in the higher priced items once you have buy-in to who you are and what you do. Different fairs have different customers, and there's an art to working out what they'd like. If you have a larger range on your online shop then be prepared to add in a flyer to any purchases with a few images of your other items and a clear indication of where to buy them. A returning customer is the holy grail, and if you managed to switch them from in-person to online sales you're much more likely to secure other repeat business in the future.
And above all enjoy it. Make craft fairs a day out for you too. Although you're there to work there's no harm in making sure that you get the most of of that experience too. Visit the cake stand, find some birthday gifts for your friends and family, and connect with like-minded people. The chances are you're giving up part of your weekend to be there, and if you can take a friend to sit with you during the day so much the better. They can enthuse about your lovely stuff to passersby, will help you with the heavy lifting, and hopefully you trust them enough to hold the fort whilst you manage to get some well-earned lunch or even just a toilet break. If you're having fun the chances your customers will see that too, and they're much more likely to want to buy into that lovely image you're projecting.