Tips For Your First Craft Show by Abby Holt

Ready to share your work with the world? Craft fairs are a great way for artists to get their pieces into the public view, and make some money along the way to boot. But your first fair can be a little intimidating, so here are some tips to help you hit the ground running.

Test Run Different Displays

Before you head to your first fair, CreativeLive recommends staging a few different displays at home, mixing and matching ideas you like. Take pictures of your display from different angles to get a sense for how it will look in the actual space. Get feedback from family and friends, and bring reference pictures on the big day so you can be sure to nail it. Avoid displays that are extremely complicated initially, since you’ll have enough to figure out at your first event.

Work Smart

For your first run, plan to do as much as you can to make things easier on yourself. For example, try to bring a helper with you. This way you’ll have someone available to watch the stand and assist customers if you’re pulled away to settle fair logistics, network with other crafters, or even just use the restroom. It’s also someone there for moral support as you make your way through the nervousness of a new venture.

Along those same lines, contemplate what kind of tech will help make the day go smoother, and support your business goals going forward. For example, the newest iPhone has an amazing camera so you can use it to take spectacular photos of your work and display, then share them on social media. Alternatively, the Google Pixel3 also gets high marks for extreme photo quality. When investing in tech like smartphones or even tables, don’t forget to consider accessories like credit card readers that allow you to easily take payment information. That way, you avoid the limitations of only accepting cash. It’s easier for you, and easier for your customers.

Set Your Price

Deciding what to charge for your art is one of the trickier parts of selling, but a few calculations can get you started. First, figure out what you’ve spent up to and on the fair. Consider the cost of the booth, traveling to the fair, getting a seller’s license (if needed), and, of course, the costs of the materials and labor that went into the work.

Even with this forethought, there may be some trial and error – pay attention to what sells and what doesn’t, and use that information to tweak prices as you go along. For instance, Made Urban points out top sellers often have a unique identity that helps their work stand out. Be sure to consider the target audience of any given fair. And for best results, try to have a range of price points to attract customers across the spending spectrum.

Collect Contact Information

Although you obviously want to turn a profit at the craft fair itself, you should also consider how to turn the day into more work in the future. You’re going to wind up speaking to a lot of people who are window-shopping for the day, or who came for something specific you don’t have. This doesn’t mean those customers are lost forever – it just means you didn’t catch them at the right moment.

Thankfully, however, you can stay in touch with these potential customers down the road. Give yourself a chance to capture that perfect time in the future by building a mailing list, and using it to connect. Have a clipboard on your display, and encourage anyone who stops by to add their information.

If shoppers hesitate, little things can help. For example, you can mention that you send out a monthly list of fairs you’re attending, along with a few highlight images. You should also let them know it includes ways to contact you for custom pieces. If they’re still not interested in signing up for your mailing list, be sure to hand them a business card so they can contact you other ways.

Sharing your work with others is the artist’s dream. With research, time, and a lot of hard work, you can make the most of the craft fair circuit.