When I was preparing for my first Vancouver craft show, I did what I could to prepare. I did my homework. I made important choices about my products and my brand that will shape the future of LanaBetty’s image. They were tough decisions! I have learned a lot and it’s obvious (sometimes) I have a lot more to learn.
I decided to go for a white theme, with pink and mint accent colors, throwing a little ivory/vanilla in for compliment and I believe I have a great display that works the best for my products. What I failed to consider, was how I would present myself. I undoubtedly wanted to look nice at the craft show, donning a pair of my favorite LanaBetty earrings to show them off, but I did not realize the impact my product on my ears had on potential customers!
On the Saturday of the two day show, I wore flower earrings. They sold very well and I was very excited for Sunday! When I put in my antique rhinestone earrings Sunday, my flower sales were mediocre. I didn’t get it. Sales were slow.
I looked around at my fellow vendors, pondering the meaning of life and the contents of my fridge (for dinner ideas) when I began to notice a trend. The vendors who were interacting with their product were banking the most sales. Vendors who sat back, arms crossed appeared to be closing themselves off to sales.
My point is, you’ve got to dress, and act, for success. You aren’t going to get a job if you walk into your interview in sweatpants (unless you’re interviewing for a gym)! Why should you sell your hand made creations in spandex? I agree that the hours spent at a craft show can be grueling, but my desires for sales outweigh my desire for comfort.
I’ve made a short & sweet list for you to keep in mind when choosing your wardrobe and attitude for your day spent as a vendor.
- · Dress for success:
o Never forget to match your display (in some way). Keep the colors and patterns of your display in mind when choosing your craft show outfit. Try complimenting colors. Too much matchy matchy is rough; you won’t stand out enough to be seen. Too contrasting and you will look like you don’t belong.
o Leave your sweat pants at home. It is hot, sweaty work to load in your display and set your booth up, but once you’re finished you should be able to don a cool, composed and relaxed professional look that directly compliments your brand.
- · Raise the level of your brand (and yourself):
o Try raising your table and getting a tall chair or stool. By bringing yourself up to the level of your customers, you can look them in the eye, as equals. You can sit on your tall chair and still be ready for action at any time. Chairs close to the floor or any kind of folding camp chair are just too relaxed for the professionalism you should be bringing to your business.
o Can’t get a taller table or chair? Stand. Stand tall and be proud of your product.
- · Be a living display:
o Find a way to interact directly with your product while you speak with potential customers. People are tactile. They like to touch things and see how to interact with products. Vendors selling scarves almost always wear one.
o Can’t wear your product? Find a way to make your product touch-able.
- · Open yourself to interaction:
o Wear a genuine smile. Smiling is hard work after 6 hours straight, but the dividends are worth it. Body language such as crossed arms and frowns can ruin your sales. There are millions of books and articles about body language. Read here. Here. And here.
- · Leave your dog/child/grumpy boyfriend at home:
o It is so much fun to have your child/dog/supportive boyfriend with you at a show, but they can all detract from sales in a plethora of ways. People want to pet the dog. Your child wants to play (distracting you). Your boyfriend is bored and shows it. Nobody wants to stand in front of someone looking bored. If your boyfriend/dog/child are there to support your efforts (maybe you sell dog jackets or children’s toys), then it might be better to leave them at home.
o Note: I have seen successful husband/wife ventures, but your boyfriend/husband really has to be in tune with your brand and has to be full of flirt and openness.
Do you have any tips for dressing for success? Post your comments below!