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12 Tips for a Great Craft Show

Posted by Lana Lepper on

It has been an exhausting few weeks (months) leading up to this weekend, but LanaBetty is ready. If you have been keeping tabs through facebook, twitter, or instagram, you're probably aware of the great journey LanaBetty has embarked on, working to create amazing new products available this spring.

Spring Markets: Make It Show - April 19, 20, 21 | Got Craft - April 27, 28 | Crafty Affaire - May 4

Knowing that timing was going to be tight, I decided I would do my best to follow my "lessons learned" from the last Make It Show I attended. I was going to be prepared. I was going to project manage myself. I was going to do it right. I signed up for Make It University's Spring Cha Ching, wrote down my notes and did my best to set my goals. Mighty goals. Unachievable goals (if looked at as a whole), but I broke the goals down into smaller more achievable goals and set to it. Throw in a business trip and an outrageous amount of wedding planning to do and we've got my past three months. Did I mention I've been seeing a personal trainer and have been going to the gym 4 days a week? Aching muscles are normal and expected at this point. Don't get me wrong these are not complaints. I have successfully managed to juggle all of my commitments and feel FANTASTIC that it has all come together.


To follow up on Jenna Herbut's fantastic article, "How to Get Ready for Spring Craft Shows", I'd like to go into further detail, if you will, of how to make the "day of" AWESOME. After attending over 20 markets in the past year, my experiences have shown that it is important to have a routine. Especially if you have other life commitments, such as a 9-5 day job, children, or any other entrepreneurial adventures!

12 Tips for a Great Craft Show

  1. Hydrate - forget soda and caffiene filled drinks, push the H2O. We all push ourselves leading up to shows, late nights and early mornings; I don't always eat as well as I should but it is the drinks that just destroy me. Forget the cola and opt for water or sugar-free iced tea. Keep yourself hydrated to avoid headaches, acne, and keep your sweat clean (when you work up a sweat making tonnes of sales at the show).
  2. Smile - look everyone in the eye and smile like you mean it! Let the smile fill your face, your eyes, and your attitude. The average potential customer spends about 30 seconds looking at your booth, you, and your products. You've got 30 seconds to wow them, compliment them, and pique their interests. What's 30 seconds in a lifetime? It's easy. Just smile.
  3. Look your Best - be the best version of yourself, even if you're hot, sweaty, and just spent 3 hours loading and setting up your booth. I bring some fancy-shmancy clothes (that I change into after setup) and I like to keep some energy mist close at hand. If I can, I try to take 15-20 minutes before a show opens to touch up my makeup, check my hair, and change out of my work clothes into something more refined and dressy, something that embodies my brand. I usually ditch the sneakers for ballet flats and grab a button up cardigan. Lipgloss is my savior, for last minute touchups.
  4. Tell your Friends - build hype about the show by telling your biggest fans, your friends! Their love and support will turn any frown upside-down. They, in turn, will tell their friends, who will tell their friends, who will tell.... you get the idea. 
  5. Snacks - never underestimate the value of having healthy snacks available. Often there is never enough time to grab a bite during setup, or the first rush, or the second, or all the rushes throughout the day and we either dash out to the food carts to spend our hard earned cash on quick fixes or are utterly famished (and hangry) by the end of the day. Bring bite-sized snacks so you can sneak in bites between customers. My favorite snacks are grapes, cheese, flaxseed crackers and apples.
  6. Organize - ensure all of your tools, supplies, and stock have a home. There is nothing worse than when a customer asks to see an item you have in another color and you have to fumble through piles of disorganized chaos behind your booth to find the item. Set yourself up for success by labeling containers, keeping things easy to see and putting tools back where they belong, every time. It could be the difference between a sale or a pass.
  7. Homework - like an ocean, craft shows have their highs and lows. Keep yourself busy and avoid reaching for your i-device by brining homework. Do you have labels that need sticking or a sketch book to draw out your ideas? By keeping yourself occupied, you can stave off feeling disappointed if there is a large lull and most importantly, from venturing out to other vendors to complain about the show. Never complain about the show while you're there. Ever. That's the ultimate in poor vendor etiquette (in my humble opinion). You, the other vendors, and the event organizers are all there for the same reason and it is key to present a united, smiling, crafty front. Frowning vendors makes customers frown and that makes our cashboxes frown too.
  8. Stock - keep your extra stock close at hand for when you sell out what is on display! To avoid making your display look too crowded with product, keep some back behind your display. If products are not selling as well or not moving as quickly as you'd like, having extra stock to switch out or move around will help to keep your display fresh and ever changing. Oh! And don't forget to plan out enough stock. Rushing home after the first day of a show to make make make into the wee hours isn't good for you (hello, baggy eyes) and it isn't good for your product (rushed = mistakes). It's also important to accept that it's alright to sell out of a product here and there too. 
  9. Network - get to know your neighbors! hand out business cards, trade emails, and look at your neighbors displays. Compliment them on the display elements you like and be genuine about it. Show you care and build your karma; it will pay off when you've got to rush off to pee and your neighbour keeps an eye on your cashbox (and maybe makes a sale or two for you!)
  10. Upsell - imagine this scenario. you've got a customer interested in your product and they're thinking about buying a second (or third) item as a gift for a friend. Why not sweeten the deal for them? Upsell by offering a discount if they purchase more than one item! Third item is 50% off or Fourth item free, you get the idea. Think of all the times you were a customer and were happily pulled into a purchase because it was a good deal? Your customers want that too.
  11. Communicate (body language) - like I mentioned above about smiling, it is key to smile with your eyes and really, your whole body. Crossed arms is a notorious "do not talk to me" body signal, while open arms or facing your body to the person your speaking to will do wonders. Get up off your chair to talk to customers, walk in front of your booth and relate with them, help them find commonality between you and them so that they want to purchase your products!
  12. Relax - don't forget how hard you worked to get to this moment and how much fun you are about to have smiling, communicating and generally being awesome! Take a moment to find your center, take a deep breath and appreciate the moment. You made it. You are here. It's time to shine.
'Craft Show Preparation' by LanaBetty This weekend marks the start of Spring Market Season. Read more above.
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