Craft Show Etiquette
My newest addition to craft show tips is Etiquette for vendors. I’ve done crafts shows myself for the past 4 years and many, many years prior to those as my moms helper when she did shows and the farmers markets. I often see people rocking craft show etiquette (like Annie from Studio Luma, I’ve never been so drawn to someone at a booth before!) and people who have done miserable. I’ve also been on the short end of the stick with rude and mean vendors! I’ve put together some tips with the help of some crafty friends and artisans to help during the upcoming show season to help you have an excellent season too!
Here’s my top Etiquette tips for crafts shows!
Never ask financial questions
This is my #1 tip and the thing that drives me nuts the most. I’ve mentioned this in my other post of tips but it applies here as well! Please don’t EVER ask a fellow vendor: “have you even sold anything?” “Have you done very ‘well’ today?” Or come straight out and ask how much someone has made. I’ve turned down trades because people have asked this. Best bet is ask how the day has been. How much you make is relative to what you create and value is different for everyone. If you had a rough go don’t assume everyone else has!
Be friendly to your neighbours
I’m always sad when the person next to me doesn’t want anything to do with their neighbour! I love getting to know fellow artisans and craft shows are the best way to find new friends. I love getting to know people who make unique things or things I never know how to make! It’s a great way to build a list of contacts for the holidays to do your shopping all handmade! All it takes is a simple hello 🙂
Have some respect for your show organizer!
Many organizers volunteer their time and energy to put together the shows in between working and their own family life. Be respectful of the choices they’ve made putting the show together and their applications! Also please don’t blame the organizers for a poor show, you are in charge of your booth so please take responsibility for your sales! *Exception-poorly run shows or rude organizers. If this is the case speak directly to the organizer via their end of market survey or a quick email. Talking about them at the show does NOT make anything better!
Always say hello to customers (ESPECIALLY fellow vendors!)
Saying a simple hello is the best way to make a sale! This tip comes from my late grandfather who ran a stall at our local farmers market. Whenever someone came to the table he would grunt at us to say hello. 9 times out of 10 people bought our veggies! Try it at your next show, say hello, talk about the weather (everyone hates the snow at this point!) and see just how much this makes a difference. Also please if you notice the person at your table is a fellow vendor make sure you say hello too!
Don’t talk poorly about the show or other vendors
This is a biggie and goes along with the 3rd tip. If you aren’t happy with the show or a vendor nearby speak to the organizer in private. I’ve had an issue before with a fellow vendor and mentioned it to the organizer and she was very understanding and caring about the situation. The situation was taken care of in a professional manner and no ones feelings were hurt!
Offer to help other vendors with set up or take down
If you are quick at your set up or take down and notice the person beside you has arrived late or is new why not offer a hand? Many vendors have to go to shows alone so a helpful hand is always welcomed!
Offer vendor deal/trade
This one is optional. I know many vendors like to offer discounts to other vendors and it really is a great idea as many vendors shop at the end of shows so again it’s a great way to network! Just be reasonable about your deal and be sure that your trades are of equal value!
Don’t block neighbours table/entrance way
This tip comes from an organizer and is an important one! If you know your display may block your potential neighbours, ask your organizer on the applications for extra space or a corner booth to ensure you don’t block someone else!
If someone is looking for something that you don’t make point them to someone who does or offer a custom order
This is something I like to pride myself on doing. There are many crafts I CANNOT do and lots of sewing I don’t enjoy yet I have no problem at all sharing fellow artisans with family and friends! I’d rather give the name of someone who is a pro than risk to saying I can make something I’m not that good at!
Don’t blatantly steal someone’s ideas, inspiration is ok, but copying is not!
If you are at a show and notice there are similar vendors as yourself don’t search out items to outright copy! Using their items as an inspiration point is ok but please don’t copy someone and claim as your own design! Better yet if you have used a design as inspiration, credit them as the inspiration, you get to promote them and you just did some networking!
Never announce that you could make something cheaper! (And please don’t barter for a cheaper price!)
This one goes for both vendors and shoppers! Each one of us puts our heart and soul into everything we make. Asking for a cheaper price devalues the work and claiming you can make it cheaper does the same thing as well!
Have fun and network
Last but certainly not least have fun! Networking is the best part of craft shows. You get to meet so many new people, artisans and the general public. I’ve met students learning to sew and shared my tips and patterns. I’m always sharing my fabric finds and cool website. I always say that if a show is going slower than planned (weather, many shows going on etc) networking is what you have to do! The value in networking is sometimes missed but is something we all have to strive for in the world of handmade where marketing is mainly word of mouth and social media! Don’t forget to have fun while your doing it too! Goofiness is always remembered 😉
Thank you to my friend Kirsti Lynne and Annie from Studio Luma for their tips. Be sure to check out their sites too!
I love more than anything to help fellow artisans out, in fact I have an amazing artisan that I will be sharing on my blog this week!
If you have tips you’d like to share please leave a comment below. I love hearing and sharing tips & tricks to people just starting out! 🙂
The Little Bird Designs
Thanks Cheryl 🙂
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Another terrific blog post! You write well and offer such useful info. I always learn something from your blog!