Craft Show Tips Part 2- It’s Show time!

Part 2- It’s Show Time!

Craft Show Tips Show Time- The Little Bird Designs

Welcome to part 2 of our craft show tips and advice. This part is all about setting up your show, how to behave during your event and how to really have a great time being part of the handmade marketplaces! These tips will be just what you need to have a successful time so I hope you enjoy these tips from myself, crafty friends, fellow vendors and coordinators!

During your show/event

For your set up, consider browsing Pinterest! I have a pretty good sized Pinterest board of show setup and ideas that I am always looking to achieve. Make sure you feature multiple heights so your items aren’t all just laying flat. Invest in baskets or trays to group like items together. Your local dollar stores and even Wal-Mart or Target can be great places to find simple set up ideas. Plus don’t forget to check out Antique shops, you can find all kinds of things to give a new life to! For example, my luggage from Parkadilly, my prized clutch display. Check with local businesses as well, many can make displays for you and in turn you are helping a local business out! Also don’t be afraid to change with each event because each venue will be different and have different needs! The one thing I do is have a signature set up item. Mine is my button back drop and front signage. These are the things people will remember the most!


One of 2 birdcages for coin purse display!


“Locker Shelf” from the dollar store for elevation!


My prized Vintage display!


My $2 garment rack for purse display


My newest display for purses, a little 3.5 foot tall body form!

Feature elevation in your display. Elevation draws customers. This is particularly important if you’re near the entrance. Iron your tablecloth.

“My set-up is evolutionary… It changes dependent on the show, the audience and of course the space – its also changes whether I am setting it up by myself or if I have the help of the “herd” (4 kids + hubby) It took a few years to realize that I needed to be adaptable for different shows/spaces. I remember packing up from some of my first shows and it taking close to two hours…. way too long – I found my groove and now a complete dismantle can be done in under an hour (I know some may think that’s still too long but seriously I have A LOT of small things) Crafters need to adapt to individual shows. What I may do for a show in my hometown or Hand of Man in Peterborough or Seasons in Toronto or back here could be 4 very different looks and set-ups

And if you forget something – in my experiences most vendors are more than happy with sharing some tape or lending scissors etc..

I also use a lot of my containers that I transport my goods in sometimes as risers and cover them with cloth” Jeannine from Wylde Rose

Have fun, rain or shine! The one thing that disappoints me is how angry vendors can look and get if it’s too hot for a show or if it rains! There will always be customers that come out rain or shine to craft events and what’s better then finding out your favourite vendor is still there! Be prepared for rain and stay cool in the sun! Also if your show seems to be slow get onto your social media sites and promote, promote promote! Even a call to your favourite radio station can prove beneficial because most will give a shout out to local events!

“Offer a draw for a prize at your booth for spenders. Ask on the ballot if they’d like to be contacted when you’re going to be at a show again. This helps build your contact list for potential customers.” Cheryl from 30 Craft Markets

Dress suited to to your craft and whenever possible wear something you’ve made, people will notice this! This is my favourite tip being someone that sews! I love taking a couple days to pick out the perfect outfit and sometimes even make a top to wear and I made myself a craft show apron too! Don’t sew? why not wear one of the scarves you make, jewellery your create or have your favourite item you’ve made close by to show that you love your items too!

Stand at your booth whenever possible but if you must sit be sure to still interact with your customers. If I am sitting at my booth I try to stand as soon as a customer comes to my table and its usually when I make a sale. People like to speak to people at eye-level and it also gives you an opportunity to show your customers how items look inside or how they work. Try to only sit if you are working on a craft or eating. Also if you must eat at your booth do it during slow times and put food down as soon as people come to your table!

“Key is listening, listen to what is being  said even if its negative. You can learn a lot by doing so, it will help along with taking notes.  As you will know how to or make changes for the next time you attend that event.

It may seem silly but say Thank You after each purchase.  Never take your customer for granted!” Paula from Bark’n Up the Green Tree & P.S Brooks Designs

Bring easy to work on crafts instead of a book during quiet times. Most people love to see that your things are actually handmade. I purposely bring things unfinished just so people can see me work on other items. My friend Vanessa from Beadness brings her jewelry tools and rings so she can adjust sizes as needed, so think of that too!

“If you can, have a project on the go, especially if you make something unique, it can draw people in.” Vanessa from Beadness

Network with other vendors and consider trades. Networking can be the biggest part of your show and can be your biggest success! I try to talk to at least a few vendors at each event and besides who doesn’t love to have fellow crafty friends who enjoy handmade as much as you! I have made so many friends just from attending events. If it wasn’t for Annie from Studio Luma buying me shims for our tables, our connection might not have been as strong! So make friends the old fashioned way; just say hello :)Never ask vendors how they have made for sales. This is more of a pet peeve than a tip. Personal finances whether for business or personal are never anyone’s business. Asking how your day is going is perfectly acceptable but asking how much your neighbour sold/made is not! It could be someone’s first show so they might not sell much and by asking you could make them feel awful, so I always say, when in doubt don’t ask!

Have lots of small priced items. I find that having some lower priced items gives customers a chance to purchase things without the huge commitment! My little keychain pouches are my number one sellers at shows because they are great for kids and adults! While you are providing small priced items for kids why not have little freebies for the kids too! Kids love to touch things and have a snack (like a sucker or small treat) it makes them feel special and included! Just always make sure they are peanut free, just in case!

“Have something small for the kids to buy.  They love to be able to buy something!” Laurie from Laurie’s Crafty Creations

Stay to the end! Most shows require you to stay to the end but I always notice a few who leave early the second things get slow. In the last hour of a show I always notice people will spend more and it’s the best time for vendors to shop or make trades! If you trade with vendors please make sure it is an equal trade. I have come close a few times where I have had people try to give me a lower priced item for one of my higher priced things. Just be sure you are on the same page trade-wise!Smile! If you’re having a bad day or in a bad mood don’t be hesitant to have someone else watch your booth. Smiling is the easiest way to make a sale and talking about the weather never fails either. Especially in Canada where the weather changes in the blink of an eye, you can never go wrong talking about it!

I hope you all have enjoyed my tips and tricks on how to plan for a craft show! If you are looking for more tips and advice check out the Made By Hand shows listing of tips and advice!

I would love to see pictures of what you do for your set up and any advice you could share for fellow crafty people. Send me an email of your set up and maybe I will do a feature of just set ups too! Helping out the handmade world is the best thing we can all do for each other!

Happy Sunday and happy crafting 🙂


Reposted from 09/22/2013

Aimee Stock Photos from Ivory Mix

1 thought on “Craft Show Tips Part 2- It’s Show time!”

  1. Pingback: Craft Show Etiquette | Crafty Bird Blog

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