Craft Fair Tips: Preparation is Key to a Successful Show

Do you ever have that nightmare where you're at a big, crowded craft fair, and everyone is laughing at you?  And at first you think it's because the T-shirts you silkscreened are so funny, but then you realize it's because your table is completely, totally naked?

Okay, maybe that's a slightly modified version of the standard dream, but preparing for craft fairs can be stressful enough to sneak into the subconscious.  That stress, however, can be eliminated with just a bit of preparation.  These craft fair tips and craft fair display ideas will help you get organized for your next event, whether you're getting ready for your first craft fair or want some new ideas to increase your sales:

  • Put Time into Table Design
    It's not enough to just bring all of your awesome wares – you need to make them look nice too.  Varying craft fair display ideas and a well-pressed tablecloth can go a long way to make your work look extra-enticing (check out the Arts & Crafts Fairs & Shows group on Flickr for some specific craft fair display ideas that will wow customers).  And make sure prices are clearly labeled; people don't like needing to ask how much things are.
  • Bring Food, Drink, and Friends
    One of the best craft fair tips for a successful show is to bring snacks and some water to sustain you throughout the day. Sounds simple, but you'll regret forgetting to pack food when you're standing in your booth with a growling tummy. Craft fairs – well, good ones – get crazy busy.  With luck, you'll feel like you don't have time to sneak away from your table to go on a food or water run. And if you can, bring a friend as well, because company is fun...and everyone needs a bathroom break.
  • Prepare for Payments
    Cash is still the craft-fair king.  Bring change, and lots of it.

    If you want to go the next step, you can get set up to accept credit cards on site.  There's one big pro and one big con to this: The pro is that you might be able to make sales to people who are out of cash, and the con is that you have to pay for that privilege.  You can get set up to accept credit cards by getting a standard merchant account and an old-school carbon-paper credit card machine.  Or, if you want to go a little more high-tech, you can download a credit card phone application.  For a monthly fee, these applications turn your smartphone into a credit card processor.  If you use a PayPal account to accept credit cards online, check out wCharge.
  • Make Business Cards Meaningful
    There are plenty of craft-fair perusers who might like your work, but don't want to buy something that day.  When you're working out your craft fair display ideas, make sure to allot a space for your business cards. Make sure your cards include an image that's representative of your work.  A random picture might look nice, but it won't help someone who picked up 15 business cards remember how much she loved your necklace.
  • Get Organized
    Get as organized as you can ahead of time: fill out price tags, get a notebook to track payments, and make sure your craft fair display ideas are fresh in your mind so you know how to set everything up as soon as you get to the venue. Setup always takes longer than you think it will – and you won't have any nightmares the night before.

These craft fair tips and craft fair display ideas will help ensure that you have as successful of a show as possible, whether it's your first time or one of hundreds of vending events.

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