Confessions of an Entrepreneur: Tips on surviving my first craft fair

It’s so hard to believe that I’ve never met most of the people that have bought an item from my Etsy shop. Isn’t that crazy? But, that’s the world we live in! E-commerce has opened the door for so many people like myself. However, one of my goals for this year was to try my luck at participating in a few craft fairs. IMG_3550

I signed up for 2 this holiday season. And I decided to use my first one as a trial run for the bigger one at the end of November. My first fair, I would only have a table. My second fair, I will have a booth.

Here’s a few take aways from first craft fair:

  1. If you can, visit the fair before you sign up.
  2. Find a craft fair that has “history” and a good reputation.
  3. If it’s your first one, find a fair that has affordable table or booth space. You’ll want to be able to make this money back in your sales for the day.
  4. Sign up for a date around universal “pay days.” Ie: 1st and 15th of the month.
  5. Prepare a market kit. This should include wipes, scissors, tape, receipt book, phone charger, $20 in singles, square reader, pen and a marker…and anything else you can think of!
  6. Pack a lunch. Especially if you plan to be the only person managing your booth.
  7. Find out the specs of the table or space that you will have and make a list of potential things you will need. Even try drafting a blue print for your layout.
  8. Take a trip to your local Home Goods or TJ Maxx. These places are great for affordable table cloths, baskets, make shift displayers and glass bowls.
  9. Take a look around your house for items you can use as displayers.
  10. Bring a tailgate chair and/or stool. Most places will not provide this.
  11. Take advantage of the set-up time organized by the company hosting the market. This will be your opportunity to meet other vendors, trade tips and find out who the clientele is that frequents the fair or flea market.
  12. As an online seller, I was not prepared for the amount of physical inspection from customers. Keep shout wipes handy to protect your product.
  13. Give people space to shop. This was probably my biggest challenge. I would get so excited for people to stop by my table that I would literally blurt out prices and specials the second they showed interest. Throughout the day I learned that this was not the most effective way to get their attention. Simply greet them and let them know you’re there for questions and help.
  14. Make “signage.” I remembered this from working in retail for years. You’ll want signage that includes prices and features to help sell your product and make your space feel more like a shop. Think of signage as an additional “employee.” It will answer questions that the shopper may have.

    Make more than enough inventory. Your future self will thank you.

  15. Take some business cards with you. Many people love to hear that you have an online shop and will take advantage of viewing your entire selection online. Other vendors will want to trade business cards as well.

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    To learn more about my Etsy shop, visit my site here. 

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