Every Fall I do the Glendale KY Fall Festival, and each year the goal is the same. To have a successful craft show. There are people who definitely do more craft shows than I do. But I’ve been at it for years and have learned a few things along the way. Glendale 2017 was definitely the most successful craft show to date! The weather was perfect, there was probably a record crowd. Those are the top two things to be successful, but totally out of your control.
I hope these 12 successful craft show tips will help you with your next show!
Tip #1 Preparation is the Key for a Successful Craft Show
I have been renting a u-haul for a few years. The craft show is on Saturday. I spent Wednesday gathering all of my projects to one area. I picked up the u-haul on Thursday afternoon and loaded it in just over 2 hours. (with help from my neighbor Rodney). I arrived to set up at the show around noon on Friday—the earliest I’ve ever set up. Preparation is the key to a successful craft show!
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Tip #2 Make an Inventory Price List
Make a Price list spread sheet. You can do this on Google Drive. Listing your items by category and giving them each a price will make it easier to fill out price tags. In addition, if a price tag is lost, anyone running the booth will be able to know the price at a glance of the sheet.
Tip #3 Pack Carefully
Most of these projects have been on the blog, but how many can you identify? Very few. I use sheets, towels, moving blankets and more to wrap the projects to protect them on the ride. Bungee cords and nylon rope are also helpful to keep the load from shifting. While driving down the interstate, the constant bouncing can create stress against painted objects and rub off the paint.
hint: take a handful of emery boards to distress any paint that may chip along the way.
Tip #4 Fill up that booth
Staging is pretty, but it’s more important to fill up that booth. I rent two booths that create a walk-through from one aisle to the other. If your booth looks empty customers will pass you by and not come in.
Tip #5 Don’t SIT
This pallet potting table had just enough room for me to stand behind. That allowed me to be available for questions, but kept me out of the way of traffic in the booth. Running a booth is a lot of work, and a long day. We arrived around 6:45 and didn’t sit down until after 2:00. After the crowd died down, I went to the u-haul to bring out the craft show chair. IF you must sit, sit high. It makes you more visible to your customers or passersby.
hint: don’t eat in your booth unless you are manning your booth alone
Tip #6 Hire Help
Working a booth alone may cause you to lose sales. Hiring help will increase sales and allow you to take breaks when necessary. My cousin Terry has been helping me for the last several years and it has helped me have successful craft shows. Having an extra pair of hands and an extra set of eyes will make a big difference.
Tip #7 Use quality tents
Quality white tents are a must. I have two tents. The first one I bought when I first started attending craft shows. It is a King Canopy. It is very heavy duty. I found it on Amazon, but I don’t see it there currently. The other is an EZ UP tent. If you use a blue or red picnic canopy, it will cast a funny hue onto your projects. I recommend going the extra mile and buying sides for your tents. It helps secure your items overnight, and leaving the sides up makes your items show up better.
hint: waterproof your tents (they are not waterproof when you buy them) Heavy dew will seep through. Before you open the doors to your tent, use something to knock of the dew from the roof. Not doing so, will cause it to drip for hours. If, like me you join two tents together, don’t display any items where the two tents come together during the overnight hours. Dew (or rain) will make it through the crack and ruin your projects.
Tip #8 Use “S” hooks and zip ties
If you space out your items, “s” hooks will allow you to hang many items from the side rails of your craft show tent. In the beginning I used rope and string, but I quickly realized that hooks are so much faster and easier. Zip ties come in handy as well. We use them to connect the two center poles together to help secure the tents together. For this craft show zip ties were also used to hold the console table to the slatted bench since there are no walls.
Tip #9 Protect Furniture Legs from rocks and debris
Protecting the feet and legs of furniture projects at your craft show is a must! You’ve worked hard on your projects and you want to make sure your customers get to take home damage free furniture.
Tip #10 Be creative with pricing signs
Small rustic chalkboards or pedestal signs make great pricing options. Note the small chalkboard on top of the grateful thankful blessed headboard describing the price of the cutting boards above.
Tip #11 Offer to hold large items to assure a Successful Craft Show
Because I sell a lot of large items, I always offer to hold items till the end of the day, or when the customer is ready to leave.
Tip #12 Make Claim Tickets
Take a good look at the price tags that I make. I buy perforated raffle tickets for my price tags. I started doing this because one year a customer asked me to hold something, and at the end of the day she didn’t remember where I was located.
The front of the perforated tag has my name, phone number, and my location. The back of the tag has the price and a description of the item. Customers must present the claim ticket when they are picking up their item. This is helpful if you have more than one person working the booth. It’s also a good idea to write the customers name and phone number on the large part of the ticket in case they don’t return to get their item.
hint: save the claim tickets as a quick source of keeping track of your inventory and what was sold.
Tip #12 Condense your booth as items are picked up
Because my booth is 10x20, it starts to look sparse as large items are picked up. This year was the first time that we moved available items to one end of the booth as the day went on. As a rule, most of the large items are sold by noon, but not picked up until around 2 or 3 as people are leaving the show.
In other words, we left the sold items in the far booth, and brought the available items forward. If your booth starts to look empty customers will pass you by. Near closing time, the available items were in a space near the size of 10 x 4. It was a warm day, so I made the decision to keep the sold items on the sunny side, and the available items on this side in the shade. We did that soon after my friend Nova took this picture of us.
Terry has been helping me for a few years. This is her advice if you're new to the craft show circuit.
Just relax. Anticipate problems and be read to adjust. Have fun. Learn from others around you. Watch what they do and adjust it to fit your needs.
If you have any tips for me or those reading this post, please leave them in a comment below.
A short video
here's a little Facebook Live video I did after we finished setting up the booth on Friday afternoon
Vintage Suitcase Makeover
Chalkboard Speech Bubbles
XL Blue Corkboard
Tufted Upholstered Bench
Metal Leg Tables
Rustic Full Length Mirror
Double Column Console Table (second to sell)
Small Side Table (first to sell)
Pink Dog/Doll Bed
White Chippy Porch Chair
Pallet Potting Table
Wooden Slat Bench
Portable Folding Pallet Bar
Large Gray Glazed Shelf (6 hooks)
Small Gray Glazed Shelves
Vintage Gray Glazed Drawer Shelf (didn’t sell)
Tall Kitchen Drawer Shelf
Pallet Coffee Cup Rack
Grateful, Thankful, Blessed Headboard Sign
What I Love Most about My Home (headboard coat rack)
Small Window Hook Rack
Porch Post Coat Rack
Christmas Trees For Sale Sign
Stockings Were Hung Headboard
Black Shutter Shelf (donated to a local high school)
Easels to Display Large Items
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.