Thursday, June 9

Top 10 Craft Fair Tips: Part 1

***Okay, I'm starting with 5 tips because I have so much to say & this post is already too long.***
*** I will post Part 2 tomorrow.***

After having a booth at the Queen Bee Market,
I wanted to share with you some tips I've picked up.
This was about the 6th show I've been a vendor at,
so I'm not a veteran, but I always learn so much at each show.
 Above all else:
1. Invest thought, time, & energy into your booth display.
I was so focused on my art for the first few craft fairs that I didn't
spend much time thinking about the display.
I ended up hanging some originals in weird awkward ways because
I didn't have a good hanging system, and putting all of my prints
in wicker baskets so they couldn't be seen.

Without a thoughtful, engaging display,
all of my hard work and time and money seemed wasted.
Be sure to research and figure out the details of your set up.
Practice setting up your booth way before the big day.

My booth display this time...

As you can see, it's super simple,
but all of the space is used and
the product can be seen.

You booth needs to be:
My art need to be seen!
Think vertical & varying heights to maximize your space.
Easy to set up and take down.
It all has to fit in my minivan.
I need to store it in my garage without
driving my husband crazy.

It can't break the bank.
My budget goal for Queen Bee was $100 for the whole display.
I ended up spending about $170 after going back
to Home Depot about 17 times. (See # 4).
*Tips: Make friends with the guys at Home Depot & ask them how to make stuff.
*Look in the used wood bin at Home Depot. $.50 for some great, big pieces.

Pay attention to detail.
It needs to make people want to stop & look. 
Queen Bee had the best, cutest both displays I've ever seen.
There is so much more I will do next time to cute it out.
But this was a start.

2. Know thy venue. 

I can't stress this enough!
an art fair, a street fair, and a craft fair
are 3 very different venues with very different clientele.

Don't just sign up for anything!
Take time to think about your product and where it will fit best,
and your target market and where they will be.
Attend the venue and take note of booths that stand out
and get attention, what they are selling and their price points.

My experience:
My first venue was a street fair in a small town.
I only brought original paintings. I sold not one thing. Not one.
 I was so discouraged. But duh...
When I go to a street fair I bring $10 to spend on kettle corn & maybe a pair of earrings.
I don't go there looking to spend $125 on original art.
and neither does anyone else.
That doesn't mean I can't do street fairs,
it just means I need adjust my inventory & price points.
Which brings me to # 3...

3. Have a variety of price points.

Honestly, I don't like selling cards.
I barely make a profit and they are a pain to fold and package.
But, I view them as part of my marketing.
They provide an inexpensive price point for someone who wants to buy a piece of my work
and when someone sends a card to someone they care about
with my name and information on the back, it's free marketing for me.

I know when I find an artist I love, and want to remember,
I usually buy a card, or a set of cards (what I can afford).
And if I have that art work lying around, if I love it enough,
I'll purchase artwork when I can.

Also a variety of price points (having inexpensive items) draws people in to your booth.
I can't tell you how many times people stopped to look at a $3 card
and ended up purchasing a print, or even an original.

With a variety of price points, and more inexpensive items,
you're going to have a lot more sales.
Which is just way, way more fun and engaging,
and gets you connecting with customers, too.

4. Be prepared to spend way more money than you expected. 

Whatever you think your budget is, double it.
It's really annoying. An emergency trip to Kinkos. 73 trips to Home Depot later.
A $50 budget can easily turn into $300. Just be prepared.
I'm sure the more shows I do, the less unexpected costs will pop up.
Plus, I think I have most of the emergency items I need now.
But I also know that I will probably always spend more than what I plan.

 5. Be prepared to spend way more time than you expected.

So far, every time I've done a show it doesn't just take up the time during the show,
it consumes my whole world for at least 2 weeks before.
Countless hours are spent  thinking, listing, planning, and preparing.
which takes away my focus on my family, which is the whole reason I'm doing this:
For my family, to be home with my babies.
I have to believe that, if I do this more, the learning curve will even out
and it will take significantly less time and energy. Right?

 I try to keep track of every hour spent,
in order to find out how much money I'm really making.
But the bottom line is that it will always take way more time than you plan.
So just plan on it.

And remember:
Everything is a learning experience.
Flickr has some great groups with photos & creative ideas for booth displays.
Here and here and here

Tomorrow I will get to Part 2!


  1. Erin! I was on FB, and this popped up. Hope you are feeling good. Thanks for the tips, craft shows are the hardest event ever. I used to have a business where I did a booth at wedding fairs. I agree on every single point you made!Love the new blog design, super cuteness. Someday I will have a custom original done~ Still in printing prints mode, but getting there. With a family it's tricky! Family first always! Hugs, M

  2. Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I have never done a craft fair so what completely helpful info this in - if I ever do one in the future!

  3. I just finished my 2nd show last month - and it was my first multiple day show - and I completely agree with everything you have posted! If only I had seen these tips beforehand..hehe.

    I know I need to work on the multiple price points, that was one of my biggest problems. BUT I view it as good networking and marketing. Getting your name out there is one of the more important things. You never know who might buy after the show, when they have more $$ :)

  4. Hey Shauna, Yes, I totally agree, I made contacts with people I still keep in touch with, even a couple years later. A few ended up buying original pieces almost a year later. Definitely worth meeting people and getting your work out there!

  5. Hey Jen, It's a great experience. Always more to learn, but like Shaina said, great to connect with people (vendors and customers)and get your work out there.

  6. Thank YOu! for posting this...I'm getting ready for a three day event and with limited space- I have to get crafty with my set up, thanks for all the inspirational pics! and btw I love your new blog layout- well done! xo

  7. Thank you for posting about just the kind of information I needed. The whole world of art fairs and the like is new for me and I appreciate your sharing your wisdom and experience.

  8. Hi! I stumbled upon this post via pinterest when looking for booth ideas. I love your work and I love the shelving system you created. It looks like you might have it attached to another board to create a support for it to stand on. I realize this is an old post, but do you mind sharing how it is put together and how it has worked for you?

  9. I love these displays! I make burlap prints, both framed and unframed and this would work perfectly. Do you have a tutorial on how you made these?

  10. oh wow! I agree with ALL of this haha