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Forum topic by Dabcan posted 11-10-2014 02:51 PM 2199 views 8 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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250 posts in 2093 days

11-10-2014 02:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: craft show advice new sale etsy selling

Hi Everyone,

Since it is craft show season, I thought we could start a thread about craft show advice. We have people on this site who have done many shows, others only a few, and some who are just thinking about it. There are some great blog posts on this site with excellent advice, but I’d like to have a post where everyone can chime in with their bits of advice no matter how big or small they maybe.

I’m certainly not an expert, but I have had some success over the past two years and I’m sure there are tons of you out there with advice to share.

Tip #1 – get there early, or set up the night before if you can, the number of times I’ve seen vendors scrambling to get their tables ready well after the show has started! It not only affects you but all the other vendors as you are getting in the way of prospective customers.

Alright, who’s got tip #2?

-- @craftcollectif ,,

51 replies so far

View huey101's profile


1 post in 869 days

#1 posted 11-10-2014 03:58 PM

I make an effort to speak to every person who passes my booth. I am convinced that this generates 2/3 of my sales from people who would not normally stop.

View Dabcan's profile


250 posts in 2093 days

#2 posted 11-10-2014 04:04 PM

huey101 – I did a show in September where the vendor beside me was selling felt products. I was a bit jealous of her as she was able to make her crafts while at the sale, until I saw that she spent the entire day sitting with her head down making things and not interacting with any customers. Needless to say she was very disappointed in her sales at the end of the day…

Great advice, let’s keep them coming!

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View Dabcan's profile


250 posts in 2093 days

#3 posted 11-10-2014 09:41 PM

I had someone once tell me to use nice clear plastic bags so that after they purchase your item everyone sees it while they walk around the show with their new purchase.

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View Artz's profile


17 posts in 941 days

#4 posted 11-11-2014 10:29 PM

Craft shows are work. It’s work to get to the site set up if you are far from home you have to stay in a motel and spend long hours on your feet and selling. As Huey 101 said talk to everyone that passes your stall. a simple hello how are you today is all you need. If they stop and look listen to the things that say that indicate they like what they see. Like ” gee tis would be a great gift for Mary and Bob. At That point engage them ask what they like ect. Might bea good idea to pick up a book or two on sales. Remember there is a big hole in front of your booth that those people will fall into and you may never have the opportunity to sell them that great gift for Mary and Bob. You do not need to be pushy but you should take away all their excuses Like “we will be back we just don’t want to carry that clock or turned bowl while we look” You should say buy it now and I will keep it for you while you look around. I’m here all day. I’m an artist a former Gallery owner and have done the Craft show thing on the road thing.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2344 days

#5 posted 11-12-2014 12:20 AM

I have been doing shows for over seven years now. I usually do twenty-five of them. Talking to shoppers is vital, true. Having a product in the right price range for your area is just as important. I focus on producing $20 items. If it does not make sense to make a new item in that price range I no longer make it or find a more efficient way to make it to keep the selling price down there.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View Dabcan's profile


250 posts in 2093 days

#6 posted 11-12-2014 08:04 PM

I was hoping for a little more participation… Maybe I’ll throw out another one:

- Don’t put too much on the table, if it’s over crowded it’s hard for people to see what’s there

Anyone else? No tip is too small…

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View Keith Sonefelt's profile

Keith Sonefelt

18 posts in 772 days

#7 posted 11-13-2014 06:10 AM

I’ve found that taking my mini lathe and making a few items throughout the day helps my sales. I often get asked, how’d you do that, or what does it take to make that. I usually keep it simple, like a pen, bottle stopper, honey dipper or something along those lines. I have had many people buy the item before I’ve even finished it. Also I don’t have “set” prices on my items. I know how much time and material are involved in most of them, and I normally keep my prices between 10 and 40 dollars. +1 on having too much on the tables, I keep plenty of stuff with me, but never display it all. If a customer stops by and looks around and says “I’ll stop back by later, I hand them a card with 10% off 1 item written on it. This works 2 ways, it gives them incentive to come back and also puts a card in their hand. Just my 2cents worth!

-- "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right"

View redryder's profile


2394 posts in 2523 days

#8 posted 11-13-2014 07:08 AM

I’m not a salesman. I don’t really like salesmen. But I do like looking, shopping and buying if it’s right.

When I go to a craft show (I’ll be going to the Portland, Ore. Woodworking show this next Saturday),

I like to see: 1. sellers who engage me in a friendly way 2. tables that have a lot to look at 3. items that have every item priced 4. items in different price ranges. Something cheap to buy for the grand kids, something mid level priced for the wife and I’m not afraid of something expensive for me if I like/need/want it. 5. variety but I get it if someone has a specialty 6. when I decide to talk to a vendor, I like to think they know what they are talking about 7. items that are new, unique or different from the crowd

What I don’t like to see: 1. vendors reading a magazine, playing with thier cell phone or stuffing thier face with a ham sandwich 2. vendors who leave thier 13 year old daughter to run the show. I get it that you have to use the restroom but when I swing by 40 minutes later and the kid is still there doing the things in number one above…. 3. items for sale with no price. To me, no price usually means High price 4. seeing items for sale that should go to the Goodwill 5. high pressure sales people 6. people who put signs all over thier table that say “DON’T HANDLE WITHOUT PERMISSION”. You don’t see that at retail stores. 7. vendors who act like they have done this a thousand times and have nothing else to do with thier life 8. items that are so overpriced, I walk away wondering if the guy ever sells anything 9. two vendors talking who don’t notice I’m alive

This is a buyers perspective. You know, the guy with the money you want. If your a seller I think you
should ”THINK LIKE A CUSTOMER”....................................

-- mike...............

View Dabcan's profile


250 posts in 2093 days

#9 posted 11-14-2014 12:12 AM

display – try to make your display have different levels. I use home made plywood boxes to carry my stuff to the show, then I put them upside down on the table to give a raised area for some of my stuff. I think this helps to spread things out a bit and the dual purpose is always great (less things to carry!).

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 2707 days

#10 posted 11-14-2014 02:50 AM

Remember the “7 second” rule; that’s the average time for a prospective customer to pass by your booth. So you have 7 seconds to make a good first impression, get their attention and create enough interest for them to stop at your display.

Have a professional looking sign to represent you and what you do.

Have professional looking displays….........A card table with a table cloth is not a professional display, anymore then cinder blocks and 2×6’s. We’re woodworkers, we should be able to build somthing unique for displays.

Be creative and make your booth or display stand out from all the others.

Never stand in your booth with your arms crossed across your chest, sit reading a book, or talking or texting on your cell phone. All bad habits that will give a prospective customer a reason NOT to stop at your booth.

You have to remember that you are marketing yourself as much as you are your product, so don’t forget to critique yourself and your display. A bad show is not alway contributed to a bad crowd, bad location, bad weather, or the wrong time of the year. Make sure it’s not because of you or your display.

When in doubt of whether you should or shouldn’t do something, just remember the ” 7 second rule”!

Most important; get excited and have fun talking with everyone!

-- John @

View Al Amantea's profile

Al Amantea

39 posts in 917 days

#11 posted 11-14-2014 08:46 AM

I just recently starting selling my items at booths, having done most by contract, or word of mouth.

Whenever I see a potential buyer stop at the booth and eye an item, especially if it’s a couple, I almost always try to engage them in conversation… “Everything here was hand crafted by me”, “Are you looking for anything specific”, etc.

If they are talking amongst themselves, I normally butt out, but if one really shows interest in an item, I will ask two questions…

1. Can you name 3 things that you like about that item?
2. Can you name 1 one thing you don’t like about it?

This serves two purposes… 1) it gets them thinking in a positive way about my item, and 2) it gives me inside information as to what they really don’t like or changes i need to make in the future….

Even if you don’t make the sale, the intel you gather is worth volumes in the future!


-- Measure Twice, then cut it again...

View patty 's profile


14 posts in 723 days

#12 posted 11-14-2014 12:49 PM

I like the tips or advice. I have never done a craft show but I plan to get started doing them soon.

-- Patty Schenewerk ,

View becikeja's profile


617 posts in 2235 days

#13 posted 11-14-2014 12:58 PM

Pricing Rules??

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Dabcan's profile


250 posts in 2093 days

#14 posted 11-15-2014 12:13 AM

I generally figure out my price = material cost + shop charge and that is wholesale, retail is generally double this price.

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2344 days

#15 posted 11-15-2014 01:08 PM

Pricing rules at a Craft sale? What ever the market will bear. If most of us put in all our true costs the price would be too high to sell much. As Huff said signage can be helpful. I have a 24” x 36” sign that says “Gift Ideas”...................
It gets people to think about who they know that would like one of these. Not just for their own use.
....................I have tried running my scroll saw at the sale but few stop to watch, once they see my display of finished goods they move to them. I work my sales alone so I have to stop sawing to work a sale. I no longer take my saw to sales.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

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