Arts and Crafts festivals are growing rapidly in popularity, for both shoppers and vendors. When it comes to selling arts and crafts at a festival there are a few things that you should do to guarantee that you are prepared. Readying and planning are key elements in having a successful arts and crafts sales event.
To start you will want to do some research. Find out upcoming events and decide what venue is right for your art. After you have chosen a venue that is right for you take the following advice into consideration.
Paperwork and License
The boring part of the arts and crafts vending business is the paperwork. It is important to have all paperwork and applications turned in on time to guarantee that you have a spot secured. Make sure you also have any tax documents or numbers that are required. Festival host and jury members will often show favoritism toward returning vendors, as a new vendor it is imperative that you turn all of your paperwork in on time. Applications are usually available upon request and often contain any information that you will need to attach and/or bring with you.
2. Create an inventory.
Make sure that you plan to bring more inventory than you think you will need. As you sell items at the arts and crafts fair you will want to have something to put in its place. Tables that appear empty during a show can sometimes deter potential buyers. As you craft the inventory that you plan to sell at the arts and crafts festival, keep a list so that you will know how many of each item you have, how much it cost you to make it and how much you are selling them for. Take the list with you to the arts and crafts fair to keep track of what you sell. Keeping this list will allow you to assess your profit/loss on each individual item and help you choose what to offer during your next arts and crafts sales event. Keep in mind that every person that walks by your booth is a potential customer and each of them have a different budget set aside to spend at the fair. Offer a price range that customers on either end of the spectrum would be attracted to.
3. Design your display.
When it comes to designing your arts and crafts festival display the options are limited only to your imagination (and budget). Try to remember some of the booths that you have purchased from, and the ones that stand out in your memory, from past arts and crafts shows. Use ideas from those booths to put together a unique design that fits your shop personality. You should start by designing a purchasing a banner with your “shop” name. Having a consistent and distinct logo will help return customers recognize you in future venues or events. Next, you will want to choose a table cover, I have found that neutral colors or black works best for displaying Jewelry and other small delicate crafts. Experiment with different colors to find one that works the best for your display. Search the internet for craft fair booths that are selling items similar to yours. Are they using stands? Visit your local Flea market or even hardware store to find great ideas for things to use as display stands. When you have completely built your display, set up your inventory for a practice run. Take a look at it from your shoppers view. Can you see everything? Does it look cluttered? Is my table cover distracting me? Are my prices in sight? Make any changes that you think needs to be made. Snap a few pictures of the display, these will be useful in setting it back up. It is also a requirement to have a snapshot of your booth when applying for most juried crafts shows.
4. Making a checklist.
Make a checklist for your arts and crafts event and keep it handy. Some things to add to your checklist would be pens, paper, business cards, chair, spare repair pieces, beads, crafting supplies, shopping bags, baby wipes, paper towels, cleaning supplies for your crafts(to wipe off fingerprints, etc), Snacks and drinks for you, and the most important is change! Make sure that you always bring lots of change. Lots of Arts and Crafts fair vendors lose many customer’s because they can’t make change.
5. Packing your inventory.
The best time to do this is when you have your practice booth setup. Pack things as they lay so that the things on top of your display will be in the bottom of the tub or box and the table cover will probably be on the top of the tub or box. This allows you to “unstack” instead of unpack your items. Getting your arts and crafts booth set up quickly and orderly will ensure that you do not miss any early morning sales.
6. The night before and the morning of the event.
Get out your checklist and double check that you have everything ready to go for the festival. Make sure that you have enough change and some shopping bags for your customers. Leave early so that you can still be there early in the event of traffic delays. Be there early enough to take care of sign ins and any last minute paper work and to have your booth set up before any customers arrive.
7. Selling your inventory.
Okay you have made it! Your booth is all set up and you are waiting for the money to start rolling in. If possible keep track of the items you sell, use your inventory sheet. Put out a pen and paper with a clipboard let people sign up if they would like to receive emails from you. You can send them emails when you have new inventory or to let them know that you will be selling at a show in there area. Drop a business card in each shoppers bag and lay a few out so that non buyers can learn your website, email name, etc. Keeping a small bowl of free candy will interest kids and lots of times parents will follow.
Some hints and tips to remember:
Get to know the other vendors. There are several benefits to networking with other craft vendors. Getting your name out in the crafting community will get you invited to fairs and events that are upcoming in your town. Having friends in another section of the fair who is selling a different type of product can refer interested customer’s to you.
Always remember to bring change, or accept credit cards!
Have extra inventory.
Pass out fliers or business cards.
It’s always better with a friend. Craft show and fair vending can be tiring and even a bit stressful especially if you are trying to work alone. Try to bring a business partner or friend to help you out during the show.
Keep expenses to a minimum. Although it is important to have a nice looking display and prime location. When first starting out it is important to keep all cost to a minimum until you have tested the market and how well your product sells.
As with everything in life, craft festival vending is a learning process. Carefully assess your profits after each show. Re-evaluate your booth layout periodically for a fresh view. Make changes as you see fit and most importantly have fun and enjoy each show!