I’ve been thinking about craft fairs and how I said I’m still committed to doing them in the new year. I’ve realized there are must-have items for every fair. With the items on this checklist, I can take advantage of the three non-monetary reasons I go to a craft fair. I want to make sure to bring the essentials in order to:
- get my name out to enough passersby,
- have an opportunity to get feedback, and
- showcase my items, in all their forms, to make sure I capture my niche among the crowds
I believe these items will help me do this even as the crowds rush past my table.
People who don’t buy will often pick up a well designed business card or postcard. I handed out over 100 cards this year. In the past, I’ve also used these items to feature my custom pet portraits, which are my most popular item, but which I can’t sell at craft fairs.
This year, at BUST I told lot of people about #LogaCat and realized what an opportunity I had missed. In the future I will bring cards explaining any of my interesting social media activities. People who are interested in these but who don’t buy at the fair may not be my future customers; however, they might be fans who later recommend me. The more fans I have online, the more feedback I get on my items in the long term.
Additionally I’ve included coupons on this list. I’ve included coupons on my business cards before, but I want to try offering them in new ways. I’ve seen sellers offer a freebie button with a tag on it featuring a coupon code and shop URL. This is worth a try, and I want to remember it next year.
Because I only sell online, holiday fairs are a big chance to get immediate feedback. If I have put an item up online and haven’t gotten any bites, it could be because no one wants the item, BUT it could be because I haven’t marketed the item well. Interest shown to these items in person lets me know which is the case.
I often don’t want to invest in making a large batch of ready-to-ship items since most of my sales come from custom requests. Craft fairs are the place for me to find out if the investment is worth it. Each year, I’m plan to bring one or two new designs. This year I brought buttons and my new magnet designs. Next year, I will add only a few of each new item to my table. If they sell out or receive a lot of interest, I will invest in a small batch for the shop.
Cheapies are similar to freebies. They are items that cost less than five dollars. These are good because, like freebies, they get your name out there in the packaging. Cheapies, such as buttons and stickers, could actually even be freebies, but sell them for up to $5.00. They make great items for people who aren’t looking to spend a lot of money as well as add-on items to a purchases. When someone buys something for $15 they might add something else for an even $20. Cheapies can be stickers, buttons, magnets, keychains or other small easily made items.
Next year, when I start preparing for BUST, I’ll make sure I have everything on this list. I hope to get the prep done far ahead of time by using the whole year to make sure I am ready. Bit by bit I can prep so that the rush doesn’t come at the last minute again. I’d love to hear what you think about craft fairs. What do you make sure to bring along when you sell in person?
This post is part of my Chasing the Creative Impulse Series, which explores techniques for sustaining creativity in a busy life. I believe that the habit of creativity comes from practice and not just from a compulsive feeling to create. This series outlines ways that I’ve maintained a creative life.