Craft Show Tips

by Sandra Wilgenbush.

Here are some craft show tips I’ve picked up after participating in many shows, and questions I’ve learned to ask (either of myself or the sponsor) before submitting a craft show application and entry fee.

First of all, think of the time of the year when the show will be held. Obviously, the best time for a craft show is near the Christmas holidays.

Vertical displays across the back of your tables
can make good use of your space.

There are also other times that shows do well, depending on other events that may be going on in town that may draw a crowd.

I refuse to do most summer shows that are outdoors.

Not only am I uncomfortable, but on nice warm days, many potential shoppers are home in their air-conditioned home – or out water-skiing!

Too hot to shop, for even the die-hard shoppers.

But again, consider other things that may be happening, possibly bringing in a good crowd.

More Craft Show Tips:

Try to find out how many jewelry vendors will be in the show and if they are letting commercial vendors sell at the show. I don’t like to work where commercial booths are involved, as it lends itself to the ambiance of a flea-market.

Find out where your booth space will be and how large it will be. Even if you have only one table, it’s still good to find out your booth size.

If possible, also find out who you will be next to. (Not good to be too close to somebody selling nachos or face painting!) I LOVE little children, but I try not to get too close to where there is a “kids’ stuff” table (let your imagination go here!!!).

If you have a different table set-up than you are used to, practice your set-up at home. Mark out a space on your family room floor that coincides with your booth size and arrange the tables, using sheets or tablecloths folded to the right size, if you don’t feel like dragging your tables in.

Plan your booth and display set-up and photograph it, or sketch it on a large enough piece of paper that you can see clearly, and take it to the show with you to make it easier to set up. This sounds like a lot of work, but it really helps in set-up time, and you don’t have to fret on the way to the show about where you are going to set things when you get there. I even take a picture of the “stacking boxes” without the cloth over them to remember where to set them.

After looking at commercial jewelry displays, I’ve decided that I can make some of them cheaper and have the color and exact size I want; mostly flat, padded, velvet-covered boards with large black or silver-headed pins glued an inch or so from the top to hang bookmarks, lanyards, etc. from. I do have a number of commercial displays though, because, again, I don’t want that flea market look.

This kind of “hodge-podge” scattering of displays
and jewelry isn’t as professional or appealing
as a more coordinated booth display.

The last craft show I was in, the sponsor had a package of tic-tacs (candy) on everybody’s table. Nice touch! You might want to take your own, in case you don’t have such a thoughtful sponsor. (Best not to be tempted to offer one to a customer, though….)

If you have room to set a mirror on your table, that would be nice. I usually have too much jewelry to take up precious space with a mirror, so I keep a couple of hand mirrors under my table, easily accessible.

I also make lots of little cards, placed strategically, that explain things, i.e. handmade lampwork beads, hair sticks, identifiers, materials I use, etc. When things get busy and people want to ask questions, many of them are readily answered and you don’t have to take time explaining things over and over. It’s nice to talk to customers though, if you can take the time. Friendliness can make an extra sale or two. So, the opposite is also true.

The best thing always to remember to take with you to a craft show is your smile and great attitude – even if you aren’t having a great day! People will avoid your table/booth if they see somebody sitting there with unfriendly, dour look.

I hope these craft show tips help you with your next show!

Author Sandra Wilgenbush and her granddaughter, both formerly of Bush Critters, have made many beautifully beaded pieces, including necklaces, bracelets, watchbands, earrings, bookmarks, identifier charms (for use on cell phones, backpacks, keychains, etc.), fan pulls, wine glass stem jewelry, waterbottle identifier jewelry, and favors for weddings and parties.

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  • Maggie says:

    Thank you for the info! Some great things to consider. I just took my handmade jewelry business online but I have a craft fair coming up and I’m trying to get as prepared as I can!!

    Thank you!!!
    All the Tiny Pieces

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