Many artists and makers sell their goods online, but craft shows are good ways to increase income and exposure and get valuable feedback. Don’t be overwhelmed by the prospect; preparation is the key to successful craft fairs.
FIND OUT WHAT THE VENUE PROVIDES
If the venue provides tables and chairs, there’s no need to transport your own. If you don’t have access to electricity, you’ll know not to take things that require it.
Use online advertising to announce your participation in craft fairs and invite your audience to attend. Be sure to take plenty of business cards with you to hand out. Even if people don’t purchase at the time, they might later if they know how to reach you.
DESIGN YOUR BOOTH
An attractive booth gets more visitors. You’ll need enough products displayed without being overcrowded. Visit craft shows and look online for ideas for layouts, display fixtures, color schemes and more.
PRICE YOUR PRODUCTS
Pricing your goods is sometimes tricky. You want to make a profit, but you don’t want to price yourself out of the competition. Many makers add the cost of goods needed to make an item, the time it took, and overhead costs or fees, then multiply the result by 2.5 or 3. You’ll want to at least double your costs.
It’s a good idea to look for similar items online and at craft shows to see what other people sell them for. The quality of the components matters, so be sure you’re comparing apples to apples.
It’s crucial to have legible price tags on each item. Most people won’t ask how much something is if it’s not marked, and you’ll likely lose sales.
SET UP PAYMENT METHODS
You can choose to accept cash, checks, cards or other forms of payment. Include a sign in your booth stating accepted payment methods. You’ll need a cash box with plenty of smaller bills and change. Be sure to have ways to give receipts to these customers.
Many vendors have online shops, and these platforms may have ways for you to accept cards through their sites. If not, look into getting a card reader that attaches to your phone and set up accounts with appropriate service providers. You can also accept payments through popular cash apps.
Package your goods appropriately and provide bags for your customers to carry your items in. Consider using stickers with your logo and contact information to personalize your packaging.
TRANSPORT YOUR GOODS
Invest in a hand cart if the venue doesn’t provide one. Pack your products and fixtures in easy-to-load containers.
KEEP ACCURATE SALES RECORDS
It’s easier to keep sales records as you go than to wait until tax time to record everything. Keep accurate records of what you sell, your income, and sales tax. These records will also show you what sells best at shows.
REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS
You’ll need to choose a business structure before registering your company with your state. Many artisans choose to form a limited liability company because of the associated benefits:
• Tax advantages
• Limited liability
• Less paperwork
• Ease of formation
Each state has regulations governing LLCs, so check with your state’s government to ensure that you meet the requirements. You don’t have to pay expensive attorney fees to form your LLC; you can do it yourself or use an inexpensive online formation service.
GET READY TO START SELLING
Use the following tips to sell at craft shows. Do your research, make your preparations, and register your business to ensure success.