Craft show considerations

Do you make crafts? Whether it’s pottery, jewellery, textiles, paintings or carved items, the honesty and integrity of handmade items are enduringly popular. In fact, in the world of home interiors and design there is a discernible shift in buying trends away from mass produced items in favour of one-off, unique pieces that tell their own story. With giant websites like Etsy making it possible for creative crafters to sell directly online, the world of bespoke crafting has really opened up and the opportunities for turning a buck or two have increased.

Most crafters get into it because they enjoy it. Often a favourite hobby or pastime is turned into a money-making situation by accident rather than design. That said, there are many crafters out there whose livelihoods depend on the handmade items they produce. Craft shows are ideal events to showcase and sell unique hand crafted items and here are some tips on ways to maximise your selling power.

A good stand will deliver

Get yourself noticed with an eye catching display stand. Craft show displays are often guilty of being too cluttered with too much stock. Take tips from the professionals on display and take on board the less is more approach. For the most efficient way of displaying products, take a look at bespoke display stands which are designed specifically for presenting your work in its best light. If you envisage many craft fairs in your future it is worth investing in portable display stands that are easy to set up and make your designs stand out from the crowd. Remember that lighting is key to making a stand look welcoming � good illumination shows off the products well and looks professional, so don’t rely on dim, overhead light-bulbs at the venue, bring your own extra fire-power.

Put on your corporate hat

Arty types are sometimes guilty of placing more focus on the creative elements, neglecting the commercial side of promoting and merchandising their products. Whilst this is understandable, it won’t do you any favours on the craft show scene where things can get quite competitive. Some craft disciplines are represented more heavily than others, jewellery in particular is very competitive and crowded, so it is important to have a display that stands out. Put your corporate hat on and think of ways to promote your products. Consider building a mailing list by offering a free draw on your stall. In return for people’s contact details, enter them in a draw to win one of your products, you’d be surprised at the amount of interest.

Try and secure a pitch that is in the middle of the action. Being stuck away in a dark, cold corner will cut down the number of visitors heading your way. A stall that is close to the cake or coffee stand will guarantee a steady stream of foot traffic and means you don’t have to go far for refreshments!

Be a marketing maven

Make sure all your products have labels containing your contact details on them. Someone might need to buy more items after the show, and it may be their only way of contacting you again. Additionally, have business cards easily available on the stall for people to pick up � they may not be wanting something today, but perhaps another day � or they could have a friend they think will like your stuff. The easier you make it for people to reach you, the more new business will flow in your direction.

Network nicely

There may be other craft stalls at the show that sell complimentary products. For example, if you make dinner plates and there is another exhibitor selling table linen, why not see if you can do some cross-marketing for each other, displaying each others products. This concept works for all sorts of items, so get networking and chatting to fellow stall holders.

And don’t forget…

Some essentials you’ll need on the day include a calculator to tot up all those sales (!), a notebook and pen to take orders, a comfortable chair (if not provided by the venue), pins, tape, a mirror if necessary, float money and a cash box or money belt to keep it in and a picnic and flask just in case it’s hard to leave your stall unstaffed. It’s also a good idea to take a photo of your display as it’s a useful way of judging if it’s working well in terms of presentation.

As well as being good fun, craft shows represent a serious money making opportunity. Approached with a businesslike attitude, selling crafts can put money in your pocket as well as smile on your face…What’s not to like?