My First Craft Fair (AKA What Not to Do)

Yes, I finally made the move and became a vendor at my local craft fair!

Craft Fair Monster

It is called the River Valley Artisan Market. I made this decision on a partial whim one evening in early May. And was scheduled for my first even on June 6th.

A month should have been plenty of time to plan, organize, and hand-make the goods I intended to sell . . . right? WRONG!

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So of course:

1] DO NOT jump on the opportunity with less than a month to prepare.

You might be able to get away with this once you become a more seasoned vendor and know the ins and outs of the events.

Instead… If your products are all handmade like mine, give yourself more than enough time to stock up on inventory.

2] DO NOT Overwhelm your customers with your amount of merchandise.

Yes you want to sell as much as possible. And yes I’m sure you have all sorts of finished products that someone would love to own. But piling anything and everything onto a table can overwhelm and be off-putting to perspective customers.

Instead… THINK SIMPLE, choose 5-6 products that you know customer’s will love. A Clean organized table will help showcase your work, and make customer’s more comfortable spending time looking around.

3] DO NOT forget necessities!

There’s not much worse than spending 3 days on beautifully printed price signs for all your products, only to find out they’re on your coffee table, and not the box of supplies you packed.

InsteadCheck, Check, and RECHECK! There are endless craft fair checklists online. Download one and mark off your supplies as you pack. And again before you set out on your adventure.

That is just a few things I’m learning as a Newbie Vendor, and I’m sure there will be many more lessons still to learn. What are your Vendor Tips? What was your biggest Newbie Moment?

Market Bags

7 thoughts on “My First Craft Fair (AKA What Not to Do)

  1. From decades of experience at craft shows, although I don’t “do” them anymore due to slowing down:

    1. Use a table cover that is long enough to hide what’s under your table. I used twin sheets, but you can use fabric. Use clips to hold them in place and pin back corners that might drag the ground and get caught on visitors’ shoes.
    2. Up, up, up, and be seen! Lots of magnets to sell? Use an old cookie sheet, and if you have time spray paint and add details so it looks like the front of a fridge. Prop it against something so it can be viewed from a distance.
    3. Make a “clothes line” by attaching a 6 ft. pole to each back leg of a table, tie each to the leg in a couple of places so it doesn’t start to tilt (been there!) and string line between the poles. Great for hanging whatever, so it can be seen from a distance.
    4. Make stair step displays using small long boxes put under the tablecloth at the back of the table. Gets your goods seen, again from a distance. Also hides a lot of the junk that ends up behind the table, the stuff that gets you through the day.
    5. If you have bigger things like afghans, consider getting or making some kind of floor rack. If they’re stacked on a table, it discourages anything more than a glance. I know you don’t like the idea of lots of people handling the merchandise, but handling something soft and cuddly is what sells it.
    6. If at all possible, tag each item with a price. If they have to ask for a price (even if you have signs, they will ask), they are less likely to buy. If you have a lot of items, you may be have to hesitate or look up the price. This can make it look like your prices can change (think, flea market haggling) and lead to haggling or no sale.

    I could go on and on!

      1. You’re welcome! I have another one coming up soon. So i’ll be updating on the progress!

  2. Bring extra table coverings for when you spill your coffee all over the beautiful red satin ones you had for the Christmas Fair… 😥

  3. I did vendor events for 3 different hand crafting businesses over 10 years. First with a bakery I worked with, then with a fiber artist I worked for, and then for my own crochet business. With the crochet business, I discovered a few things. If they have to ask what it is, or what it costs, they won’t buy. So make sure it’s displayed in use somehow. Mannequin heads, and torsos might be good.

    If you want to be able to sell more variety, sort into baskets. One basket for hats (one basket for each style if you have a lot of stock), one basket for scarves, one basket for toys, rattles, gloves, etc.

    Have supplies to work on your finished products. I’ve had people custom request, and pay a week in advance for you to bring their order to the next weeks market. Many people don’t realize that you are actually the one who made the items, especially when it’s considered an “old” person craft (Like crochet).

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