Now that my Etsy shop is set up online, I’m ready to try a craft fair! The problem is, it can be a very daunting task. How do you take your Etsy storefront and translate it onto a craft show booth?
Craft fairs are not only a great way to get your products in front of new faces, but also meet like-minded creators. From inventory to booth setup, we have you covered here. We complied the best tips and tricks from fellow Etsy Sellers. Wait until you hear what these sellers have learned. READ ON!
Let’s jump right into the details. We’ll start by chatting about the things you need for your all-important display.
We can’t talk about your booth’s display without mentioning your inventory. If you’ve never sold at a craft show before, it can be tricky to know what to bring.
My advice? Take a lot of your online bestsellers. You’ll be surprised by how quickly people sell out and can’t do anything about it!
Monica Macdonald Owner of A Fine Lime Etsy shop, a well-established handmade craft show seller, also suggests,
“It’s important to ask if the event is handmade or local. There are a lot of resellers and MLMs at craft fairs which can really have a negative effect on handmade sales.”
This will often make up your mind on what inventory you should bring and whether you should attend the show at all.
Your inventory is important, but it’s almost moot if your customers can’t easily access the items on your booth. Take it from an experienced Etsy and craft show seller…
“Use 3-inch to 5-inch table risers to help bring your items to eye level. This way, your customers won’t have to bend over to look at things.” – Diane Scholfield
You want to avoid forcing your browsers (i.e., potential money-spenders!) to bend down, crouch, or jump through hoops just to look at your products. Regardless of how nice your makes are, people will walk away if perusing is too difficult.
Once you’ve got that sorted, consider the signs. How are people going to know who you are? Where will you display your shop name?
These days, it’s fairly cheap to grab yourself a high-quality banner with your logo and shop name printed on it. Just do your research on the best printers in your area beforehand.
You’ll need to know the length of the stall/table at the shows you intend to frequent as well. This way, you know which banner size to choose when ordering from the printers.
Julia Keenan, another experienced Etsy/craft show seller, says you should also put what you’re selling on the banner. But this might not be necessary if your shop’s name is descriptive.
Take a look at this gorgeous sign you can order from Izrbeams on Etsy. With over 5,500 sales to date, buyers are raving. This would be a great item for any craft fair to show buyers your branding.
One review wrote ” Wow, I wish I could give more stars!!! The item is more beautiful in person. And the owner was so helpful & communicative in making this custom piece perfect!! 100% recommend this!!! Thank you again for this awesome piece, I cannot wait to use it for my pop-up shops!”Buyer review on LZRBEAMS on Etsy
Aesthetics make the heart grow fonder. That is just a fact. Use it to your advantage when setting up your booth!
People will often be drawn to minimalistic, pastel-colored, or bright setups. However, go with whatever fits your brand. If your products are colorful, you may just need a white table cloth and decent gridwells to make them pop. If your makes are muted, then a brighter background could give them an edge.
It might take a couple of trial and error approaches until you get it just right. But you can minimize this by following Julie’s advice…
“Practice setting up your products on your table at home beforehand to save time and make any adjustments on show day.” – Julie Keenan, owner of Etsy Shop Lucky13Botanicals.
You ensure you have great lighting when you take product photos for your Etsy store, right? Well, the same goes for your in-person craft show booth! The perfect lighting is a must — and you’re unlikely to get it from the venue. So, bring your own.
Alongside the lamps or lighting rigs, you’ll need to bring power strips and extension leads. Don’t bank on the venue supplying all the “extras” (although you can always ask the event coordinators ahead of time!).
You’re well-and-truly clued-up on the ins and outs of your display now. So, let’s move into the sales domain. After all, you’re there to make money as well as show off your makes!
You can print business cards yourself. However, ordering them from a printing professional will save you a lot of time and hassle. There are plenty of online stores offering very affordable business card services.
Tip 7: Card and Cash
“Square or PayPal for credit/debit payment options is a must, especially post-COVID. Fewer people are using cash. Venmo now has business payments and will send you a QR code stand that customers can scan to find you quickly on the app” – Diane Scholfield
Wise words from Diane there! These days, card is king. Make sure you have a wireless card machine (Square is best for us Etsy sellers) to use for in-person selling and connect it to your Etsy account before heading off.
With that said, some people will still use cash. You don’t want to lose a sale because you don’t have the right change. A trip to the bank may be in order before showtime!
Gift wrapping, bags, boxes, and other packing materials you like to use are essentials. Customers will keep coming back for more if they not only love your products but also love your packaging.
You may want to include free gifts with some purchases, so don’t forget to bring those either. To keep them coming back for more, think about creating a discount code and hand that out at the point of sale. Repeat customers is one way to keep your Etsy shop in motion.
When someone does pay with cash, you want to keep it on you always. While the majority of people are kind and would never think about stealing your takings, some opportunists might if they spot an unattended cash box. Wearing a fanny pack negates this extra show-day concern.
Depending on the state you’re in, you may need to display certain permits and/or business licenses to sell at craft shows. It’s best practice to check the regulations beforehand.
Okay, after you’ve sorted all the display and sale pieces, you need to think about yourself.
Don’t forget food and drink! There will almost always be facilities at the venue. But bringing some snacks is vital to save some cash. Consider bringing an isolated cooler. Pack yourself some cool drinks and healthy snacks. Leaving your booth unattended as you run and get a drink sometimes is not an option. Be sure to fuel up throughout the day for your long fun afternoon of sales. As we always say, TAKE CARE OF YOU.
You won’t want to be standing all day. Although, I recommend getting yourself a stool that allows you to see over the risers and shelves you installed.
Tip 13: Craft Supplies
Bringing your craft supplies along for the ride not only keeps you occupied during slow moments but also helps people see your skills. They’re more likely to become invested in your story and products when they see you creating.
For outdoor craft fairs, Diane Scholfield said it best:
“Scout the location in advance for wind and sun track, if possible. If the wind is strong, you will need tent pole weights, at least 10 lbs per leg. If you sell items that melt like candles or are made of metal, direct sun is an issue. Where you set up your table under your pop-up makes a big difference.”
We couldn’t agree more!
The Bottom Line
We covered a lot here so if you need a simplified checklist, I recommend checking out Etsy’s What to Bring to a Craft Fair article. Everything is bulleted to make it easy for you to check off items as you pack!
What are you waiting for? Get yourself ready for your first craft show! You’re guaranteed to have a great time.