Craft Fair Friday: Top 10 Tips for Staging

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Hello, Friday! It’s Craft Fair Friday here at Stampin’ Fool and I am going to unload some invaluable information for you crafters.  This will hopefully provide you with the confidence you need to start vendoring, give you tips to increase your sales, or ease your mind about the craft fair experience.  If you don’t participate in craft fair, that’s okay, sit back and enjoy the pictures or be inspired to make some items for personal use or gifting.

Earlier this Spring I posted a couple of Goals for my Craft Fair Experience for events this year. Those goals were to use Color, have a Project Board, create Vignette’s, and provide a project Make & Take.  I will discuss these in more detail with each tip, but to catch you up to speed, head over and read the previous article.

Staging your booth is so very important- not only for increasing your sales, but in creating a brand and helping patrons to remember your store when they have a specific need that you can fill.  In order to create a pleasant shopping experience, you will want to take measures to achieve your brand, theme, and presence.

I have compiled a list of ten things that I feel are important for crafters to take into account to have a successful fair experience and to provide an inviting booth for customer to enter and interact with.  It can be overwhelming to change everything you have ever know about craft fairs all at once, so start slow if you need to and change a few things at a time until you feel comfortable with your setup.  If you implement these tips, I promise you will have better results at your next show!

Top 10 Tips for Craft Fair Staging

  1. Use Color
  2. Avoid Clutter
  3. Group Like Items
  4. Use Holidays
  5. Be Cheap!
  6. Demonstrate
  7. Create Vignettes
  8. Display Business cards & Attention Getter (Chocolate!)
  9. Use Height
  10. Have Signage
  11. *BONUS*- Markdown

Now that you know what the top tips are for setting the stage of your craft fair booth, I will talk a little bit more in detail about each one.

TIP 1.  COLOR – Let’s face it, appearance is everything.  Your buyer is going to be lured in by the appearance of your booth or turned away by the rainbow that vomited all over your tables.   Use that to your advantage by choosing a color scheme (brights, black & white, black & gold (my fav), red/white/blue) and sticking to it.  You can easily make your decor in these colors with Valspar plastic spray paint.  I used gold spray paint on all baskets and buckets on my table so they did not detract and distract from the products.  Make sure the products stand out and are the main focus of your booth.

TIP 2.  CLUTTER – Avoid clutter like the plague.  No seriously, if you have too much inventory for your table space, leave multiples below the table and put them out as needed.  The last thing you want is to have your items piled so high that a customer has to dig, or knock over, or move other products to look at the one that interests them.  Don’t clutter, don’t be bare- have a good assortment and store the rest until space frees up, wherein you can replenish what has sold!

TIP 3.  GROUPING I cannot stress enough how essential it is to group like items.  Think about it- when you go to the grocery store are the eggs next to the canned green beans, NO.  Keep the eggs with the eggs, or in your case, the purses with fabric items, cards with other cards, jewelry all together.  Don’t put one of each thing all over the place, group the similar items and multiples of the same item together.

TIP 4 .HOLIDAYS Use upcoming holidays to your advantage.  This doesn’t go as much to staging as it does to general preparation, but people are driven by holidays.  Whether you think you are or not, if you put yourself in a booth with each holiday grouped together and full of cute little gifts of hot cocoa mixes, autumn hot tea pods, spring bunny candy crafts or back to school teacher gifts you will find yourself oohing and ahhhing over everything and think of a reason or person to buy that cute holiday craft for!  With that said, group holiday items with themselves and add cute little description signs that are coordinated with the season alongside.

TIP 5. BE CHEAPYou don’t have to go buy things for your set up.  Look around your house- that empty box, use it underneath the table cloth for height; your magazine basket, use it to hold one of your larger crafts; the storage ottoman in your living room makes an adorable way to display quilts, blankets, or put woven baskets of assorted crafts in to add surface space to your display.   Think about pieces of furniture or accents in your home and how you can borrow them for your craft fair booth.  If you are going to buy, shop around for the best price.  Did you know it is cheaper to buy the largest table cloth from Bed, Bath Beyond than a craft fair designated  table covering.

TIP 6. DEMONSTRATENothing gets the attention of shoppers like you making your crafts in front of them or letting them try it out.  I’m not telling you to make items and ignore the customer, seem preoccupied or miss a sale because of it, but it is interesting to shoppers to see you in action. And bonus points if you have a little station set up to make a card, stitch a felt flower together, or make a mini ornament.  It likely won’t make them go out and start a competing business, but it will help them remember the cool thing they helped make, or saw you making first hand, or took home as a memento.  It will make them feel special (they are! they keep your love of crafting alive) and it will help you stand out in their memory.

TIP 7. VIGNETTES – (vin’yet) n. a small grouping of objects that create a pleasing focal point and tell a story.  Here is an example of a grouping of cards on a cute little cabinet with a paper flower wreath leaning against it.  It tells the customer that they can make cards, enjoy the adorable wreath and the cabinet gives it a home decor feel.  [You will have to excuse the grainy photo- my iPhone doesn’t do well with florescent light.]   Using a tray to place items on is another way to make your items look even more appealing.

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TIP 8. BUSINESS BASICS Don’t forget to place your business cards out on display, which should be equally as cute and crafty as the items you are selling.  You want people to contact you in the future, so make sure they are visible.  You also want be able to follow up with buyers to let them know about sales, other events they will find you at and any customer or referral special you may have, so GET THEIR CONTACT INFO.  A great way to do this is a door prize form- name, email, phone number!  It is a must- how can you follow up with them if you don’t have their info.  *Vendor tip*- Of someone seemed particularly interested, I pull their entry form back out and jot down a note on the back or jot down their name in my planner so that I remember who to follow up with and for what items interested them most.  Lastly, it’s always good to lure them in with chocolate.  Set out some chocolates or hard candy next to your business cards and door prize so they are sure not to miss it!

TIP 9. HEIGHTHeight is your BIGGEST advantage in a limited space (get it? haha).   A lot of small events provide only 8×8 or 10×10 spaces.  That’s enough space for three strategically placed tables or less.  You need to make using height a priority in your set up.  That means hanging things from your tent, peg boards or racks that allow for items to be placed in your vertical space, baskets on the ground, items on the tables and boxes under the table cloth to give areas height.  Not only does using height give you more square footage, but it looks aesthetically pleasing as opposed to everything being on all one level.

TIP 10.  SIGNAGE – Signage is HUGE.  How will customers know who you are or what you are selling if you don’t have a sign?  It speaks volumes about your business, the product and the brand.  From your sign, they will instantly know what type of items you sell, what your business name is and your affiliation, if any.  For me, that means displaying my Stampin’ Up! logo sign on my front most table cloth, as well as handmade banners with the same adorning the tent or other sides of the table so that it is visible from almost anywhere in the venue.  From the handmade banner, they will know I make papercrafts, that my brand color is an aqua/teal, and my font is fun and scripty.  It speaks volumes about what they should expect to see in my booth as well as with my personality.  I have branded my business to suit me and it visually tells them about it.  Make a sign, buy a sign, definitely have more than one sign and make it personal and equivocal to your business.

**BONUS** MARKDOWNSWe all love a SALE, right?!  People innately LOVE getting a good deal. Want to seal the sale? Add a markdown sign with items listed and the prices slashed with a new, lower price highlighted.  Your patrons won’t be able to pass up a good deal and that will ensure that you make the sale.   Slashing the priced in the afternoon is a good way to get rid of inventory that isn’t moving.

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Lastly, if you missed the previous Craft Fair Friday posts, you can see them here:

I want to hear all about your recent craft fair experience.  Do you already use these tricks?  Are you going to pick a few and try them out at your next show?  Have they helped your sales?  Let me know by leaving a comment below! As always, happy crafting!

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12 comments

  1. Beverly Kohn says:

    COLOR impotartant in front side of booth. Stand out. Make something special to draw people’s attention. Use your items but don’t expect it to sell. Place on a pedestal. Come on! Your a crafter you can make anything. Look at displays in stores take pictures.Gets juices going

  2. Beverly Kohn says:

    Ifound old hard suitcases . Strip out insides. 1 case stands vertically , cut a piece of wood to fit each side covered in white textured wallpaper. Glued in wood then put 4 screws from back ( outside of case) hang jewelry from push pins . Leave jewelry in standing open case.for display . when done close . I put extra jewelry in case for other displays place over another piece of jewelry. 2nd case .keep FLAT . .fill with jewelry displays in jewelry trays use push pins to hold in place , use paint rollers under top of trays to slant. close case leave on table for other displays When done repack trays Important when packing keep flat case flat other case vertical . I bought real jewelry trays with velvet insides each tray fits into each other , or use painted boards (put bubble wrap in between boards when packing to keep jewelry in place & not to ruin jewelry) leave case flat and vertical when traveling to & from show so displays don’t fall .

  3. Guy Morrow says:

    You offer great tips. Some I have been using. In a 3 day show I might have 10 thousand people there and only have 2-3 hundred people come into my booth. What am I doing wrong? Can I send you a viedo of my booth? I would like to improve.
    Guy

  4. Guy Morrow says:

    I like what you have said and I am doing some of these things. I would still like to improve .
    Can I send a viedo of my display to you to get a critique ? Where do I send it? I have been in street shows or festivals and people just don’t come in. There can be ten thousand people on a three day event and I will get about 2-3hundred that come in to see my paintings. Help!

  5. Beverly Kohn says:

    Great tips. 1 of mine. A come on!! On a pedestal that is. about 28″s high I place a flat Large wood tray filled with bracelets for children all sizes up to 7.5″s teens and moms take also. (Done on7mm stretch cord) price $1.00 each. Use left over beads but I buy some pinks and purples also primary colors (4mm-8mm). Draws the children they buy and Mom enters booth Got them! Can sell between 75-100 a show easy money for sitting in front of tv and stinging. Place a sign for the small fashionistas with price. Good luck

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