I've been Grilled

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to Have a Successful Craft Fair

Before the Craft Fair

Make your craft fair reservations and pay your dues in a timely manner.
(There is nothing worse than having a craft fair only to realize you signed up too late to get a decent location.)

Order all the materials you need ahead of time to make your products.

Have your products made and ready to go at least a week before the craft fair.
(There is nothing worse than having a customer’s hand encounter your wet glue!)

Ask questions if needed of the craft fair sponsor so there is no misunderstandings of what to expect.

Know what you are doing for lunch before arriving at the fair.
(Can you purchase a lunch there or do you need to buy one?)

Know the tax base of the area of your craft fair. Charge appropriately.

Only bring items to sell that have been approved by the sponsoring organization.
(Many craft fairs are careful to only admit a certain amount of vendors selling the same product.)

Before leaving home on the day of the Craft Fair

Have the directions of the fair and a phone number with you as you drive to the fair.
(You never know if you will encounter traffic or another problem making you late to the event.) If that occurs, call the person in charge of the fair to notify them. Not only will they appreciate the call, but if you can’t get there, some organizations may have vendors on a waiting list to take your spot.

Have supplies accessible for the fair, i.e. invoices, pens, pencils, tape, business cards, signs, banners, ribbon, scissors, enough money for your cash drawer, stapler, tables, chairs, display stands, tablecloths, d├ęcor for setup, credit card machine or information, bank stamp for back of checks, cell phone, bank bag, markers, rolling carts/dollies, plastic bags, calculators, laptops, sale bags, etc.

Be on time for set up.

Bring a notebook to take notes of ideas you think of during the fair, ideas from customers, etc.

Leave your young children at home unless they are truly a help to you and won’t disrupt any other vendors at the fair.
(Follow the rules of the fair regarding children.)

Remember what Paris Hilton’s quote in the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations says, "Dress cute wherever you go, life is too short to blend in."

Arriving at the Craft Fair

Follow correct procedures for parking and entering the craft fair.

At the Craft Fair

At check in, introduce yourself to the personnel in charge of the craft fair.

Learn where the bathrooms and concession areas are as soon as you arrive for set up.

Never leave your booth unattended.

Introduce yourself and be pleasant to the vendors on each side of you.

If a silent auction or donation is required, give an item that meets the requested amount.

Be friendly with your customers. Ask them if you can help them find something, but don’t be overly pushy.(Don’t sit at your booth looking uninterested in making a sale.)

Get appropriate information from customers writing checks or charging on a credit card.

Have your business cards available for everyone at the craft fair not just for your buying customers.(You never know when a call might come requesting thousands of dollars worth of your inventory!)

Follow all the rules established by the craft fair sponsor, i.e. if they don’t want tape on their walls, don’t put tape on their walls.

Never talk disrespectfully about other vendors or the sponsoring organization.

Fill out any surveys from the sponsoring organization. Your ideas will help them plan their next fair.

Never leave the craft fair early even if you aren’t selling anything. You promised to be there, so keep your word and reputation.

Packing up

Don’t start packing up your area before the designated time.

Clean up your area totally when leaving.

After the Craft Fair

Go to the bank immediately and deposit your money!

If the fair was a good one for you, sign up early for the following year.

Pictures taken at The Copperfield Women's "Shop 'Til You Drop" Craft Fair at the Berry Center, Cypress, Texas - September 12, 2009