Handmade Artists' Blog

More to a Craft show than Your Product

craft showIn addition to all the physical items to cross off your craft show list why not take a few minutes to think about the psychology of selling at craft shows and see if that doesn’t help to increase your sales.

Many studies have been done on the psychology of selling and the big boys know them well. This means that the research has already been done for you and all you have to do is apply it to your craft show booth and reap the rewards.

Your booth…would you walk into it?  When you walk into a high end department store, do you see their extra stock or boxes of office supplies?  No, not a chance; then why do craft show vendors leave these things visible to the public?  Your booth should be a mobile showroom for your art and be neat, clean and professional at all times.  Hide away all those boxes and bags under tables covered in floor length table cloths of some neutral color.  Make your customers feel like they walked into a boutique rather than a tent in a field.

Courtesy of Wooden Works of Art

Courtesy of Wooden Works of Art

How about those displays?  There are plenty of ways to make displays on a budget or you can spring for some fancy professional displays.  Your choice is going to depend on your budget as well as what you sell.  However you decide to show off your work, use levels to bring your work to eye level which makes it appear as less a garage sale and more of a gallery.  Be consistent in your design and neutral in your background colors so that the star of the show is your art and not the zebra print table cloth.

What about you?  I realize you are going to be standing around for hours on end but you still need to make sure that you appear neat and professional.  Your clothes can be comfortable and still appropriate.  Some choose to wear “costume” type wear while others are wearing street clothes; either way a dirty shirt and unkempt nails slouching in a lawn chair says flea market, not art sale.

Courtesy of Helping Hands Graphic Designs

Courtesy of Helping Hands Graphic Designs

Signs?  Whether we want to admit it or not, we tend to follow directions printed on signs (Well, all except that pull/push thing on doors which I always seem to ignore!).  If you are selling candles that smell amazing, why not post a sign with something like “All natural soy candles with a scent you have to smell to believe!”  Or something simple like “Smell Me!”  If you make minky blankets you could post a sign telling people that your blankets are the softest they have ever felt.  I can almost guarantee that customers will come in an touch the blanket just to see if it really is as soft as the sign claims.

To talk or not.  Of course you are going to greet your customers with a friendly smile and hello when they walk into your booth, but avoid the “used car salesman” pitch.  Take a minute to think about your own past experiences in shops and fairs and ask yourself if you want to be hovered over and pitched to while you are looking.  Chances are you would prefer a greeting and a bit of space.

Courtesy of Crystals and Swags

Courtesy of Crystals and Swags

Some venues, such as a Renaissance Faire encourage loud and boisterous behavior while others are more subdued.  Learn your venue so that you are not known as that obnoxious guy down the line that won’t stop yelling!

If a customer does look interested in your product, give them some basic information to help them make a decision and only go into more detail if they appear to want it.  You have to become somewhat adept at reading people and you will misread some, but if you watch their body language, you can usually tell who is in the mood to chat, who is honestly thinking of buying and who would prefer just to kill time looking at some killer artwork.

With a bit of thought, you can make your booth an inviting place for customers to browse before buying which is what we all want.


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Posted in Creative Breakroom, Discover Handmade, Handmade, Handmade Harbor, Selling Tips

5 Responses to “More to a Craft show than Your Product”

  • chainmaille says:

    Lets take this a step further, and ask what does your online shop look like? Did you fill out your profile, shop set up, policies, avatar, banner?
    I see so many people skip these vital steps, and I personally think they will not sell. Also online is much harder than a craft show, people can not feel or touch your work. You need to make sure your pictures are great and that your descriptions are just that, descriptive!!! Can I read what you wrote and know what it is exactly? How long is it, how wide is it, etc.
    Make it easier on yourself and act like a customer every know and then and put yourself in there shoes and look at your booth or you online shop. Then make the needed changes so you can make some sales!!!!
    Steps off soapbox……

  • Trying to find a small spot on that soap box, move over a lil will ya……Andrew…

    I totally agree, I checked numerous shops out- wishing to purchase. I will not purchase from any shop where there is no info on them, absolutely nothing but their items….nope….NO DEAL….
    A shop like that looks neglected, incomplete, uninviting, uninformative, like a seller does not care. Why should I make a purchase there…..
    Steps down, carefully too…..

  • I love this post….and I have to admit, the toilet photo is what caught my attention. but I’m weird that way. lol. There are many great points here, ones I will have to remember since I plan to start selling at craft shows again this season.

    • lisianblue says:

      Lo the toilet sort got me wondering too, especially since some people here in the Springs were hanging toilets and sinks from a tree not too long ago, said they were bird feeders! Great post, will have to check out my shop with some of these ideas in mind!

  • MulchandMore says:

    Great tips, will have to try the signage with my candles, although most who are interested do automatically smell them.
    And I also agree with Andrew’s and Monika’s soap box speeches, an avatar, profile and policies are the bare minimum needed to show that you are a serious business, even when first starting on a site. Like a craft show booth, where you tweak your displays and rearrange items for the best presentation, your online presence needs to be started and then elaborated on as time goes by, and your business evolves.

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