What advice would you give a new seller? Do you buy from particular vendors because they offer an additional service? Are there tables you are drawn to or avoid? Why?
What basic toolkit items do you always take for emergencies at shows?
Share your experiences on the craft show circuit, or with your local once a year co-op show, either as a buyer or seller.
Share Your Best and Worst
Watch your mouth
- While browsing a table, the vendor (who couldn't be bothered to acknowledge me) along with the vendor at the next table, were verbally trashing a popular dollhouse maker, of which I happen to like and was in the midst of buying things to fill a house I had just built, made by said company. I spent a lot of money that day, but not at either of those tables; clearly they wouldn't want their pieces in my house.
- —Guest A. Wright
- I've found that if you have a little levity with your initial greeting it immediately loosen up your customer and yourself working towards a sale. I use a line like "Be sure to let me know if you see something you DON'T like." Just the reverse of what they're used to hearing. Try it....it works!
- —Guest redfoot
- Have clear and visible prices so I don't have to ask. If I can't find a price, I'm going to assume I can't afford it and not embarrass myself by asking.
- —Guest Marion BE
- Please do welcome me to your stand with a smile but please don't do that fake "how are you today" because you really don't care and it gets tedious to answer. Rather go with a "are you looking for a present for someone or just seeing what might catch your eye, had you noticed this?" original type approach.
- —Guest Josie
- Some customers are, well, insensitive to the fact that what you are selling means something to you -- it is a product of your own hands and mind. They can tell you all about this artist/crafter and how much they love them. They can tell you how they saw the same thing at some superstore for a lot less. They can, often without having the least idea they are doing it, be extraordinarily insulting.
Roll with the un-meant punches and be gracious. If possible, *gently* educate them as to why your work is not the same as mass produced goods.
I have found if I am gracious and patient with one customer, it is almost allows observed by someone else. This can bring in more customers, even if the first one didn't purchase anything.
avoid yes/no questions
- Avoid yes/no questions. For example, don't say, "Are you looking for anything in particular today?" That allows the customer to say, "No" and pretty much end the conversation. Instead, try to make positive comments like, "Purple is one of my favorite colors" or "This bracelet goes with everything in my closet."
- A neat display with clear pricing is attractive to me. Also, a vendor who interacts, but is not too pushy.
- —Guest Connie G.
Show Why You're Different
- I've always found that demonstrating at a craft fair brings trade. People love to be able to say that they have seen something being made or know how it is done. Don't hard-sale, but on the other hand, really show why what you are doing is different - and worth the price. Business cards and a website are certainly useful. Also, if you make jewelry, clothes or accessories, then make sure you advertise your work by wearing it yourself! If you make soap or toiletries, ask the organiser if you can put samples in the washrooms (with directions to your stall). Network with other makers - this can be a valuable, yet often over looked way of promoting your work.
- —Guest KateP
Sellers Who Seem Uninterested
- This is pretty basic, but as a buyer I avoid booths where sellers are sitting down and doing non-related stuff (reading a book, chatting on the phone, etc.). Sellers sitting on high bar-height stools seem much friendlier (feet do get tired at these events).
- —Guest Janet
My experiences selling at craft shows
- A couple of things:
1. Greet everyone with a smile.
2. Always acknowledge them verbally with a "How are you today?" or "Hello!"
3. Make sure that all your items are clearly marked with the correct price.
4. Have business cards available to hand out.
5. Offer a range of products in all different price points.
I've also seen lots of sellers lately that put out small baskets of candy or gum for their customers and people who are browsing their tables. My only word of warning: make sure you put in some sugar free goodies for those of us that can't eat sugar!
- —Guest jenvan74
Don't oversell and don't ignore customer
- I think the biggest mistake I see vendors make at any sale is to oversell (nag the customer to death) and conversely to ignore the customer. Chat politely but be very aware of nonverbal cues from the customer on when to shut up!
- —Guest LizM