Getting Ready For A Craft Show

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Build Your Brand Craft Show Series - So You Want to Do a Craft Show
Getting ready for a craft show shouldn’t be a last-minute deal. Getting ready for a craft show requires preparation, even up to a year in advance for the better and bigger shows. After doing Craft Shows for over six years now, I have some tips and some pointers that newbie crafters (or even craft show pros) may find helpful.  I’m writing this in timeline form so that it is easy to follow.

 Getting Ready for a Craft Show: A One-Year Guide

1 Year Before:
  • Visit the craft show you are thinking about being a vendor at.
    • Watch the people
    • Canvas buying habits
    • If you are a jewelry artist and there are 15 jewelry tables, all with items similar to yours, you may want to re-think the show.
    • See what the clientele of the show is (fancy, casual, discount/bargain)
1 Year – 6 Months Before:
  • Sign up for the craft show.
  • Pay your fees.
6 Months Before:
  • Decide what “season” you will be showcasing.
    • ie: Do not take all Thanksgiving items for a “winter-themed” show; likewise do not take all snowmen to a show in the heat of July.
      • It’s okay to take some off-season things, but don’t make that the bulk of your items
  • Decide your median price-point based on what you discovered when you visited the show.
    • Don’t take all $25 items when the economy is rough and the majority of sales are $10.
  • Get to work on your new designs, showcase features, event sale, & displays.
    • Designs: Is there something new you want to roll out for the show, especially if you’ve been a vendor there before?
    • Showcase features: Often it’s a good idea to showcase 1 or 2 “spotlight” features of your best work.  These can be high-priced items…you are not taking them to “sell” per se, but rather to showcase your best work.
    • Event Sale: Are you going to offer a special for this show?  I often will have a $5 inventory of seasonal items special for that show.
    • Displays: How are you going to showcase your items in an eye-catching and pleasing way that will highlight your work and showcase your talent, as well as be “easy” on the eyes?
3 Months Before:
  • Go through your inventory and see if you have enough “pieces.”  The worst thing you can do is plan poorly and have minimal inventory on your table.  However, don’t let your table be overwhelming either.  That is uninviting to your clientele.
  • Order extra business cards if you are running low.
  • Think about signage, banners, etc. for your show.
1 Month Before:
  • If you have an online store, REMOVE / DEACTIVATE those pieces that you are taking to the show that you want to have a showcase or highlight pieces.
  • Price all the pieces that you are taking.
    • I often have more of my items CHEAPER at shows than I do in my Etsy store.  The primary reason – fees & shipping do not need to be accounted for.
  • Decide how much liquid cash you will need to be taking with you for your “kitty”
1 Week Before:
  • Go to the bank & get money for your money box.
  • Go through a checklist of things you need to take with you.
  • Make final decisions about what pieces/items you will be taking with you &/or featuring
  • Go through your “business box,” clean out and restock.
  • Fix any broken items from the last show
  • Make any “last minute” items
  • Make sure EVERY item has a price tag
The Day Before:
  • Gather everything and place it by the door for hubby to load *grin*
  • Consider reducing the price on any unsold items from previous shows
  • Set your clipboard and notebook out to jot down any last-minute notes.
The Day of the Show:
  • Eat breakfast (and make it a good one)
  • Pack a lunch & snacks
  • Grad something “to do” in case the show becomes slow
  • Make sure your car is packed
  • Go over your clipboard & notebook for last-minute details.
  • Make a cup of coffee in your travel mug.
  • Double & Triple check to make sure you have the key to your lockbox (I have left mine behind on numerous & embarrassing occasions).
  • Arrive early to meet, greet, & talk to other vendors.



11 thoughts on “Getting Ready For A Craft Show

  1. Great tips, Katie, thanks! My 2 biggest craft show tips are: set up your booth in your home prior to the craft show so you have a plan. Time and space are often limited when setting up a show and having your layout planned out saves a ton of time and stress. I even pack my items right on their displays so I can just pop them onto my tables. Another bonus of a “dry run” set up is that someone can help you set up more easily, too. My husband takes pictures of my home set up and then copies them to help me set up for a show. It’s a BIG help, and he doesn’t have to keep asking me where I want something because he already knows! My other main consideration is pricing in “zones.” It’s great if people love your stuff and want to buy it, it’s not so great (for you or them) if there’s nothing on your tables they can afford. Since everyone has a different expendable budget I like to think of creating items in low, middle, and high price ranges. Most items will fall in the middle, but making sure I have a healthy number of items under $20 really helps to boost my sales! I can generally make my entire booth fee and then some back with my $5 earrings. Then all the medium and higher priced items are icing on the cake! The ranges will vary based on where you live, but generally the middle is about $20-$60 and the high is everything else. Most people will buy in the low or middle ranges, but having a few “show stopper” items can really catch people’s eyes and lead them into your booth. Even if they don’t sell they can be a great sales tool!

    1. Monica, these are so great! I know how many shows you do a year and how much work you put into them. I’m so very glad you shared all your tips and tricks! Thank you for commenting and sharing your expertise.

  2. You covered a great amount. I do one craft show (at least) per month.
    One of the main 2 things I do for a show is like you said, basically, bring pieces that match the event. I do comic con, I do holistic expo, I do rock the block events and more. Each one has unique buyers that have come for a specific reason so I try to bring what the show theme is based on. Lol but not copyrighted material.
    And second thing I do is make sure I have new pieces on my table. If pieces are not selling and the same pieces are always out regular customers don’t have anything new to look at.

    1. These are AWESOME Summer! Thank you so much for your thoughts – good luck on your next and future craft shows.

  3. >Oh, thanks so much! After about a decade, I'm going to do a craft show this winter! This advice is great!

  4. >Well done Katie!! Great information for those of us…like me…who are NOT organized. Thank you!

  5. >This was great to read. Thanks!

  6. >Great post. I would add that it can be so worthwhile to purchase or borrow a dolly to wheel your items from the car to your booth site!

  7. >I have considered doing a show but it always seemed so overwhelming. This clears it up a lot and puts it in bite-sized pieces 🙂

  8. >Thank you Rooee!

  9. >lots of good pointers there for something thinking about doing a show. well done and good luck with yours!

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