How to Prepare for a Craft Show:
You’ve asked for it! Several of my Build Your Brand readers have written to me asking for a series of articles that will help you prepare for a craft show. Since the summer & fall craft show seasons are upon us, this seems like a very good time to talk about it … so for the next several weeks we will discuss many different things in relation to craft shows. Today’s topic is how to decide on and prepare for a craft show. Let’s get started …
Why Do You Want to Do the Show?
The most important thing that you need to decide in wanting to do a craft show is the WHY question. That’s sounds like an odd question, I know. But the reality is that it is a very hard question for many people to answer. Most people answer the question because they say they want to do the craft show “to make money.” That’s every single vendor’s goal there, to make money. But there has to be more than that to your craft show and your reasons for doing it.
One of the reasons that I started doing craft shows in my new hometown when I moved to NW Pennsylvania was to get my name out. I didn’t need to earn even $1.00 at the show, but I took 250 cards and wanted EVERY card gone by the end of the weekend. This was a way for me to meet people, introduce them to polymer clay (which many people didn’t know of or hadn’t seen before), and more importantly it was a chance for me (in my earlier claying years) to test my products and see what people in my area were drawn to or fascinated by.
Visit the Show BEFORE You Become a Vendor
Unless the show is a free show, make sure that you visit the show prior to paying for a table or area. Each and every show is different with a different look, feel, clientelle, and vendors. You’ll be super sorry if you go to a “craft show” that features mostly vintage resellers. You’ll be equally as disappointed if you go to a “craft show” that features mostly artistic paintings and you are a doll clothes maker. None of these are bag things by the way, but it helps to know what you are getting into. It will help you know what you are getting into.
Take notes of the following things while you are visiting the show and plan to stay for several hours to get the best feel. Also talk to some of the vendor’s about their past experiences as well.
- What is the “feel” of the show?
- Use these measures to get you started: Artistic? Foodie? Vintage? Antiques? Flea Market Style? Juried handcrafts?
- Does the show operate around a theme, season, or holiday?
- Is this a show for Christmas gift giving? Is this a show for animal rescue shelters with animal themed crafts?
- What is the traffic like?
- This is the benefit of “hanging out” at the show … high traffic, slow traffic, continuous traffic, crowded, sparse, etc.
- Do people need to pay to get in?
- This is important to you! Why? Because people who pay to get in are going to expect higher quality and often be willing to pay more for their goods. If the show is free, people generally come with fewer expectations and want to spend less as well.
- How many vendors are there?
- Does the show have 20 vendors or 200? This does matter because shows with more vendors mean you generally have ONE SHOT to grab people’s attention and make them want to return. Shows with fewer vendors, people will often visit your table more than once as they make their “rounds” through the show.
Check Your Calendar
This might seem a little obvious, but it’s frightening how often this one thing is overlooked. You need to check your calendar and mark the date for your show a year or several months ahead of time. Why? So you can properly prepare for a craft show. Next week I will walk you through a timeline of things that you need to accomplish in preparing for your next craft show.
Thanks for joining me today.
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