The First Craft Show
Since The Baguio Craft Fair started four years ago, I had been dragging my husband and kids to the event and I had hoped that one day I can be a part of it all.
Learning some things from my experiences in my first craft show, here are some things that I would very much like to share with anyone who’s planning to do the same. In my opinion, these could be useful insights to a craft show newbie. Hopefully, I can save you from a few headaches and also help you have a much more meaningful experience selling your crafts!
6 Most Useful Tips for Craft Show Newbies
TIP #1: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!
Whoever said, ‘Those who fail to prepare should prepare to fail.’ wasn’t kidding. Truly, to be prepared is half the victory.
And even though I thought I was prepared, it still wasn’t enough. About 3 months before the event, I made a list of EVERYTHING that I needed to do. As I accomplished each, I ticked it off the list. Basically, my list consisted of:
a. Inventory – Items that I would be selling/displaying
I recommend that you make as many products as you can do before the event. You may think that you have enough items to display, but it is better to have extra. You’ll never know how many people would be there buying your products.
In my case, I really didn’t expect to sell anything. I guess I was not aware how lucrative craft shows can be! So what happened what that I sold most of my shawls and gradient yarns by lunch time of the first day. By the second day of the event, I had very little items to showcase and I was left wishing that I had made more products to sell.
So I recommend making A LOT of products with different price range. Before planning to sign up for a craft show, you should have at least:
- Small items (phone cases, key chains, earrings, etc) – 20 pcs. for every kind. Affordable items, below P5 to P100
- Medium items ( hand warmers, gloves, amigurumi dolls, etc.) – 20 pcs. of every kind. Prices can be from P110 to P500
- Large items ( shawls, pillows, cardigans, blanket, clothing, etc.) – 20 pcs. of every kind. P500 to P1000
- Extra Large ( wall hangings, dreamcatchers, Mandalas, etc.) – minimum 5 and maximum 10 pcs. These will be your high-end products. P1500 to P5000 or higher
b. Things I Would Use –
- Tent – Ask if the organizers will provide this and if not, just bring your own.
- Table & chairs- Sometimes, the organizer will provide these. Inquire!
- Table cover – Buy 2 yards of black fabric to cover whole table. This is just base cover and you can put over it colorful fabric if you wish.
- Shelves/Organizers – Mainly to be placed on top of your table. Many organizers are strict with the areas assigned to sellers, so be careful not to go beyond your assigned area.
- Display rack, hangers, mannequin, hooks
- Duct Tape
- Scissors, stapler
- Strings for tying – When it becomes windy, you may need to tie down some things.
- Packaging (paper bags, ecobags, etc)
- Umbrella – You just might need it!
- A big MegaBox to store your items in case it rains
- Business Cards – Promote your brand! Also indicate links to your socials.
- First Aid kit. My husband was bitten by bugs and suffered the whole day! Bring bandaid, pain reliever, balm for insect bites.
- A money belt bag with bills in all denominations and coins for change.
- Water and snacks – There might not be a time to eat a proper meal so it won’t hurt to have something to nibble on.
Just go on ahead and list down everything that you would be needing and if you have no idea, there are downloadable lists online that some crafters have posted for people who would be joining craft shows. Just customize these lists to fit your situation and your needs. As the event draws nearer, you’ll find that your list becomes shorter and shorter. Don’t get frustrated though, when you’re at the show and find out that you’ve forgotten something. In my case, it was the paper bags. Luckily, most customers brought their own Eco-bags so that wasn’t much of a problem. Plan what you need to bring! It can be tempting to bring everything, but sometimes, it’s more effective to just bring what’s needed. (More about that in number 4! )
TIP #2: Don’t Stress
Preparing for a craft show can be very stressful. My advice: time management! If you need to fill your inventory, make a reasonable schedule that you can follow. Give yourself allowances and never be too hard on yourself. You don’t want to get sick on the day of the show.
Don’t rush creating new items, and just stick with the ones that you already have if there’s no more time.
Be confident. Don’t feel intimidated when you see all the beautiful crafts. And don’t compare your products with the other vendors’. Everyone worked hard but so have you! So bring your A-game!
TIP #3: It Pays To Befriend Other Vendors
When the day is slow, you can keep busy by fixing your display, doing your craft, fiddling with the radio OR you can chat with your neighbor vendors! And if you brought someone else to man your booth with you, then perhaps, you can have time to go around the venue to check out the other booths. I collect business cards. so in case I’d like to order their products later on, I can always reach them via their email or social networks. From my chats with other vendors, I gained important information about this event and even future craft shows! However, what really made me happier was that I made new friends – people who are also passionate about crafting!
TIP #4: Get All The Help You Can
I realized that participating in a 2-day craft fair may sound easy but in truth, it was a very physically exhausting experience! It was partly because we brought so many stuff to the show. In addition, our booth was quite far from the parking area and so we had to carry A LOT of stuff back and forth!
After the fair, my hubby, who was my supporter and only companion in all this, got sick. At the fair, I remember looking around and noticing that most vendors brought the minimum, just the essentials.
Next time, I will plan better and bring only the stuff I really need. It was also a big help that my sister-in-law dropped by to man our booth for a while so my husband and I can grab some lunch and coffee to keep us going all day! I think she sold more than we did!
Bottomline, you will need a few trustworthy and hardworking companions by your side. Some vendors were alone and when they needed to get food or go on a bathroom break, they had no one to guard their booths.
But if ever, you’re alone, don’t be afraid to ask your neighbor vendor to guard your booth for a few minutes. I had to offer this to one girl because I noticed that she’s never left her booth since morning and it was already around 1pm in the afternoon. It’s ok to ask.
TIP #5: Don’t Take Things Personally
Before the fair, I also asked friends who have done craft shows before for tips that could help me make this event more successful. A good friend told me to take time to chat with people passing by my booth. A friendly and accommodating vendor may help buyers decide whether to make a purchase or not.
Perhaps one of the best things about joining the craft fair was that I got to meet many of my online and local buyers. Some who usually bought from me online even traveled from neighboring provinces just to get a glimpse of our yarns.
I even met new buyers, both locals and tourists, who were also hard core crocheters like me! But while most of the people at the fair were super nice, a few got just a bit cheeky! So heads up! You might encounter rude buyers. I think people joining craft shows for the first time need to know about this and they need to be prepared on how to handle these situations.
I found that the best way to deal with audacious comments was to just smile politely and allow them to move on to the next booth. Some will think that your work is worth WAY less that what you’re asking for, or tell you right to your face that they’re probably more skilled than you. One lady, when she arrived at my booth, wanted me to give her my full attention while I was in the middle of a transaction with another customer. Fortunately, she moved on to the next booth when she saw that I couldn’t accommodate her!
TIP #6: Have fun!
You’ve worked hard for months! Now, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Talk to your customers about your products. The people going to your booth are most probably the ones who share the same passion for your craft as you. So don’t hide behind your table or shy away from your prospective buyers. You’ll see that the moment the connection is made between you and a customer, selling your work on a craft show is quite fun after all!
The Baguio Craft Fair is on its 4th year and now that I’ve been part of it, I wish that it happens more often and not just once a year. Being part of something so wonderful is just so fulfilling. Local artists, crafters, small and big businesses have all come together to celebrate beauty, arts, and crafts. I can’t wait for my next craft show!
Hope my tips can help you when you join your first craft show. Let me know about your experience in the comments below. And if you like this article, you may like my crochet content on Gantsilyo Baguio YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
Love and Light, Cynthia