What are the top 10 items an artist should bring to a craft show?
Tomorrow I am going to be doing the Hudson Flea craft show with 179 other artists so that means today I am packing! This morning I realized that there are a lot of other artists getting ready for shows this weekend and many more to come. The holiday season is around the corner so that means it is show time!
I have been doing shows for a few years now and I thought it would be helpful to create a little check list of things that an artist should ALWAYS have at a craft show with them.
So let's begin....
Ok this seems like a stupid no brainer, but I have to say it. Not only should you bring a tent, get a nice tent. I use an EZ UP tent, it costs around $200, and it has come to my rescue many times. I know there are cheaper tents out there, but I would strongly advise spending the extra money and getting a strong tent. I have seen many tents fly away and really cause harm to people and product.
You MUST weight your tent down!!!! A minimum of 10 lbs per leg, minimum. I am serious about this one. A gust of wind can catch a tent, and it will go flying, and most likely it will hit you in the head. You can weight your tent down by making sand bags and tying them to the legs, use your significant others weight lifting weights, or you can purchase weights designed for tents. I promise you it is worth it!
Another no brainer, but again I have to say it. I bring three tables with me and I set them up in a "U" shape. I like this design because it encourages customers to walk in, and you can talk to them and sell. I use 6ft folding tables that I got from the local hardware store. They fold up nicely and fit perfectly in my car when I am packing everything up.
4. TABLE CLOTHS
There is nothing more sad to see beautiful product on a dirty ugly table. In order to really sell your product you need to create the stage to show them. You don't need to spend a lot of money on actual table cloths. I purchased purple fabric from the fabric store and threw it right on top. I have heard of people using cheap shower curtains too, which I think is genius.
5. BUSINESS SIGN
I will be honest, I really didn't want to purchase a sign. I wanted to make one, and save some money, and I did that for a show or two. It took just a few customers asking me what my business name was for me to finally cave in. I purchase a nice vinyl sign from Vista Print when they were having a sale and it has really helped. My biggest piece of advice is GET GROMMETS! It is virtually impossible to hang a sign from your tent without grommets.
6. BUSINESS CARDS
Part of being at a craft show is meeting people and marketing. Yes sales are part of it, but it is a lot of marketing too. I take a minimum of 100 business cards with me to every show. I ran out of cards one time, so I made some super jenky cards hand written and people loved it. People love taking cards, going to your website and ordering later. You never know what is going to happen next month.
7. CREDIT CARD SWIPER
I can not stress this one enough! We live in a digital credit card age now, and if you do not take credit cards you will easily lose 40% of your sales. I use my swiper I got from Shopify because it is linked to my e-commerce website. You can use a swiper from Etsy, Square, or Paypal, all of them work very well.
Ok this one is a bit of a luxury item, but it has really come in handy for me. I use my ipad to take credit cards, and to show people my website too! As I mentioned above, I have an e commerce website, so having the ipad helps show people my website if I run out of an item. It helps in marketing and helps solidify my website in the customers brain.
9. PACKAGING SUPPLIES
I bring tissue paper, and nice bags for people to take their product away. Many of my clients are giving my products as gifts, and they LOVE it when I wrap the gift for them. I am not saying I do the best wrapping job, but I definitely make it look pretty. Yes, it is an extra cost, but it goes a long way!
Most shows are an entire day endeaver and many times you can not leave your tent. I do shows by myself all the time and I am essentially trapped in my tent. So I bring water, and snacks to ensure that I am able to stay alert and sell. It also helps me save money.
11 BONUS! SMILE
Seriously, it sounds cheesy but you really need to SMILE and SELL! It amazes me some times when I see artists just sitting in their tent and not doing much. Then they complain that they didn't make any money. You need to be friendly and have your tent be inviting. I try to say good morning and hello to every single person that passes my tent. It is tiring, but it works. You can have the best product in the world but if you don't talk to the customers they won't buy it. Be friendly, smile, and sell. I had a friend say to me one time... the ABC's of life are ALWAYS BE CLOSING!
With that being said, I am going to come to a close on this blog post. What did I miss? If you have anything to add, feel free to comment and reach out to me.
And as always, check out my awesome website HERE! Have a great show!