Many sellers find that vending at holiday craft fairs are an important part of their business. Not only can you increase your holiday sales during the event, but representing your business and making personal connections with shoppers and peers can build momentum and drive traffic to your Etsy shop for later purchases.
The founders of the Etsy Dallas Team, Stephanie of Tefi and Pamela of Dowdy Studio, are pros at both participating in and organizing craft fairs. They’ve generously shared their trade secrets to help you prepare for your next event.
Find the right event for your business.
Join a local team to get the skinny on events in the area.
“I think just about every show I’ve done I found out about through my network of crafty peers. Not only do you hear about shows before they hit the wider circuit, but you get the ins and outs from those who’ve done them before. It’s so helpful hearing about the turnout, the marketing, and promotion.” — Stephanie
Make sure you stand out in your vendor application.
“Make sure that when the show producers visit your website that your presentation is top notch: clear, crisp pictures, great item descriptions, very polished, and easy to navigate. If Etsy is your main site, make sure you fill out your profile information with an insightful bio, have a great banner, and an avatar. If the application gives you an opportunity to explain a bit about yourself or your work, take the time to say something about what makes you stand out as an artist.” — Pamela
Design the perfect display.
Merchandise, merchandise, merchandise.
“I sell jewelry and small accessories, so I like to cluster complementary items together, for example, a vintage white enamel bowl full of colorful fabric brooches.” — Stephanie
Show the shopper how the item should look.
“I like to show shoppers what my items look like on, so I outfit a mannequin with a cardigan (prop), a necklace, and a brooch. I also wear my product as just one more point of sale.” — Stephanie
Seize the opportunity to build your brand.
“I take cues from retailers I love. When I walk in to their stores, I know exactly where I am. I see their brand in every nook and cranny of the store. The same should be for your booth, which essentially is your little shop.” — Stephanie
Take advantage of prime real-estate like the area at eye-level.
“If you notice shoppers touching and picking up your items, then your display is working. The most important thing to think about is what’s at eye-level? That’s where someone is looking when they are gazing across a room or space. Pay very close attention at what you place in this spot — maybe it’s a banner with your shop name or your main item display.” — Pamela
Visually invite shoppers into your booth.
“We like to visually entice someone into our booth, rather than holler at them to come in. Putting our favorite pieces out front, and arranging them in a way where people are welcome to touch and interact with them lets people feel at ease with looking at more.” — Pamela
Prepare for the point of sale.
Keep a positive, welcoming attitude with shoppers.
“You are your best asset in making a sale. Find that balance between laid-back artist and salesperson. Always smile, always say hello, never hound. No one will hand over money to a sourpuss or bored Betty. When someone walks into your booth, acknowledge them, put down your crossword puzzle, and be available for questions. Then hang back and let your shopper shop. Be grateful — they came out to see and admire (and buy!) your work.” — Stephanie
Remember: You are your brand.
“You are always the face of your shop. Everything you do reflects on your shop and your items.” — Pamela
Carefully consider offering purchase incentives.
“I try to tailor any incentives to the specific show audience.” — Stephanie
“Meeting the artist and hearing the story behind each item is an incentive! We don’t rely on special purchasing incentives or discounts, as we want our items to be valued at the amount of time and work we put into each one.” — Pamela
Encourage online sales after the show.
“Just letting people know that you have an online store can bring them back for more. Some people are better shoppers at home in front of their computer. We also let people know that we have more items available online, as we can’t always bring everything we make to a show.” — Pamela
Find more booth display inspiration in this awesome Flickr pool or join a street team to get the scoop on local opportunities. Extra credit: Practice your craft fair application artist’s statement in the comments below (try for 250 words or less).