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I want to get my craft show booth set up. What do i need?

I have never done a craft show before but I want to be ready when the opportunity presents itself. What besides my product should I get? I know I need a table but what about everything else?

17 Responses

Go to flickr and type in craft show booth. About a million different kinds will come up and give you lots of ideas. Best of luck!
This! I got such great ideas from flickr.
Tablecloth, displays, pricing/info signs, tent if the show is outdoors. Those are the main things. Then there are lots of other random things I bring:

Inventory list
Business cards
Money apron
Glue stick

There are a couple of good teams here on Etsy that are designed for people who do craft shows. There is a wealth of information available on those team discussions.

One that I belong to is "Craft Shows.....It's a Living" and it has lots of tips and advice for making the most of your craft show experience. I suggest that you join the team and look thru the posts - you will find the answer to just about all your questions.
hi Brigit, could you please send me a link to the team? I'd like to join as well but can't find it for some reason.
receipt book,
smart phone and the square or paypal here reader to take credit cards
Mirror, if it's accessories
an apron or fanny pack to keep money, change, pen, etc. on you
table cloth
I found this on the forums, it helped me a LOT!

1. Stock/Inventory
2. Display pieces (and any needed hardware if you use hanging displays)
3. Table(s) (if you must supply your own)
4. Tent or Canopy (if outdoors and must supply your own) walls and weights for wing and rain
5. Table cloths
6. Table/Booth Banner or any other signage
7. Business cards, LOTS, to place out on the table
8. Extra Price Tags
9. Mirror (if you sell "wearable" items like jewelry, hats, scarves and such)
10.battery inverter and phone and ipad chargers

1. Lots of change
2. Sales Slips/Invoice books
3. Credit Card equipment/supplies/acceptance signage (CC info below)
4. Extra Pens
5. Bags/Pkgs to pkg sold items
6. Sales Apron or Money Box (however you manage your money/supplies)
7. Name Tag
8. Calculator
9. "Mailing List" sign-up sheet (or other method)
10. Counterfeit checker pen for larger bills

**During "DownTime"-CRAFT!!
Crafting Supplies to Take
1. __________________________
2. __________________________
3. __________________________
4. __________________________
5. __________________________
6. __________________________
7. __________________________
8. __________________________

**Other Important Items
1. Tape, string, tacs etc.
2. Scissors
3. Laptop if needed and WiFi is supplied
4. Fully Charged Cell Phone
5. Items for the elements if outdoors:
-Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Bug Spray
-Jacket, Sweatshirt, Umbrella
-Large Tarps or clear plastic and clamps for your tables incase it starts to rain
6. Small First Aid Kit
-Hand Sanitizer
7. Bottled Water
8. Mess free snacks
9. Camera
10.Trash Bag(s)


If you don't already, consider setting up the ability to accept credit cards--it's SOOOO worth it!
ProPay is a great avenue to do this. A Basic acct there is only $35/year, transaction fees are low and you can process your cards either via cell phone, home phone or online! Not to mention they have topnotch customer service AND they provide CC Acceptance Signage that you can print out directly from thier site.
Here is the link for ProPay's fee info:
And you can easily navigate the rest of their site for other info

You can either handwrite all the CC info on slips OR you can pick up an imprinter rather cheap.
I got mine along w/100 slips and a custom merchant plate for about $35 including shipping
Imprinter $14.95:
Merchant Plate $4.95 w/7 lines:
100 Sales Slips $4.95:


-Have PLENTY of stock.
Take all you can, even if you dont put it all out. It's good to have extra inventory on hand.

-Run a "TestDrive".
Do a trial run of your set up a day or so before your show, this will help you to work out any kinks you may have. Taking a picture of it to refer back to will also help during show set-up.

-Add Dimension.
Use 'levels' in your displays to add height, it brings your items to eye-level and helps to draw attention.

-Take plenty of change!!
Nothing more needs to be said there LOL

-Stay Connected.
Have your cell fully charged incase you need to call somebody to run something out to you.

Nobody like a frumpygrumpy vendor LOL

-Engage your visitors.
Strike up friendly, "no-pressure", conversation rather than the immediate "can I help you?" We're not used car salesmen afterall.

-Solidify future business!
Create your own method for compiling a Mailing List. Whether it be via filled out post/index cards dropped into a fish bowl, a sign up sheet on a clipboard, or an immediate addition made directly to your list via laptop/cell phone! After the show, send a Thank You for Visiting message to each of your new contacts...and be sure to keep reaching out to them in the future!

-Stay Hydrated!
Take some bottled water, lots of talking can make ya pretty dry. ;P

-Stay Energized!
Have some "clean finger" snacks on hand incase you can't break away to eat. Pretzels, carrots/celery/string cheese sticks...anything that won't create greasy sticky fingers.

-Keep at attention.
Try to stand as much as possible, sitting all the time may make you seem "unapproachable".

-Body Language is important.
Sitting or standing w/crossed arms, on the phone or reading looks bad and as tho you're not interested in being there.

-Hand out promotional items.
This will help to keep "YOU" in your visitors mind even after they've left your table/booth. Business cards, rack cards, postcards, flyers...things along that line are great for this.

-Keep moving.
Try to look busy at all times, even if you're not. Craft a little, straighten your booth, "Look" like your doing an inventory of your table---whatever to keep moving.

-Take a little "First Aid" Kit.
This is a new one for me, but I'm telling ya...if you need it you're sooo glad its there LOL There's nothing worse than wanting to bring your A-game and then getting hit w/a sour stomach or headache.

-Be prepared for weather.
If your show is outside, be sure to have an umbrella, sunglasses, sunblock, lightweight jacket or sweater---whatever the elements may be. And if it's Indoor, keep in mind that they could have the AC or heat up to high too LOL

Even if you have to wear dressier shoes, just make sure they're comfy.

-Keep a positive attitude.
Even if the show is not having quite the visitors or customer spending activity expected..don't begin complaining or start 'ignoring' your booth. Negativity will only bring MORE Negativity.

-Bring a Helper.
Having a helper with you is SUCH a great advantage. Not only can they help w/customers, set up and tear down...but it's also great for if you need to go to the bathroom LOL

Meeting new people, seeing new crafts, networking with other craftes/vendors is such a wonderful experience.
Enjoy your day!! :D
Excellent list! I'd like to add - bring your own chair in the form of a folding bar stool style chair, preferably with a back for support. It is horrible to talk to a customer/browser/whoever if you are sitting in a regular chair. But on a bar stool, you are at the same height and it works out quite nicely; you an sit without really giving the impression that you are sitting.
Thank you guys so much for this !! Very helpful information. *Off to find a fold out table.*
I recently did a comic expo and the thing that made the difference for me sales-wise was a credit card swiper that plugs into my iPhone's headphone jack!

It was free to order and takes a small percentage of each sale (like Etsy).

I would have lost out on 20 or so sales had I not had it! :)
Plastic totes for your transporting your goods. I do not recommend cardboard boxes or anything else without lid or that is not waterproof
Here are my quick random thoughts about arts & crafts shows…

1) To find shows start by looking in your local newspapers or watching for flyers posted in store windows.
2) Go to the arts & crafts show as a buyer/looker to get ideas for yourself. If you see a particular way of displaying art work that appeals to you, ask the artist where the display was purchased. Most people are willing to share - just don’t interrupt the exhibitor while customers are in the booth. While you are at the show, look for a spot that you think you might like for your booth. Some promoters allow you to request your space. Keep in mind that corner spots often cost more than a space where you are sandwiched in between two other exhibitors. Schools usually have narrow spaces and not your typical 10x10 size. BTW…schools are usually hotter than hell…dress lightly even in the winter!
3) If you like what you see at a show, ask one of the exhibitors to point you in the direction of the promoter and ask for their contact information. Let the promoter know what it is you plan on selling. The questions you might want to ask the promoter via email include the following:

a) How many people attended the craft show in 2013?
b) How any artists/crafters did you have in 2013?
c) How many artists/crafters applied in 2013 and how many were accepted?
d) Is the arts & crafts show juried?
e) Do you have buy / sell vendors (other than food)?
f) Is there an admission charged for customers?
g) IS there a parking fee charged for customers?
h) What size is the allotted space?
i) Is there space behind the tent for sitting and/or storage?
j) What is cost for the space?
k) What are the other costs that may be involved? (jury fee, insurance, etc.)
l) What are the hours of the fair?
m) What time is the earliest / latest I can set up?
n) What will the 2014 dates be?
o) What is the rain date?
p) Do the artists have to break down or is there overnight security?
q) What is the web site I can download the application from?
r) Could you please send a craft show floor plan map?
s) If you plan on doing the art show by yourself (which we wouldn’t recommend for the first few times unless you have a very small quantity of items), you may want to ask about booth sitters for bathroom and meal breaks.
t) If you need electricity ask if it is available.
u) If you have special needs e.g. handicap, cargo trailer parking, need to be near a bathroom, etc. ask if these are possible

These are the things that particularly interest me, you may have other questions. If you sell jewelry, I would want to know if they limit the number of jewelry exhibitors.

4) Create a form to keep your notes (answers to the above questions) and get a file started on that craft show.
5) Create a file for each arts & crafts show promoter you email and drop all email correspondences in that file for future reference.
6) Create a file for every month and as you find a show put the information in that month’s folder. In January and February start planning your shows for the year. Many shows have discounts for early bird registrations - you may want to take advantage of that.
7) Other ways to find arts & crafts show include the following:
a) Google “craft shows and whatever area you are interested in” – there are more shows than you can shake a stick at!
b) Subscribe to magazines such as Sunshine Artist which lists the top craft shows nations wide (usually they are the higher end and more expensive shows).
c) Check out
d) Join an Etsy craft show team
e) Check out but be prepared for higher end and more expensive shows here.
8) Go to the library and look for books on exhibiting at craft shows. Two books I am aware of are “Handmade Marketplace” by Kari Chapin and “The Crafts Business Answer Book” by Barbara Brabec.
9) You may want to stick with shows costing $100 or less during your first few years. Once you get the hang of it you can advance to the more expensive high end shows.
10) There are many places you can purchase what you need. Below are a few places I buy my supplies from:
Folding Tables BJs, Costco
Tent BJs, Costco
Table Covers
Business Cards or
Containers/Buckets dollar store
Find vendors you prefer and bookmark them for future use.
11) If you find a show that is local and inexpensive and you want to take a nose dive without checking it out as a buyer / looker first – go for it! Once there, network with the other artists and ask them which shows have been successful for them – again, people are willing to share.
12) Bring at least $150 worth of change with you including $40 worth of dollar bills and coins if you are charging cents.
13) Bring things like tape, stapler, pens, pencil, paper, marker, paper, clips, hand wipes / sanitizer, band aides, analgesic for muscle aches, calculator, tape, rope, bungees, safety pins, your tools, bag for garbage, tissues, paper towels, a chair, your breakfast and lunch if you want to save money, a small cooler for drinks, comfortable shoes and clothing, a shirt change (just in case you get dirty setting up or spill), sunscreen and bug repellant for outdoor shows, an umbrella to attach to your chair if you won’t be sitting under your tent, a few business card holders to place in several places on your tables and extra business cards, and lastly a smile! Oh yes… depending on the unloading situation, we may bring a hand truck with us as well.
14) Pack everything the night before and be ready to roll out of bed and into your car – well, maybe you can stop to pack your cooler.
15) Get your tax ID number – many shows require that number on your registration form.
16) Think about your need for liability insurance – some shows require this.
17) We do not put our Etsy shop “on vacation” while exhibiting at an arts & crafts show; rather, we use our smartphone to deactivate anything we sell.
18) Don’t plan on reading or checking your email during the show. Look engaged in what you are doing, say hello to people. Working on your craft during the show is OK and may even bring lookers and encourage discussion and possibly create sales.
19) Figure out a price tagging / inventory system that works for you. We use the small strung marking tags On the tags we mark the price and our item number. When something sells we remove the tag and put it in a designated area. When we get home, we indicate when and where the item was sold on our master inventory list. You may want additional info on your master inventory list. Please do mark the price of your items…when I go around to the different booths to shop, I walk right passed if I have to ask what the price is!
20) At any given time we usually have about 10 items that are red dot specials. This moves older pieces and other items that may be less than perfect and keeps our booth fresh each year.
21) Before your first show, you should definitely practice setting up in your yard or a park at least once (preferably more) to work out all the kinks.
22) We have four six foot tables, three four foot tables, three six foot benches that we use to put on top of our six foot tables to elevate certain items. We also use grids behind our tables to hang our wall décor. We don’t necessarily use all those tables each time, but we have them because different venues have different configurations and we want to be prepared for whatever. We like to bring the customer into our booth so we will often set the three six foot tables up to form a U. If we have extra room we use either another six foot table on each side (this has us sticking out of the tent by two feet), or one four foot table on each side. Again, depending on the configuration, we might have the tables flanking each side and leave an open space in the back so customers can walk through. Play around using a floor plan made out of paper.
23) Be sure to include an area for your things in your space planning – a landing spot where you can bag purchases, put a drink, have paper and pencil, etc.
24) Some people keep a money box or even a cash register, while others keep the money in a fanny pack, their pockets, or an apron – personal choice.
25) Some artist charge the same for their art work on Etsy and the shows, some charge more on Etsy to cover Paypal and Etsy fees. We charge the same price; however, we remind the buyers that they will pay more due to shipping.
26) We have a beautiful unique wooden chair that Bruce carved out of a sycamore tree. We place this chair right in the front of our booth with a sign that indicates how long the chair took to make (100 hours) and our Etsy web site. This chair is a real attention getter and gets people to stop and linger at our booth. Many people take pictures of the chair – which is why we added our Etsy web site to the sign. Find your eye catcher and use it to your advantage.
27) Color coordinate your table covers – various bright colors of green with brown accents work well for us – colors of a forest/woods. Our sign is also a bright green as are any containers we have on the table.
28) Depending on how much you have to sell, you may want to leave yourself two hours to set up. It takes my husband (the artist) and me two hours to set up; however, we have a cargo trailer full of large bulky items.
29) You can store your containers under your table as long as you have table covers that go to the ground. We prefer the non-fitting table covers as they are much easier to fold (actually we roll them to prevent wrinkles) than the fitted covers.
30) The lower priced shows (churches, schools, fire departments, farmers markets, nonprofit fund raisers, etc.) typically have customers that are not looking to spend a lot of money so be prepared with items that are less than $40-50. Your higher end shows ($180+) have customers who are ready to spend a bit more. At either type shows have lower priced items available. If you don’t sell your higher priced items, you may sell many small items to cover your expenses for the day.
31) We usually ask the promoter for a flyer and if they don’t have one, we create one ourselves using the computer. We post this flyer at various stores as we work our way around town doing errands. We also send the flyer via email to friends and relatives and ask them to send it to their email list. Facebook is our friend in this regard as well. You don’t have to do this; however, the more people who know about the show, the better it is for your sales. You can get as creative as you want with this – offer a discount for anyone bringing you the flyer or a certain code on the flyer. Use your imagination – think outside the box.
32) We usually give a show two or three times before we give up and more on to the next. Obviously, if a show works out for you; put it on your calendar for next year.
33) We have always accepted personal checks and (knock wood) have never had an issue. Now that we accept credit cards, no one has asked us to accept a check.
34) If you find you enjoy arts & crafts shows and plan on continuing, you may want to think about
a) applying for the Square so that you can accept credit cards.
b) getting a professional sign with your business name to hang on your tent.
c) getting a cargo trailer to keep all your things in – this saves on packing, storing and having to remember what to bring to each show. If I had to pick one thing that has enabled us to continue, a cargo trailer is it. Packing and unpacking for each show would have been the deal breaker for us.

With each show you do and as you network with other artists you will find your own style and figure out what you need. Shows are lots of fun to do but they aren’t easy and take lots of physical work – especially if you have a large stock and / or heavy items. If you are not a morning person BEWARE…you will need to be!

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