How to set up a craft fair stall to shine!
Attending a craft fair is a good way to showcase your products. Your craft stall needs to shine! So, how to set up a craft fair stall is an important lesson. It needs to be your stunning shop window for the day.
You have expended blood sweat and tears – not to mention money, creating your beautiful products. Now you have your first craft fair booked….you are set to go. Or are you? Chances are you want to show off your creativity in its best possible light. Having a picnic rug on a floor is not going to do that. Your craft stall needs as much consideration as you have given your creations. Here at Create we have lots of experience with all types of creative businesses and love to share our tips on how to set up a craft fair stall for you to be successful at those fairs and exhibitions.
20 top tips on how to set up a craft fair stall to be the envy of all others
- Lighting. I know you often have to pay extra for lighting but it is ESSENTIAL. Those without light look gloomy and you fade away between all the other bright lights. Along with proper lighting you may want to consider fairy lights etc if they complement the type of creative products you are selling and your branding.
- Stand in-front of your stall. Stand out in front and say hi to people as they pass. Never sit down and certainly don’t read a book. Look engaged and busy and project a wonderful energy which will attract people. You have put energy in how to set up a craft fair stall, you do not want to shrink behind it!
- Engage with people. Try and stick in people’s memory. People go around in a zombie state at fair sometimes as there is so much to look at. Make sure you engage and stand out. As above… NEVER sit at your stand reading and never ignore people. If there are two of you on the stand please don’t stand there talking (or worse moaning) as you will repel people as they pass. Have a laugh and a joke where you can. Hook them in with an open question to try and start a conversation.
- Display. This is KEY. You need to break people’s state and to do that you need to stand out over and above everyone else. When you are a solo business it can be hard to think of ways to stand out but be creative. I have seen people hanging umbrellas up, use unusual props… it does not have to be expensive. If you can try and keep it tied in with your brand. I used to take glass cabinets from IKEA and some billy bookcases to get some height. Height is really important, it can catch people’s attention from across a crowded room.
- Buzz. Try and do some things on the stand to get some attention. I used to actually create the 3D castings and Raised Impressions with customers on the craft stall that I would then take away and make into the finished product ready for them to receive later. I would end up with queues on the day as the buzz attracted more people. Perhaps offer some free demonstrations.
- Take details. BUILD YOUR MAILING LIST. Don’t rely on selling on the day… make a list of anyone who is interested and then. Make sure you have a pen and paper to hand to note down details. Maybe an easy to fill out slip so if you are busy potential customers can fill it out whilst they are watching you do a demonstration on how you create your fabulous products?
- Follow Up. Keep in touch frequently until they are ready to buy. It will make the investment SO much more worthwhile. You can’t rely on the sales from the day to cover the stand cost. It is what you do afterwards which will bring the sales in.
- Who are you talking too? Don’t try to sell to everyone and anyone. Some will want to buy and others are not in the market for what you do. Try and find a way to find out fast before getting into any sales spiel. Perhaps an opening question such as “have you created any keepsakes yet for your little one…” and see if this engages them. Not everyone at the event is going to be a possible customer so spend your time on the people who are.
- Leaflets. Don’t hand leaflets out to absolutely anyone who passes. As above. Leaflets cost money so perhaps talk to them first and make sure they are interested and ask for their details as you give out the leaflet.
- Sweet tooth? Have something to break the ice like chocolate, sweets or an ethical bribe like free handprints taken on the day or something which you can offer for free which will not cost much. Just to get people to your stand and from there you can up sell. If you can keep the children and partners happy it gives you more time to build a rapport with the potential purchaser! The event organiser might even promote your free gift over the announcements or in the brochure. Speak to them before hand about what they can offer.
- Essential breaks. Have someone there to cover when you go to the toilet. Try not to fly solo as you will need breaks. It can also be hard work. So try and take someone to help out. If not make friends with your neighbours!
- Network. It is not just customers but I would try and make some friends with fellow business owners too as it is all about the people who you know.
- Prepare. Drinks, snacks, pens, velcro, paper, tape and anything else you can think of.
- Flat shoes. You will be on your feet ALL DAY so wear comfy shoes. I used to wear brand matching crocs!
- Uniform. Try and look smart at the event. We all dressed in black and had shocking pink branded aprons with pink crocs so all looks really uniformed and smart.
- Type of stand. Corner stands are best. Try and secure a corner pitch as you will get people going in all directions. Pick your pitch carefully.
- Position. Get good aisle coverage. You pay per square foot so I would go long and thin so more chance people will notice you!
- SMILE. Goes without saying but smile at everyone and invite them to come and talk to you with your kind eyes!
- Graphics. I would get large format printing and use double sided velcro to the exhibition boards. The bigger the better. Nice and professional.
- Payment. Find a way to take cards on the day. I used to rent a terminal from 123-send but now you can get PayPal and other handhelds which plug into your phone. Make sure there is Wi-Fi and that you will have access to it. Have a float for change too. It’s no good having customers who want to buy on the day but you can’t find a way to facilitate it.
Finally, enjoy yourself! Your first outings will be learning curves but it is all about getting out there and showing people why you love your products – and why they should love them too! If you would like more support on running a creative business – not just on how to set up a craft fair stall, we would love to hear from you here.