Here is a super easy ‘what to bring to a craft fair’ checklist. These are the essentials! It’s easy to forget a thing or two while you are packing, so print this bad boy out and check them off as you go.
At Pop Shop, we’ve worked with a lot of different styles of spaces. We’ve hosted indoor and outdoor events, upstairs and downstairs events.
We’ve had A/Cs go out or bands cancel. And for vendors, we’ve seen them arrive late, after the event has started, and missing tools they need. Forgetting something can spiral your experience, make you late, or cost you extra money. Craft fairs should be about you connecting with your customers in person and growing your business. Don’t let something simple wreck it.
Here’s the Free Printable Checklist:
This list is perfect for new makers that are just getting started with pop up markets. But seasoned veterans, don’t think that lets you off the hook! I bet you will find a few gems from the how’s and why’s behind what we do!
1. The Night Before – Charge Your Phone and Pack your Card Reader + Cash Change:
First of all, if you are participating in a morning or afternoon art market, pack your items the night before. There’s nothing worse than scrambling around at the last minute. There’s always one thing I can’t find the day of! Charge your phone or device the night before too. Hey get crazy and pack your mobile credit card reader and cash change the night before.
How much cash change should you bring? That depends on your price point, but most retail businesses start out at about $75-$100 in 1s, 5s, and 10s. This is essential – no phone – no cash = no sales.
2. Tablecloths, tablecloths, tablecloths:
Why is this the easiest supply to forget? This sets the stage for your work. If you can manage to steam out the wrinkles, well now, you would be a dandy one! A lot of people stick to solid black or white. I always love it when there’s one stripe of a solid color down the center of the table.
I do not recommend using different colored/shaped/styled tablecloths. It’s important for them to be simple and tie the whole booth together. You want your customers to notice your product not your tables. With different tablecloths you will always be fighting against a messy look. Want to see our favorite booth set ups? Check this out.
3. Bring as Much Product as Possible:
How much product should someone bring to a craft fair is something that comes up a lot. I believe you should bring as much as humanly possible, so long as it meets these two criteria – the branding matches and it doesn’t clutter your booth. Think about it this way, you want the greatest opportunity and the most amount of sales possible. I’ve even heard a theory that people are more likely to buy an item if they see two that are the same. Let your customers decide between different sized or priced items. Be sure that there are difference with both. Take an extra 15 minutes to bring everything you’ve got!
4. Free Items + Business Cards:
I always have items that are less than $5 for a no stress, fun purchase. Freebies are really great too. It’s fun to give someone a sticker and it’s an awesome feeling to know that your sticker features your business info. Always bring information that people can take home with them like business cards and coupons. At Pop Shop, we often have some online orders from people we’ve previously met in person. Sometimes it’s someone that couldn’t get a piece out of their mind. Or a shopper was trying to be sneaky and buy it for a friend as a surprise – and couldn’t make it work.
5. A Large Sign with Your Business Name:
You have no idea how many people skip out on having any kind of signage! How are customers supposed to know who you are, how to find you, what you do? Don’t make them work for it. Help them out a bit. Plus, it can help tie the space together. The neater your booth and the more full of product – the more inviting your booth will be. Be sure to get your sign up high. If you put your signage low on the front of your tables, you signage will become invisible to everyone else around once someone stands there.
6. Price Tags for Every Item:
Price Tags are often overlooked. Perhaps it’s an afterthought to the work. However, it’s truly important. There’s another retail theory about the percentage of people will not stop and ask about pricing. Most shoppers will just think “it’s too expensive” or “this is a hassle” and move on. What if your customer is shy? What if your customer is easily distracted? Don’t make them work so hard to buy from you.
Scenario: What happens if you step away from your booth for food or a restroom break. Most people ask their booth neighbor to watch their space. What if someone comes by at that time and your booth neighbor stumbles with “umm, sorry, I’m not sure how much this is, I think it’s….” Sale lost! For those of you that have participated in an art market, you know what I’m talking about! Things like this happen frequently. So make it easy on yourself and put prices on everything.
7. E-News Sign Ups:
E-News sign ups are the most valuable thing that you could possibly bring to a craft fair – even more than your product! Let me repeat that E-News is the MOST VALUABLE THING YOU CAN DO! Did you know that you’re about 10 times more likely to get a purchase later if you send out an E-news? And did you know that an E-news sign up is worth more than double any social media follow? Mailchimp is a drag and drop E-news sign up that is as easy as Etsy or Facebook. If you aren’t using this, please start now. If there is one thing that you take away from this blog, let it be the greatness of E-news.
I’m a big believer that your packaged item should look as beautiful as the item itself. Isn’t that the whole point of handmade? The whole thing from start to finish can be interesting. Here’s another scenario, someone purchases 4 different size items from you, hooray! Some of the items are little and some of them are big. Then you realize you don’t have any bags with you. Yes, you can ask a nearby vendor for one but what if they don’t have the right size either?
Or what if someone makes a purchase and says, “I’m on my way to a birthday party. Can you gift wrap it for me?” The last thing you would want to do is admit you forgot your bags. It’s unprofessional, when it could have been a two minute activity that shows how awesome of a small business you run.
9. Bonus – Supplies to Make New Products & Customize Products:
Sometimes events are too busy for this. But for a handmade business, helping your customer with commissioned illustrations, adding length to a necklace, or swapping out items in a gift set can be the cornerstone to your business. It’s part of the wonderful thing that sets you apart from big box stores. Use all you got!
We’ll have lots more blogs for handmade businesses looking to grow so stay tuned! And here is a reading list perfect for those of you interested in exploring craft books.