Guest Blogger, Shows and Exhibits

Guest Blog Post: Craft and Vendor Show Beginner’s Survival Kit

So I began February 2022 with the plan of daily blogging and I kept it up until 02/17/22 where I promptly “fell off the wagon”, ha! Life has been kind of busy and I recently returned from a nearly week long quilting retreat at the Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, MO (oh yes there will be posts about that adventure in the future!).

I have a lot of catch up reading on my blogging buddies blogs; and today I am going to share a guest blog post written by Carrie Spencer of The Spencer Adventures (see the bottom of this post for more info on Carrie). I have this fantasy that someday I will sell my handmade creations at a craft fair so this article is perfect for my daydreaming!

Craft and Vendor Show Beginner’s Survival Kit

by Carrie Spencer, The Spencers Adventures

Turning any crafting hobby into a true business takes a lot of work. If you have been honing your craft, you may wonder whether you’re ready for fairs and vendor shows. If you have a fair amount of inventory and an established brand, a craft or vendor show could be a great next step, but bear in mind that it requires more than setting up a table and taking money.

To make sure your first foray into a market goes well, here is a quick beginner’s survival guide for the show circuit.

Forming a Business

Having a side hustle is one thing, but relying on your craft as a main income requires a different approach. You need to consider taxes and liability. Some shows even require that you have a tax identification number for your application. If you haven’t formed a business yet and plan to do this full-time, this is your first step.

There are a variety of formation options, but you might consider the advantage of LLCs. Limited liability companies can protect your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other legal situation. They also offer tax benefits and less paperwork than other formations. You can even use a formation service if you are unsure about what is needed to start an LLC in your state and don’t want to deal with the paperwork details.

Creating a Display

With a formed business and accepted show applications, you can next focus on your booth display. A standard booth size is about 10 feet by 10 feet, and you need to make every inch count. Tangleweeds notes that your display is vital to drawing in potential customers and getting your products recognized. 

image from post Sewing & Stitchery Expo, tierneycreates 03/05/2018

For these reasons, you need to be strategic about your setup. Make sure there is enough space for customers to walk around and see your offerings. Use attractive signage to stand out from surrounding vendors. When customers do come in, try to engage them personally. Make your booth and brand memorable.

You can make your brand more noticeable by designing a memorable and appealing logo. Fortunately, you can create a logo for free when you use an online logo design tool. This tool allows you to browse logo templates and then customize them by adding your own images, font, and text. 

Prepping Products

According to AmeriCommerce, one of the best strategies you can use at a craft show or fair is to research your competition. Knowing who the other vendors are and what they provide can help ensure you offer a unique, high-quality and competitively priced product. 

You also want to make sure that you bring enough products to sell so that you can earn back your vendor fees and meet your sales goal. It’s wise to bring enough product to sell two or three times what your goal is. So, if you plan on selling $300 of your product, bring enough to actually sell $600 or $900 of your product.

image from post Sewing & Stitchery Expo, tierneycreates 03/05/2018

Processing Payments

The types of payments you accept can determine which customers make a purchase and which walk away empty-handed. For professional appearances, you should have a cash box on hand to accept cash payments. With the accessibility of Wi-FI, however, you should also prepare for mobile purchases.

You can use a card reader or cash app to accept payments. Make sure your customers know if you accept payment methods other than cash. If using an app, have a sign with your business’ QR code ready to scan and any relevant information. If you charge extra for credit card purchases, make sure your customers know about this in advance as well.

image from ZDnet.com

While their preparation can take a lot of effort, craft shows and markets can be successful for sellers and customers alike. With a little bit of prep work, you’ll not only survive but thrive in your first craft market experience. 

About the guest blogger author:

Carrie Spencer created The Spencers Adventures to share her family’s homesteading adventures. On the site, she shares tips on living self-sufficiently, fruit and vegetable gardening, parenting, conservation, and more. She and her wife have 3 kids, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 3 goats, 32 chickens, and a whole bunch of bees. Their goal is to live as self-sufficiently and environmentally-consciously as possible. 

Carrie has guest blogged on the tierneycreates blog in the past – see the post Fun and Educational Activities to Drive the Indoor Blues Away (Guest Blogger Post).

8 thoughts on “Guest Blog Post: Craft and Vendor Show Beginner’s Survival Kit”

  1. One area that can cause issues, which Carrie talked about is having the “added $ extra” if using app/similar for payment.
    I had thus type if problem with a fundraiser where non members were nasty about 10% more. In the end we changed our tactics, members got a kind of “coffee card” which after 6 clicks they got 25% off. You could actually fill your card with one purchase.
    But that won’t happen at a show, so that’s when your “one price fits all, means your bases are covered. You could “gift” a little extra at the time to cash buyers, but not saying so. Rather, some other reason, like “you’ve been sweet person, I’ve tucked in “a …. “. But do it kind of randomly…to avoid suspicion 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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