Are you getting ready to take a deep breath, pick your favourite Creations, put a tag on them and get selling?
Doh! hang on, reality check!
- What kind of things do I need to think about?
- How will I engage potential customers?
- What if nobody even looks at my products?
- What if people laugh at the price I suggest?
Oh dear maybe I am not ready to do a Craft Fair, I think I will just go back to my studio and make another lamp!
Agggghh (a soothing aggghh! not 'I am in pain' aggghh! ) that feels better.
You ARE ready! Even if you think you are not, just go out and do it. All these 'uncomfortable' situations are very important when you work for yourself. If you stay in your studio and continually make, you will have lots of gorgeous pieces but no money to grow your business and more importantly, no confidence to reach your goals.
You may not sell anything from your first Fair, but you will learn and network. These things will eventually turn into sales so take these tips, pack up your car and go get 'em!
It may be your first time being a vendor at a Craft Fair or you may be a seasoned participant. Either or, these tips will help you prepare yourself for the experience.
So let's get jiggy with it!
PREPARE YOUR PURSE
- Make sure you have enough change for your customers. Think about a potential buyer handing you a 50. Have oodles of change.
- If you do run into change trouble, make sure you have a backup plan. I suggest linking with your neighbour beforehand to offer a bail out to him and vice verse.
- If that doesn't work and you really need to find change during a sale, I strongly suggest having a box of chocolates with you to offer the customer, as a peace offering. ( This will inject a positivity into a possible awkward situation )
'TURN EVERY NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE, DO THE UNEXPECTED FOR YOUR CUSTOMER' -
DISPLAY & PRESENTATION
Of course, display and presentation is SUPER important. Your stand is the window to your shop so it needs to be well laid out for the general public's eye. Remember an Artists eye is very different to someone who is browsing a Fair.
- Use the space on your table. Create height by placing boxes at random points on your stand, to break up a flat surface. Using different size boxes are good - entertain the eyeball.
- Display your prices very clearly. A lot of visitors feel uncomfortable asking for prices so take any awkward feeling away.
- Never sit behind your desk reading a book. This drives me nuts. It looks like you would prefer to be reading than engaging with your customer. People need to feel special.
- Stand at the side of your stand, with an open friendly face. Ok you can't do this for 8 hours like, I get that but keep moving your position. Movement is attractive and much easier for the visitor to engage with.
HOW TO STAND OUT & ENGAGE
This is a difficult one but hey guess what, you are a CREATIVE so use this to your full advantage.
I ADVISE SOMETHING INTERACTIVE ON YOUR STAND.
1. Use lighting on your stand
2. Burn some refreshing oils
3. If you have space put some flowers on your stand
4. Be active - stand up, come out to the front and 'fix' your stand. Create an atmosphere of busy, friendly and open for a chat.
5. Always acknowledge a stand visitor but not with the usual ' let me know if you want to try anything' ( they hear this at every stand ) - be Creative with your greeting!
'Hey! if ya fancy a chocolate there is a bowl there, help yourself! '
** Hmmmm I feel a chocolate addiction coming through in this blog post! **
If you sell jewellery try something relevant;
'Hey, oooh I like your earrings where did you get them? '
Other suggestions to incorporate engagement with your stand.
- You sell paintings = set up a table top easel and show off!
- You sell jewellery = offer to clean visitors rings for FREE.
- You sell ceramics = have your ipad set up with a video of you in action in your studio.
- You sell food items = have samples displayed, easy to taste & well labelled.
- You sell soap = have a smelling taster sample tray with items labelled and a large image of a nose to attract attention.
MAKE YOUR STAND WORK FOR YOU
Research which Fair you choose to exhibit in.
- Have they a list of last years exhibitors and visitor stats?
- What advertising strategies do they have and what are their social platforms like?
- Can you have a layout of the Fair and who you will be exhibiting next to - make sure you are not lumped in next to a direct competitor.
- Build a relationship with the Fair organiser and offer to share the event via your social platforms/email list.
- Take a 10 day build up to your Fair and push the information on your social profiles. Do this in a non-salesy way folks.
Suggested content for this build up.
Day one: Image of you selecting your Stand's work.
Day two: Image of you making your Signage.....etc. Bring your audience on your journey to the Fair.
- Email your current list of customers, informing them of your attendance in the Fair and offer them a discount on the day.
- Link with other exhibitors ( try to get a list of exhibitors from the organisers) before, during & after the Fair.
- Make sure you give your customer that little bit extra when making handing over their purchase. Put in a business card and a voucher for their next purchase. You can use your business card for this - make sure you mention it to them during the transaction.
- Package your products well. Unless you are selling fries, do not throw the product in a brown paper bag.This is what the customer will go home with. Use this time to promote quality.
The most important part of
'Making your stand work for you and your business'
and so many of ye guys DO NOT DO IT...
COLLECT EMAIL ADDRESSES!!
The easiest way to do this is to run a competition on the day. Do not be afraid to ask for information.
I suggest taking a product that represents your Brand very well. Make a mini-exhibit of the chosen product, perhaps on a tall black covered box with a sign;
'WIN ONE OF OUR BEST SELLING PRODUCTS TODAY'.
To enter, they need to give you their email address, phone number, Facebook/twitter handle.
Also, put in a disclaimer - a wee box with ' please tick if you do not want us to email you '.
Now you have a list of
1. People that are interested in your products.
2. People that go to Craft Fairs. - You can nurture these lists of people with relevant content going forward. Gold!
HAVE FUN AND CAPTURE IT ALL
Of course, we all want and need to have fun at these events. The thing is you need to be organised to have fun so here is a handy checklist for you.
1. Have a big breakfast before you leave for the Fair.
2. Give yourself loads of time to get there.
3. Bring you lunch and bottles of water.
4. It is super duper important to be early so you can set up, introduce yourself to fellow exhibitors and relax into the vibe of the day.
5. Take images for your blog/social/website of the day. Make sure you get the venue name, selfies with other exhibitors and images of your work. You can tag the venue/other vendors on your social platforms maximising reach on posts.
6. I suggest you create a sign for your 'lunch time/ toilet break' too! People like to know what is happening and if you are sitting behind the table - direct them to why!
6. Talk and listen to your customers and have the craic (Irish for fun) with other vendors.
So that there is Biscuits tips for surviving Craft Fairs and making your stand work for you. I hope this helps when organising yourself for your next Craft Fair.
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