Organizers put a ton of work into planning
and executing a craft fair and they’re relying on their vendors to help make it
great. You’ve helped spread the word, created tons of amazing stock, showed up
on time and were a peach to deal with. But one mistake at the end of the craft
fair can put you on an organizer’s naughty list and make it really hard to get
accepted to their next event. What’s that mistake you ask?
When you begin packing up your handmade
goods before closing time, it creates a whole slew of negative effects. You may
think that you’re just losing a couple sales but it’s much more than that, it
affects your business’ reputation, other vendors and of course the organizer. You can check out all the negative effects of leaving early here.
We cover a bunch more un-written rules in our e-book: MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS that will keep you in organizers and vendors good graces.
And if you want to discover 5 reasons you're not making more money at craft fairs, check out this article for a few common mistakes you may need to correct.
SO, WHEN IS IT OKAY TO LEAVE A CRAFT SHOW
Never! ;) kidding. But I do want to stress
the point that under most circumstances, you should stick to your commitment of
selling at a craft show until the end. There will always be elements out of
everyone’s control that can wreak havoc on a show’s attendance but unless it’s
a situation similar to those mentioned below, you’re probably best to stick it
out. Here are a few examples of situations that would be considered acceptable
and unacceptable to cancel last minute on a show or leave early.
ACCEPTABLE: AN EMERGENCY
No one can argue that there are certain
situations that require no questioning and if it’s an emergency involving you,
a family member or someone you love, don’t let a craft show get in your way.
You undoubtedly know what would be an acceptable emergency situation to warrant
your absence (someone’s health) and those that may feel like an emergency but
don’t need your immediate attention (bad haircut). If something has un-expectantly
come up, be sure to explain it to the organizer and let them know you
understand this puts them in an awkward situation but there’s just no way
around it for you.
UNACCEPTABLE: POOR PLANNING
“I forgot that my kid has a game I want to
watch this afternoon” does not get you a free pass to leave early. If you have
a conflict with your schedule that’s due to your poor planning, don’t make the
event and organizer pay for that.
ACCEPTABLE: BEING SICK
It’s a likely scenario, especially around
the winter months and busy holiday craft show season that can leave you run
down. If you’ve got the flu and can’t even imagine having to pull it together
for an entire show, first see if there’s someone who can cover for you; a
family member you’ll pay back in home cooked meals for the rest of the month or
a friend you can pay in commission. If that’s not an option you may have to
cancel on the show.
UNACCEPTABLE: BEING HUNGOVER
Hangovers are the worst but they shouldn’t
stand in the way of you showing up to an event you’ve committed to. Sure the
organizer may not know that it’s a 24-ounce flu but YOU will and if you were
out, other vendors may have seen you indulging a bit too much last night. We
know it’s no fun but this is just a situation you have to suck up and suffer
through. Grab a greasy burger on the way to the show and beg your friends to
stop by with lots of coffee ;)
ACCEPTABLE: NIGHTMARE ORGANIZER
We’re not talking about an organizer saying
there will be 2000 shoppers and only 1500 showed up. We’re talking
misrepresentation of what they were organizing and delivering. One event comes
to mind; there are many reviews from shoppers and vendors about an organizer
who sold the event as a one of a kind craft show not to be missed but ended up
delivering empty stalls (some with garbage in them), vendors selling imported
goods, moving vendors around mid-show, giving some who paid half the price for
a smaller booth, a larger one at no cost (which wasn’t fair to those who paid
full price) and a real lack of shoppers. THIS event sounded like a nightmare
and I wouldn’t blame a vendor who packed up early and hightailed it out of
there. If an event is going to end up hurting your brand and you feel like
you’ve been majorly mislead, use your discretion and decide whether it’s worth
it for you to hang around.
NOT ACCEPTABLE: TIRED AND BORED
Nope, just not a good reason at all.
Sometimes weather or other events in the city will leave a craft show with very
few shoppers. This is never any fun but if you don’t want to burn bridges in
the craft community, you should stick around. The last hours of the last day
can seem painstakingly slow when you’ve had a busy weekend but don’t start
packing up until they close the doors.
ACCEPTABLE: ROADS THAT MAKE IT DANGEROUS TO TRAVEL
If you’re attending a craft fair out of
town and road conditions are going to make it dangerous to travel, this may be
an acceptable situation to cancel an event or head out early so you beat the
weather. If your Monday to Friday job is what pays the bills and selling at a
craft fair on Sunday while a snowstorm brews is going to make it difficult to
get home, you may want to explain to the organizer that you need to pack up
Sunday morning (before the show starts) and head home. Craft shows are awesome
but no craft show is worth risking your life or livelihood for.
UNACCEPTABLE: NOT LIKING THE WEATHER REPORT
If you just don’t feel like selling your
goods at an outdoor market on a drizzly day or you don’t want to deal with
brushing snow off your car to head to a winter market, that’s not a great
reason. Bundle up and make the most of it.
ACCEPTABLE: EMERGENCY WITH YOUR STOCK
If something out of your control happened
with your stock causing you to not have enough, this may be an understandable
reason to back out of or leave a show early. If your products got damaged
because of a flood in your basement or a leak that happened overnight where
your booth was set up, there’s not much you can do.
UNACCEPTABLE: NOT ENOUGH STOCK
The organizers are planning on you to be
prepared for their event and to have enough stock to make it through the show.
If you’ve grossly underestimated how much stock you need or had astronomical
sales that day, you should still stick it out and be at your table to represent
your brand. Apologize to customers that stop by for the lack of stock and hand
out business cards so they can find you online. If you’ve still got another day
to go, you better get creative! Call in a friend to man your booth while you
head home and start creating. Maybe you need to rethink your products and focus
on making some smaller items that take less time to produce but put together an
album of the other items you can offer.
If you do need to leave a craft fair early due to one of the acceptable reasons mentioned above, use our tips in this article so you can do so and leave your good reputation in tact.
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