No one signs up for a craft show with the intention of alienating the shoppers but you may unknowingly be sending them away if they don't feel comfortable. Here are 5 mistakes to watch for next time you're at an event selling your handmade goods.
It's important to have fun, be yourself and show pride in your work; that will always draw people to you.
1) Being too clique-y
Once you dive into
the craft scene, you quickly get to know many of the vendors, organizers and
even shoppers so a craft show can easily feel like a reunion. When you spend
most of your day chatting with booth neighbours, visiting with friends who have stopped by or
gabbing with the organizer, it can make the atmosphere feel like a clique the
shoppers aren't a part of. Visiting is part of the fun of craft shows so
we’re definitely not suggesting to cut that out; but do be aware of shoppers,
even if they’re a table or two over. They’re aware of what’s going on around
them and if they don’t feel welcomed or appreciated, they may
keep on walking. Even if you’re in the middle of a conversation with another
customer, take a second to say hi, welcome the shopper to your table and let
them know you’ll be right with them or that they can interrupt you with any
On the otherhand…
2) Looking too Eager
If you look like
you’re ready to pounce the second a shopper steps into your booth or you’re
being too aggressive with your sales tactics in trying to pull them in, you
may drive some people away. Shoppers don’t want to feel like a sales person is
being too pushy or is desperate for a sale and will do anything for it. Consider how you like to be treated when you're shopping. Most of us like to be acknowledged but not hovered over while we browse. A casual suggestion of trying one of your samples or asking if they'd like to see how your product works is perfectly fine. Giving people a stare down as they approach your table or standing in the aisle and blocking them from walking by until you finish your pitch is too much.
3) Being Shy
Whether you’re shy by nature
or are just trying to give shoppers their space; lack of engagement can be
taken the wrong way. Shoppers, vendors and event organizers may think you’re
disinterested if you keep quiet, hide behind your table or have your nose in a
book all day. We know it can be intimidating to sign up for your first craft
show and stand there as people peruse your work, deciding if they love it
enough to buy (just because they don’t buy, doesn’t mean they don’t love it).
But try your best to put on a smile and interact with the shoppers. Practice
makes perfect and you’ll find yourself easing into your new position as the day
goes on. Check out our articles for some tips on feeling more comfortable at craft shows.
4) Giving away your work
talking about a freebie to draw customers in; we’re referencing low prices and
“these aren’t selling so just take one”. If you don’t put value on your own
work, how can you expect others to? We understand how frustrating a slow craft
show can be but don’t use that as an opportunity to mark down prices or give
items away. Shoppers will remember that next time they see you at a craft show
and wonder why they would pay full price if you’re willing to give handouts
when times are slower.
Treat your work in the way you want people to perceive it. Meaning;
- Price it properly - set your price points
to what they’re worth, not what you think people are willing to pay. Slapping
low prices on your pieces in an attempt to make more sales will hurt you and
other vendors in the long run. Craft Show shoppers generally understand that
they’re buying one of a kind, handmade pieces and with that comes a higher
price tag than they may find at the mall. If your pieces are half the price of
something similar a couple booths down, they may wonder if you’ve cut corners
when it came to craftsmanship or materials.
- Display it with pride – imagine seeing a
necklace laying flat on a table with 10 more of the exact item thrown down and tangled together. Now imagine that same necklace, displayed on a crisp
white bust form, sparkling under the lights, looking like the only one
available. Which necklace would you perceive as having more value?
- Handle it with care – think includes when
people are watching and when they aren’t. Nicks, snags and wear and tear will
bring the value of your work down. Store your work properly at home and take
the time to wrap each piece so it doesn’t get damaged during shipping or
transportation. When you wrap a purchase up for a customer, put that same care
in; handle the item gently, snip off price tags and wrap it in a pretty little
package for them to take home.
5) Not Displaying Prices
mentioned in previous articles, shoppers typically don’t want to ask “how
much?” They may not be able to grab your attention if it’s busy or they may not
want to draw attention to themselves. If the prices aren’t clearly marked for
each item (or group of items) a shopper may just put the item back down and
walk away instead of risking a slightly awkward situation of being told the
price and not purchasing. It’s not that there’s anything to be ashamed of in
this situation but it can be intimidating for shoppers to have the shop owner
watching their reactions. When they pick an item up and ask the price, they’re
showing an interest in it. Having to set the product back down may make it seem
as though they don’t want to pay that price, can’t afford to pay that price or
think it’s overpriced…none of which may be true but they certainly don’t want
you thinking so!
Do you have any mistakes you've seen at a craft show that have turned you away? Share them in the comments section.
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