Our original article on Craft Show
etiquette continues to be one of our most popular articles so we thought we
would expand on it and break it down a bit more to give you a really good look
at what each category of craft show participator might look for from you. Here are our other etiquette articles:
If you're wondering how to stay on other vendor's good sides, below are some best practices when it comes to craft show etiquette:
Don’t hog the entrance
Everyone feels a little stressed about getting set up the day of the event and everyone needs to haul in
their items in a timely manner. Be sure you don’t park your vehicle at the entry and leave it
there. Quickly unload your items and move your car so other vendors can do the same. If you feel it’s safe, you can
unload your items to one spot just outside the door, move your vehicle, then start loading inside to your spot. If there's a lot of foot traffic and you'd rather take your items straight from the car to your table, try your best to do it quickly or to park in a spot that won't be a hassle for other vendors to walk around or park next to you while they unload.
Don’t impede on other vendor's space
paid your fees for your space and each vendor needs to stick within it. What
you do with your space is completely up to you but if your display starts
spilling out of your area or blocking shoppers from seeing / shopping your
neighbor's booth, you may not be too well received by fellow vendors.
Don’t take up all the organizer’s time
Plan ahead of time to ask the organizer the questions you're curious about so
you’re not monopolizing their time the morning of the event. Find them once to find out where you should set up and any other need-to-know inquiries. Don’t
continuously interrupt them when they’re with other vendors as though your needs are more important (we know you don't think that;).
Don’t be an island
Community is what the
handmade world is about! Say hi to your neighbors, walk around and see what
other vendors are selling and offer to help out your neighbor. If you don’t
have a helper, you may need someone to watch your table for bathroom breaks; offer to cover for your neighbor and see if they’ll do the same for you. Work
together to make the most of the event and make sure it's a success for everyone.
There are bound to be other
vendors selling similar items to you at a craft fair but don’t look at it as
competition. Use it as an opportunity to point out what’s different about your
products that shoppers may appreciate. There are (usually) enough shoppers to
go around and everyone has something unique to offer. Personality plays a huge
role when it comes to handmade businesses so this is the time to let yours
shine. Shoppers aren’t just buying a product, they’re also getting a story and
experience when they shop handmade so don't worry about what other vendors are doing and focus on improving your game.
Be inspired sure! But don’t
outright copy what another vendor is doing for your next event. Handmade is all
about individuality so you really need to tap into yours to succeed. If you see
someone doing something you’d like to do, whether it’s through the products
they sell, the language they use or the displays they create; draw inspiration
from them, but don’t copy. Determine what it is you love about what they’re
doing and brainstorm how you can put your own spin on it. There aren’t many
truly original ideas anymore; everyone is drawing inspiration from somewhere but everyone has their own unique perspective to add, so focus on that.
If there’s a vendor or event
organizer you’re not particularly fond of or a shopper who has said something
to offend you, it’s best to keep it to yourself. Not only does gossiping make
you look bad, it’s a bad vibe for the show. Shoppers find it unprofessional and
other vendors will wonder what you say about them behind their backs.
Don’t lower your prices for sales
craft show is slow or you’re just eager to make more sales; don’t resort to
lowering your prices. We have a lot of good reasons why this is no bueno for
your business but for the sake of this article; it won’t make other vendors
happy. They’ve worked hard to make their products and to get their customers to
understand and value their prices. If you slash your prices or undervalue your
work, you’re making other vendors at that sale look overpriced and may drive
shoppers away from them. If your products are lower priced due to
different materials or techniques, that’s perfectly fine, but don’t underpay
yourself in an attempt to drive sales.
Don’t be a Chatty Cathy
Get to know your
neighbors but be sure to pick up on cues when they don’t feel like talking or
want to focus on customers. Always cut your conversation short if a shopper
walks up and shift your attention to them. Not only with fellow vendors
appreciate that, shoppers will too.
Don’t pack up early
This applies to
etiquette event organizers want you to follow as well. Packing up early affects
other vendors because it creates a distraction and may make shoppers feel
rushed. Stay until the very end and enjoy your time.
And a few bonus “DO” points for you:
Do be mindful of your lunch
No one is trying to
tell you what to eat but keep in mind that many vendors sell fabric items that
absorb smells and they do their best to keep their work environment free of things
like smoke, pets and other irritants. Their work environment includes craft shows so it's important to be mindful of that. Not to mention, you don’t want the smell of your lunch to compete with your neighbor's scented goods like candles or bath and body products; they want their customers to smell their products, not your lunch.
Do spread the love
Before the show, you
may want to find a few other vendors you’re swooning over and share them on
your Facebook page. This could be something you do to promote the event or you
may want to strike up a deal with your fellow vendors. Offer to post their work if they do the same for yours. Fans of your social media page may not be in
the market for more of your soaps this upcoming weekend but they may be looking for some new jewelry. By sharing another vendor’s work, you may just
encourage someone new to come…and you never know, once they’re there, they may purchase from you after all. You can carry this cross promotion over to the day of the show too; offer to
keep their cards on your table and suggest shoppers check them out in exchange
for them doing the same for you.
Even if you can't get out from your table to walk around and meet the other vendors, be sure you make eye contact and smile. Although you may just be scanning the room to see what the other vendors are selling, doing it from behind your table, inquisitively, may be read the wrong way. A smile makes everyone feel more comfortable, including yourself.
Do stay focused
You're a part of a team and everyone needs to put their best foot forward. If a couple vendors are grumpy, distracted or bored, it can leave a bad impression with shoppers...and we all know how people are more likely to remember and talk about the bad, rather than the good. Wear a smile, don't hide behind the table, stay off your phone and engage with the shoppers. Everyone around you will appreciate it :)
Have any other points you'd like to add? Please leave a comment!