10 Things That Annoy Craft Show Organizers

If you plan to use craft shows as a sales channel for your business, you don’t want to make a bad impression on organizers who decide whether or not you’ll be accepted as a vendor.

These are common mistakes vendors make that can annoy craft show organizers and have them second-guessing if they want you as a vendor at their next event.

10 Things that Annoy Craft Show Organizers


1) Incomplete application

If a craft show is popular, the organizer will have dozens, if not hundreds, of applications to sort through. The easier you make it for them to pick you, the more they’ll appreciate it. 

Meaning, if they ask you to attach photos of your products or booth setup, don’t share a link to photos on your website or tell them to visit your Facebook page to see pictures. 

Take the time to read over the application rules, thoroughly fill out the application, and proofread it before sending it off. 

Be considerate of the organizer’s time by including everything they ask for and don’t go overboard. If they ask for 5 photos, only include 5. If they ask for a sentence, don’t write a paragraph.


2) Not setting up on time

When the craft show doors open, organizers want shoppers to get a good first impression and be able to shop from every booth. 

If vendors have bins in the aisles or there are empty tables, it can make the event and its vendors look unprofessional and unorganized.

Plan to give yourself more time than you think you need to unload your car, haul bins to your space, and set up your display. 

A sweaty, out-of-breath vendor also doesn’t make a great first impression (I was definitely one of those for my first few craft shows).

It’s better to have more time than you need so you can gather yourself, grab a coffee, or even take a quick stroll around the event to see what other vendors have to offer.


3) Spilling into the aisles

When shoppers leave a bad review for a craft show, one of the common complaints is that the event is too crowded.

A lot of that has to do with the size of the venue and how many vendors the organizer squeezes in. However, displays that spill into the aisles can contribute to a crowded feeling. 

Fixtures that sit in front of your table or outside of your booth can create a tripping hazard or obstacle shoppers must work around.

Every vendor is given the same amount of space (or the space they paid for). It’s unfair for one vendor to take more space than they’ve been allotted.


4) Poor customer service

Of the shoppers who review a craft show and give it one or two stars, they often complain about vendors being unfriendly or on their phones.

Although it’s unlikely that every vendor was on their phone, a shopper will remember the few who were and review the event (and its vendors) as a whole.

Shoppers are also there for the unique experience craft shows provide. Most enjoy talking to vendors, learning about their craft, and getting to connect with people. 

Each vendor is representing their business and the craft show, so do your part to contribute to a welcoming atmosphere and an enjoyable shopping experience.


5) Poorly planned display

Every craft show organizer strives to have amazing vendors. And a vendor’s display is just as important as the products they sell. 

Don’t leave your display as an afterthought. 

Create a space that is on-brand, cohesive, easy to shop, and looks professional. 

Organizers will appreciate it.


6) Bringing different products than you applied with

Experienced craft show organizers know how to curate a good selection of products (lack of selection is another common complaint made by craft show shoppers).

So they’ve sorted through applications and accepted vendors based on what they sell.

If you apply with handmade jewelry and show up with a selection of jewelry, knitted goods, and soaps, it’s going to throw off the balance the organizer has thoughtfully created.

The type of products and general aesthetic of products you apply with should be what you show up with.


7) Complaining about booth location

Experienced organizers will also plan the location of each vendor to ensure two competitors aren’t too close to each other and to make shopping easier for consumers (e.g. at bigger shows, organizers may create sections based on shopping interests; a pet section, food section, a home goods section, etc.).

They’ve likely spent hours planning the layout. 

Asking an organizer to find you a new location an hour before the doors open is not an easy task. 

Unless there’s something completely unfair about your booth’s location, try to make the most of where you’ve been assigned. 

Chances are, the organizer has put you there for a reason and thinks it will help provide shoppers with the best experience. 


8) Complaining about sales

Complaining about sales to other vendors or even to shoppers (I’ve had it happen to me as a shopper), creates a bad atmosphere.

Some shows are better than others and some shows are slow despite the organizer’s best efforts. 

A slow show or low sales is, unfortunately, something every vendor deals with at some point. And complaining about it won’t change anything.

You don’t want to be labelled a Negative Nelly or be viewed as a bad apple who’s riling up other vendors.

Even if you don’t plan to be a vendor at the organizer’s future events, it’s best to keep your complaints to yourself. 

You never know who knows who or who’s listening, and you don’t want to build a bad reputation for yourself in the craft community.


9) Packing up early

When vendors pack up early, it’s not only unfair to people who are shopping within the event’s hours and expect to see a full show. But it’s also unfair to the other vendors. 

It creates a disruption and makes shoppers feel like the event is ending. So they may rush through their shopping or feel like they’re in the way and should leave. 

When you accept an invitation to sell at a craft show, you’re agreeing to be there for the hours the event is open to shoppers. 

Starting to pack up early may encourage other vendors to also start packing up. This creates an unwelcoming atmosphere for shoppers, even if there are only a few left.

Organizers will notice and remember who didn’t stay until the end. It may get you banned from future events.

Wait until the event’s end time to start packing up. If leaving early can’t be avoided, follow these tips to try and keep the organizer happy.


10) Leaving a mess

Everyone is tired at the end of an event, so organizers appreciate when vendors make an effort to leave their space in the condition they found it. 

Don’t leave garbage behind and consider helping out by stacking chairs or tables that were provided.

It also means a lot when you take the time to thank the organizer.



You may also be interested in the unspoken rules other vendors hope you follow: Craft Show Etiquette; What other Vendors Expect


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