15 Things Craft Show Shoppers Love

I’ve read hundreds of craft show reviews and there are a few consistencies when it comes to what craft show shoppers love (and what they dislike). 

These are points to keep in mind as a vendor, as well as some tips for organizers at the end of this list.

15 Things Craft Show Shoppers Love

1) Something for everyone

Most craft shows target women (and often middle-aged women), and so, most craft show vendors tend to make and sell products for middle-aged women (e.g. jewelry, candles, soap, etc.). 

However, the most-loved craft shows have something for everyone. 

When a craft show has vendors selling products that fall outside the typical craft show product categories, or there are typical items but they’re created for a different market (e.g. candles targeting men), shoppers appreciate it.

People want to find products they won’t see in department stores or at the mall.

So think outside the box when choosing which market to target with your craft business, and what types of products you’ll offer. 


2) Variety in aesthetic

Within your craft show display, your aesthetic should stay the same. Develop a signature style that appeals to your target market and don’t stray too far outside that signature style or your target market.

However, craft show shoppers appreciate when there’s variation in aesthetics from one vendor to the next. 

Consider the look, feel, and style of your competitors’ products and popular aesthetics within your market.

For example, at the time of writing this, minimalist gold jewelry is a popular style of jewelry, not only at craft shows but also on Etsy. Even major retailers are focusing on the style.

So consumers appreciate when they get to a craft show and see jewelry that’s a different style than they can find at the mall, on Etsy, or at every other craft show they visit. 

Within a city, the craft scene often isn’t that big. You likely know who your competitors are. Take the time to analyze their products and signature style, either at a craft show or by researching them online. Then find ways to offer something different than them.

There are always trends that are dominant at craft shows (e.g. years ago it was owls and moustaches incorporated into all kinds of products. These days, you can almost always find a vendor selling succulents in concrete pots, geometric-shaped gold jewelry, knitted hats with fur pom-poms, etc.). 

It’s okay to follow trends; it may initially give you a boost in sales. But once multiple vendors are offering the same trend, or making items that look similar to yours, it may be beneficial to explore new styles.

Craft show shoppers get tired of seeing slight variations of the same things.


3) Leaving with something

Some people do visit craft shows simply to explore, without the intention to buy. 

However, the majority of craft show shoppers are hoping to pick up something. 

When they find a vendor they love but everything they have is out of budget, they leave feeling a little disappointed.

You don’t have to change the market you target, lower your prices, or offer something that’s off-brand. But you should try and produce a product line that includes smaller pieces that are in the $30 and under range. 

Shoppers who enthusiastically write a review boast about the cool items they took home; not all the items they saw but couldn’t afford.


4) Chatting with vendors

Consumers are choosing to shop at a craft show (instead of the mall) because they appreciate the unique shopping experience they provide. 

Getting to talk with the maker of an item is a big perk for many shoppers. They want to make a connection with the creators in their community, get a story out of the experience, and perhaps learn something new.

As an introvert, chatting with strangers has never been something I look forward to at craft shows. But I had to learn how to come out of my shell and make an effort with shoppers. 

If that’s a challenge for you, I have a few articles that may help:


5) Authentic selling

I don’t know anyone who enjoys being on the receiving end of pushy sales tactics. There are some places consumers will tolerate it; craft shows aren’t one of them.

Shoppers appreciate the laidback selling style most vendors follow. 

Having a genuine conversation about an item or a craft is much more appealing than being sold to. 


6) Quality work

Craft show shoppers appreciate finding quality handmade items. 

As one reviewer put it, they enjoyed the craft show because items were “less crafty and more crafted”.

Craft show vendors keep raising the bar when it comes to products, brands, displays, etc., so shoppers’ expectations have risen as well. 

When people are paying higher prices (for handmade items), they expect more from those items.

Focus on quality over quantity when deciding which products to make for a craft show.


7) Payment options

Most of the positive reviews about vendors accepting debit or credit cards are from a few years ago. It may not be something today’s craft show shopper would mention in a review because point of sale systems are so common, but accepting forms of payment other than cash is important.  

Few people carry cash these days so investing in a credit card reader/point of sale system (e.g. Square, PayPal POS system, etc.) may encourage more people to buy from you.


8) Business cards & takeaways

Many positive craft fair reviews mention how much there was to take in and how many items they wanted to buy, but also state they had to be selective due to a budget. 

They appreciate being able to grab a business card from businesses they weren’t able to buy from.

Keep in mind that the majority of craft show shoppers won’t buy from you that day. 

Have business cards, marketing material, or freebies shoppers can walk away with to remember your business and get in contact with you in the future. 


Notes for organizers

These elements are out of a vendor’s control, however, they may be something to consider when deciding whether or not an event will be a fit for you. 

And if you’re an event organizer, keep these points in mind when choosing a venue and planning details. 


9) Spacious

A busy event is what every organizer and vendor wants. However, shoppers appreciate room to walk the aisles, sit down and eat (if there are food vendors), and shop without constantly being bumped into.

Bigger venues and ample days/hours to shop will help spread out the crowds.


10) Organized

Many positive reviews mention the layout of the booths. Shoppers like to be methodical when browsing and follow a pattern that ensures they don’t miss any vendors. 

Some also appreciate similar vendors being grouped in the same area so they can shop a pet section, an accessory section, a food section, etc. This mostly applies to big events (100 plus vendors).

A map showing which vendors are where is also appreciated at large events.


11) Food and drink variety

Shoppers are happy when they’re fed, so food trucks are always mentioned in positive reviews. And they especially appreciate when there’s variety (they will knock off a star or two if the only option is deep-fried food).

Events that offer good food and drink options tend to get shoppers to stick around longer.


12) Good parking

People don’t like paying for parking, fighting for parking stalls, or having to walk long distances to and from the car. 

So a venue with plenty of free parking always gets a rave review.


13) Free admission

Charging a couple of dollars for each person to shop the event isn’t a big deal, but shoppers do appreciate when there’s no charge to get inside and check out the vendors. 


14) Clean bathrooms

Even at outdoor events using porta potties, shoppers appreciate when there are lots of them and they’re kept clean.

Never underestimate the importance of a clean bathroom 😉


15) Comfortable temperature

When the event is being held indoors, creating an environment that’s not too hot or cold is appreciated by shoppers. 

If the event is outdoors and the temperature is out of everyone’s control, it’s a good idea to have shaded areas or other ways for shoppers to get relief from the heat, escape the cold, or get out of the rain. 


It should also be noted that both craft show shoppers and vendors want vendor/product variety from year to year. If you’re an organizer putting on an annual event, be sure to mix things up. Give new vendors a chance, which will also allow shoppers to find new products and discover new businesses.


You may also be interested in The Top 7 Complaints from Craft Show Shoppers


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