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.
It’s important to have fun, be yourself and show pride in your work; that will always draw people to you.
Here are 5 mistakes to watch for next time you’re at an event selling your handmade goods.
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 neighbors, 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 I’m not suggesting cutting 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 working with another customer, take a second to say “Hi” to a new shopper, welcome them to your table and let them know you’ll be right with them or that they can interrupt you with any questions.
On the other hand…
2) Looking too Eager
If you look like you’re ready to pounce the second a shopper steps into your booth (or up to your table) 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 salesperson 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 for them to try one of your samples or asking if they’d like to see how your product works are perfectly fine.
Giving people a staredown as they approach your table or standing in the aisle and blocking them from walking by until you finish your pitch is too much. Sounds extreme but this has happened to me as a shopper at a craft show.
3) Staying Quiet
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.
I know it can be intimidating to sign up for your first craft show and stand there as people browse 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 a craft show vendor as the day goes on.
Check out these articles for tips on feeling more comfortable at craft shows:
- How To Start a Conversation with any Customer at a Craft Show
- 12 Tips to Help Introverts Sell at a Craft Show
- 5 Tips for Drawing Customers into your Booth & Keep them Coming Back
- Sell More at a Craft Show by Asking This Question
- Craft Show Etiquette
4) Giving away your work
I’m not talking about a freebie to draw customers in; I’m referencing low prices and “these aren’t selling so just take one”.
If you don’t put value on your work, how can you expect others to?
I 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 (here’s the right way to price your products). 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 products are half the price of something similar a couple of 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 flat on a table surrounded by a variety of other jewelry pieces that would never be worn together. Now imagine that same necklace, displayed on a crisp white bust form, sparkling under the lights, with a matching bracelet, ring, and earrings. Which necklace would you perceive as having more value? Put thought and effort into your display.
- Handle it with care – this 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 in a way that ensures it doesn’t get damaged going to and from craft shows. 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 nice package for them to take home.
5) Not Displaying Prices
Craft show shoppers 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 prices aren’t clearly marked for each item (or group of items) a shopper may just put the item down instead of risking a slightly awkward situation of being told the price and then not purchasing.
When a shopper picks up an item and asks 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 to think so!
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!