These craft fair display tips are based on some of the most common mistakes vendors make.
No matter how much time you have before your next craft show, there are small changes you can make that will have a big impact.
If you’re getting ready for your first event, don’t stress yourself trying to implement all of these tips.
Every craft show is a learning experience and there will always be something you wish you had done differently. Just focus on creating amazing products and doing the best you can.
Your attitude and energy at the event are what’s most important, so don’t head into the big day stressed out from trying to do everything.
I’ve organized my tips into 3 areas:
- Boosting Sales
You’re setting up at a craft show to sell your products. So it’s important to think about how your craft fair display will impact sales.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1 – Think small for bigger sales
Your craft show booth is not a department store.
It’s not even a department within a department store.
Think of your space as one table or display within one department of a department store.
A table display in a department store will be carefully curated to tell a story and to combine products that work together and are likely to be purchased together.
You don’t want to display everything you’re capable of making in an attempt to sell more (it will actually have the opposite effect; check out this study).
A table offering jewelry, art, and knitting comes across as a Jack-of-all-trades; master of none.
When people buy handmade, they want to buy from someone who’s a master of their trade.
A similar idea applies to a table displaying knitted scarves, knitted stuffed animals, knitted sweaters, and knitted doll clothes.
Although they’re all knitted goods, those items would not all appear within ONE department of a store.
Because they appeal to completely different customers and/or shopping mindsets.
When we’re buying a knitted stuffed animal, we’re unlikely to also buy a knitted scarf.
We might also need a scarf, but when we’re thinking about a stuffed toy for a child, we’re not also thinking about the type of scarf that will go with our winter wardrobe; those are two different shopping trips/mindsets.
On the other hand, if a table is full of knitted winter accessories, one customer may buy a scarf, the matching hat, and the matching mittens.
Keep the *purpose of your craft show display in mind as you read through the remaining tips.
*The purpose of your craft show booth is to act as a small display within ONE department of a store.
Your craft show table might fit within the jewelry department, OR the stationery department, OR the bedding department. But it should not fit into all three.
2 – Create a display, not a stock room
Keep in mind…you’re creating a display.
You want to display your products on a table, not stock a table.
When I worked at a grocery store and was asked to stock shelves, it was fitting as much inventory onto a shelf as possible, in an orderly manner.
When I worked as a visual merchandiser at a retail store and was asked to create a display, it was about:
>> showcasing the products
>> grouping like-items together to increase sales per transaction
>> helping the shopper understand a vision
A display helps a shopper shop.
Your craft show display shouldn’t be about cramming as much inventory as possible onto your table.
Display a well-curated collection of products in a way that helps shoppers understand your vision and that increases the *perceived value of your products.
*If you take a dollar store product and display it in the right way, it can increase its perceived value. Meaning, shoppers will believe it’s more valuable (and be willing to pay more for it) than it if they see the same item stocked on the shelves in a dollar store.
3 – Follow a theme
With the idea of creating a display within ONE department of a store, think about the theme your products will all share.
A theme will ensure:
- There’s cohesion among all your products
- You’re viewed as an expert at what you do
- One customer can buy multiple items
- Customers will want to come back to shop from you again…because they had a hard time deciding which item to buy and they want EVERYTHING.
For example, a jewelry craft show table displaying silver & rhinestone pieces, plastic beaded pieces, wire-wrapped pieces, doesn’t have a theme.
It’s displaying jewelry, but the materials, techniques, styles, occasions the pieces might be worn for, etc. are all different.
>> A shopper isn’t going to wear a plastic beaded necklace with rhinestone earrings.
>> The shopper who buys rhinestone earrings isn’t also a shopper who also buys plastic jewelry.
But if a craft show table has a “wire-wrapped healing crystals” theme, a shopper who likes one item at the table, is going to like every item at the table.
That’s not to say you won’t make sales if you have a variety of products; you will.
It’s just much harder to increase your sales per transaction (selling multiple items to one customer) and make sales after the craft show (because shoppers don’t revisit a business if they only found one item they liked).
When deciding on stock to make and bring to a craft show, find a theme, and stick to items that work together.
The theme you follow can also be incorporated into display elements.
For example, if my jewelry follows a theme of wire-wrapped healing crystals, I may add larger crystals to my table as props, or other items related to spiritual healing.
4 – Encourage after-event sales
Most craft show shoppers will be discovering your business for the first time.
This means, most craft show shoppers won’t be prepared to buy from you that day.
Place marketing items in your Zone 3 (zones are explained under tip #9), so if a shopper gets to the end of your table/booth and doesn’t buy, they know how to find and buy from you when they are ready.
- A lookbook – not necessary for your first craft show, but something to keep in mind for future ones. A lookbook can showcase items you’re unable to bring or display at the event, and help provide more context to your products; how they can be worn/where they can be displayed/how to use them/etc. Here’s how to create a lookbook.
- Business cards – you may have a stack of business cards on the edge of your table or even try this trick if you don’t have time and/or money to get cards printed and want to be sure shoppers hang onto your information. You’ll find tips for what to put on your craft business card here.
- Newsletter – a newsletter is one of the best ways to market your business. Have a way for craft show shoppers to share their email address with you, and provide incentive for them to do so. For example, people who sign up for your newsletter at the craft show may be entered into a draw to win one of your products. Here’s more information on how gather emails at a craft show.
Your craft fair display should be visually pleasing, catch shoppers’ eyes, and draw them over to your space. Here are a few tips to create a well-designed space.
5 – Follow a color story
Color is a big part of any display.
When used properly, it will:
- Catch a shopper’s eye
- Create cohesion and organization
- Evoke a feeling
- Tell a story
Start with your products.
If you haven’t started creating products yet, think of 1 – 3 collections you can create that focus on 1 – 3 colors.
For example, if I were knitting winter accessories, I might create:
- Collection 1: Neutral
- Color 1: Black
- Color 2: Grey
- Collection 2: Jewel-tone
- Color 1: Emerald
- Color 2: Ruby
- Color 3: Amethyst
- Collection 3: Winter wonderland
- Color 1: White
- Color 2: Cream
- Color 3: Silver/light grey
Items within a collection would be grouped together in my craft fair display to organize it, and to help shoppers imagine a specific look (e.g. a sophisticated all-white look when browsing the winter wonderland collection).
Grouping products by color on your craft show table also helps create a more impactful display visually.
If you’ve already created your products, consider how you can group them together to create color collections.
For example, if you have yellow, red, purple, blue, white, black, and grey, you might create the following groupings:
- Yellow and purple for an Easter collection or a whimsical feeling
- Red, blue, and white for a nautical collection
- Black and grey for a neutral/moody/masculine collection/feeling
Then consider the color story of your display.
Each element of your display should stick to 1 – 3 color(s):
- Display fixtures
- Your attire
For example, if I wanted to create a feminine or romantic vibe, I might spray paint all my display fixtures and sign holders light pink, use a white tablecloth, and add a bouquet of light pink roses in a white vase.
The use of 2 colors (white and pink) will make a big visual impact that tells the story of romance.
On the other hand, if my display elements were to incorporate white, pink, grey, blue, and beige, it wouldn’t have the same impact, or help convey a feeling/story/vibe.
>> If your products are colorful, you may want to stick to a neutral color for display elements.
For example, if I sell colorful bars of soap, my tablecloth, signage, props, display fixtures, and attire may either be white or black.
>> If your products don’t incorporate a lot of color, you may want to use a bold color for display elements.
For example, if I’m selling silver jewelry at a January craft show, I may want to remind shoppers of Valentine’s Day. I would use red for most elements of my display.
>> If you want to highlight a color in a collection, you can repeat a color from your products in your display elements.
For example, if I sell winter accessories and I’ve created a Winter Wonderland collection using white, cream, and silver yarns, I may use one color: white for every element of my display. This would make my space feel like a chilly winter scene that encourages shoppers to bundle up in one of my scarves.
6 – Tell a Story
Every good display tells a story.
Color alone may tell a story. But a few props can strengthen and better communicate it.
A story can:
- Pique a shopper’s interest
- Help shoppers understand how the product should be used/worn/displayed/consumed/etc.
- Help shoppers imagine the product in their lives
Your story doesn’t have to be complicated, and one or two props can help communicate a story.
For example, a few evergreen sprigs, cranberry stems, and a string of twinkle lights can tell the story of Christmas.
These types of props could be used for:
>> Table linens or table décor to get shoppers thinking about hosting Christmas dinner and setting the perfect table.
>> Candles, home fragrances, or soaps to make shoppers think about filling their home with festive scents for the holidays.
>> A holiday jewelry collection to make shoppers think about dressing up for Christmas parties.
A few more examples:
- Rose petals or cinnamon hearts sprinkled on a table can tell the story of romance or Valentine’s day (when selling goods typically purchased as gifts).
- Rolled-up towels and a few electronic candles can tell a “spa” or “relaxation” story (when selling bath & body goods).
- A couple of potted plants and stacks of books can tell the story of “home” (when selling home goods).
To come up with a story for your craft fair display, think about:
- The story of your products – if you’re showcasing a fall collection, what colors, props, fonts, textures, etc. convey “fall”?
- The story of your brand – is your brand all about being environmentally friendly? Fun and quirky? Romantic? Whimsical? What colors, props, fonts, textures, etc. convey your brand?
- The story of how your products will be used by consumers – what type of setting will your customers use/wear/display/consume your products in? What type of props indicate that setting?
For more ideas and help coming up with a story for your craft show display, join the FREE email challenge: 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY.
7 – Dress the part
Trust me, you will be tired the morning of your first craft show. If you’re like me, you’re going to reach for the comfiest clothes and probably won’t have much time to spend on your appearance.
But keep in mind; birds of a feather flock together.
If you want to attract a sophisticated customer, you must also look sophisticated.
Imagine shopping for your wedding dress or suit and the salesperson is wearing ripped jeans, a t-shirt, and worn-out boots. You’d probably tell them you’ll “come back later” and avoid that business in the future.
An extreme example, but it gets my point across.
If you’re selling bohemian-style jewelry, your look should say you know how to pull a bohemian look together.
If you’re selling whimsical children’s products, you might even consider dressing up in a whimsical costume (e.g. like a prince or princess).
If you’re selling stylish scarves, dress so the shopper you want to attract will notice your look. You may not want to wear a wool scarf inside all day, but you can still create a look that will make your ideal customer notice you.
Find more tips on how to dress to boost sales here: What to Wear to a Craft Fair to Boost Sales
Your craft fair display must make it easy for shoppers to shop.
Here’s how to encourage interaction with your products and make shoppers comfortable in your space.
8 – Don’t Overcrowd
If you’re wondering how you’re going to fit all your products on your table AND include signage, fixtures, and props, consider a display and sample only setup.
For each product you make, you would only have one or two of them on the table. The rest would be stocked under/behind the table.
The perks of a setup like this are:
- Products look more expensive – a disorganized and overflowing display can lower the perceived value of your products. Would you think the bracelets thrown into a basket are more or less expensive than a bracelet showcased in a glass case?
- Products look more exclusive – don’t you feel a little more compelled to buy an item when you think it’s the last one?
- Quicker checkout – you can have stock under the table ready to go when someone buys so you’re spending less time wrapping up purchases and more time encouraging sales.
- Lowers theft – when a space feels chaotic, it makes it easier for thieves to take something without you noticing. Theft at craft fairs is rare, but it does happen (here’s how to prevent it).
9 – Create zones
This is a technique used in retail. It’s a bit harder to implement in a smaller space, or on a table, but it can be done.
You want to think about a shopper’s behavior and how they’re feeling as they approach your table, browse, then buy.
- Zone 1 should grab a shopper’s attention and draw them in. Don’t pitch to shoppers when they’re in this section/have just approached your table; it can come across as pushy.
- Zone 2 is where shoppers will engage more with your products and browse your selection. They’re also ready to hear more about your products.
- Zone 3 acts as the checkout, where they might find smaller, add-on products (here are add-on product ideas to increase your revenue).
You’ll find a detailed explanation, examples, and suggestions for how to set up and what to put in each zone, in this article:
10 – Encourage interaction
If shoppers are worried they’re going to knock something over, break something, look or feel silly, etc. they’ll steer clear of your space.
You want shoppers to interact with your craft fair display.
Shoppers aren’t likely to buy an item they haven’t touched.
Keep the following points in mind:
- Sturdy fixtures – nothing should be on the verge of tipping over or make shoppers feel like it’s too delicate to touch. You want shoppers to interact with your craft fair display.
- Not too perfect – there is such a thing as having a display that’s too perfect. If shoppers are worried about messing up your display, they may look but not touch. And you need shoppers to touch your products to feel a connection to them and buy.
- Sample – make sure shoppers feel comfortable “sampling” your products. Set out mirrors and suggest shoppers try on jewelry and accessories. Have lids off candles so shoppers can easily smell the different scents. Have samples of creams so shoppers can see how it makes their skin feel/smell.
- Prices – it’s important to first, properly set prices (here’s the right way to price your products), but also to make prices clear. When a shopper picks up an item, they should be able to find a price tag. Or, they should be able to immediately identify an item’s price, based on table signs. If you’re using signage for pricing, make sure it’s clear. For example, a sign should read: “Winter Hats – $35”; not just a $35 sign sitting next to hats. Items can be misplaced, and you don’t want someone thinking your $45 scarf is $35 because it’s next to a $35 sign.
I hope this article has given you lots of ideas for your craft fair display!