This is a guide for Craft Show Vendors. We also have an article on Craft Show Etiquette for Shoppers 🙂
I remember how nervous I was at my first craft show. I had no idea what to expect and felt like a total outsider. There are usually unwritten rules with any group or organization so this article is to help thoswho are new to the craft world. Each craft show will have its own set of rules and etiquette, which may vary from this list but when in doubt, just ask. Get in touch with the organizer or chat with the other vendors to see if there’s anything you should be aware of.
1) Always pay your table fees on time
It takes a lot of organization, time and money to put on an event. Paying your table fees is your way of telling the organizer you are 100% committed to their event and the spot is filled. When you haven’t paid, organizers have the added work of following up with you and aren’t able to properly account for who will be there.
2) Help spread the word
Of course the organizers should have their own plans for marketing the event but the results are always better when everyone does their part to help out. You can ask if they’re having any flyers printed and give them to friends, family and work colleagues and you’ll also want to mention the event on your social media pages. And if you have the time, send out a few short tweets during the show to remind people to stop by.
3) Build up enough stock
It’s always hard to determine how many items you need to make for each show but it’s better to over estimate than under estimate. If you sell out half way through the show, not only are you missing out on sales but empty tables aren’t very appealing for the customers.
4) Volunteer to help (optional)
If you have any extra time, see if the organizers need an extra hand with anything. Helping set up tables before the show is a great way to meet fellow vendors, make connections and scope out the space.
5) Show up on time
For a craft show, this means arriving at least an hour before the show starts. Give yourself enough time to get everything set up at your booth before the show starts. You’ll often have some time after the doors open to play around with your set up but no organizer wants you to have bins and tissue paper littering the front of your table while there are customers walking around.
6) Meet your neighbours
Some craft shows will be too big or busy to meet everyone around you but if you follow number 5, you should have a few minutes after setting up and before the doors open to walk over and say hi to some of the vendors around you. It’s always nice to chat to your direct neighbors on either side of you and offer to watch their table if they need to run to the washroom (hopefully they’ll do the same for you).
7) Be present
Some shows may be slower than others so you may like to bring a book to read, a friend to chat to or a craft to work on. But be sure that you always take the time to look up and greet each customer. A craft show is like a retail store and you’re creating an experience for the customer. We all know what it feels like to walk into a store and have the staff ignore you. Be sure you’re doing your part to create a friendly atmosphere for the show.
8) Stay until the end
Unless you’ve communicated to the organizer beforehand that you may have to leave early due to certain circumstances, you should plan to be there until they close the doors. It’s tempting to start packing up before the end of a long show but it doesn’t leave a good impression to shoppers when there are empty tables or if shoppers can’t get to your table because you’re packing up your boxes.
9) Clean your area
The organizers have to hang around until everyone leaves and then make sure the space is left in a clean condition to avoid any charges from the people who rent the space. Be sure to do your part to clean your area and make sure you’re not leaving any garbage or debris on the floor. If they’re stacking tables and chairs, offer to fold yours up and add them to the stack.
10) Thank the organizer
They’ve just seen months of hard work come to fruition. They’re likely exhausted but excited to have the day here. Thank them for asking you to be a part of the show and congratulate them on a good job. If you have any feedback for them you may want to send an email a few days after the show, once the dust has settled for them.
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!