Our original article on Craft Show etiquette continues to be one of our most popular articles. So we thought we would expand on it and break it down a bit more to give you a really good look at what each category of craft show participator looks for from you. Here are our other etiquette articles:
- Craft Show Etiquette – A Guide for Vendors
- Shopper Etiquette at a Craft Show
- Craft Show Etiquette – What Other Vendors Expect
- 4 Craft Show Organizers share their Do’s & Don’ts
- Farmers’ Market Etiquette for Shoppers
- Farmers’ Market Etiquette for Vendors
If you’re wondering how to stay on the organizer’s good side, below are some best practices when it comes to craft show etiquette:
1 – Help spread the word
You’re a part of a community, and in communities, everyone does their part to make them great. Once you sign up for a craft fair, do your part to invite friends, family, and customers to stop by and see you. Hand out flyers or share posts on social media to do your part in making it a great event. If you’re wondering how much sharing organizers expect from you, check out this article; it also has some tips for spreading the word when you’re participating in multiple events. You may also be interested in: 12 ways vendors can help promote a craft show.
2 – Ask questions ahead of time
The organizers are definitely there to answer your questions and make sure you have all the information you need the day of the event. But keep in mind, the hours before a craft show opens is a busy time for the organizers and they have multiple vendors to help get situated. There are certain things that can probably only be answered the day of such as: where do I set up, how can I plug into electrical, where are the bathrooms. But questions around how they advertised the event, how many people they’re expecting, or how many events they’ve organized in the past, should have been asked beforehand. Be mindful of how much of the organizer’s time you demand while at the event.
3 – Don’t blame the organizer for low sales
Well…you can if they didn’t market the event and nobody showed up. But if the craft show is busy and people are buying but you’re not making sales, don’t blame it on where they placed you or who you’re setup next to. Unless you’re all by yourself in a dark corner, next to a smelly bathroom, you have an opportunity to grab shoppers’ attention. There will always be spots at an event that are more ideal based on traffic flow but keep in mind that your products, your display, and your attitude will do more for drawing in shoppers than any positioning.
4 – Plan a well-thought-out display
You not only want to create a display that represents your brand and shows off your products, but you also want the organizer to be proud of it. It’s another representation of the event and you want to help contribute to the uniqueness of it. Anyone can set some items on a table. Get creative and build a booth organizers want to snap a pic of for social media to show off the quality of vendors they have. If you want some inspiration on how to add eye-catching elements to your booth, this article has several ideas.
5 – Stick to your space
Don’t bring additional props and fixtures that are going to spill into the aisle, making it hard for shoppers to walk around. If one vendor does it, others may follow. Then the organizer has a problem with narrow aisles and sellers competing for space.
6 – Sell what you said you would sell
The event organizer chose your business to participate in the show, based on your products. They’ve likely curated a good assortment of vendors and have had to turn some away due to being full in a particular category. If you applied to sell your handmade coasters but have recently started making jewelry, don’t show up ready to sell your earrings and necklaces; you’ll throw off the balance of vendors the organizer has created.
7 – Make sure you have the items they’ve advertised
If the event has a Facebook page or social media platform they’ve been using to promote vendors, they’ve likely posted pictures of your products. Your products may be one of a kind but try to have the item they’ve featured (or something similar) at the market.
8 – Market while at the event
Don’t ignore shoppers but when you have a minute, snap some pics of your table or of the event to tweet or post to other social media platforms. It’s a good reminder for people who were thinking about stopping by and a great encouragement to those who weren’t planning to but maybe see something in your photos that catch their eyes.
9 – Be present and kind to shoppers
You’re not only representing your business, you’re also representing the event. If vendors are chatting with each other, on their phones, or seem uninterested in being there, that reflects poorly on the market and shoppers won’t have good things to say about it.
10 – Be committed, regardless of the circumstance
Nobody loves the idea of sitting through a slow craft show, however, some things are out of all of our hands (like bad weather). You should stick it out until the end and do it with a smile. Do your part to keep the vibe of the show upbeat, even if you’re not having record-breaking sales. And there are always other ways to make the most out of an event, as mentioned here, and here are ways to attract shoppers last minute.
11 – Help tidy
You don’t have to stay until midnight to tear down posters, dividers, and tables; just be sure your area is tidy and the way you found it. Don’t leave stickers, price tags, and lunch leftovers under your table for the organizer to clean; they’re exhausted too so the last thing they want is extra work left for them by vendors. If they need to stack chairs and tables they supplied you with, it’s a nice gesture to take care of yours for them. Everyone helping just a little goes a long way.
If the event was not what you expected or you feel disappointed with the organizer, do keep the following points in mind:
12 – Be a leader
Be a shining example of how a vendor should act at a craft show. One rotten apple spoils the bunch so if one person starts complaining about lack of traffic or low sales, it won’t be long until there’s a dark cloud over the event, which shoppers can feel as soon as they walk in. I remember one craft show I visited as a shopper; vendors seemed disinterested in shoppers. After running into a friend who was vending, she confirmed that the vendors had been talking and were all disappointed with the organizer. I could feel the disappointment from all the vendors, felt uncomfortable, and honestly couldn’t wait to leave. Do your best to make the most of any situation, even if it’s not ideal. Shoppers can pick up on your energy more than you may realize.
13 – Voice your concerns in private
If you feel there is something the organizer could improve upon, try to wait until after the show to send an email. If it’s something you feel they could address right then and there, pull them aside and discuss it in private, offering a suggestion, making it clear it’s just your opinion and you’re not telling them what to do. The last thing you want to do is gossip with other vendors or embarrass the organizer in front of other people. They’re working hard to do their best and improve with each event.
14 – Be kind
Realize the organizers are just like you, trying to make a profit so they can organize another craft show. They’re likely not getting rich off your vendor fees. They’re often putting in more hours than they’re getting paid for and it’s usually a side project, not a full-time job that gets all their attention and time. Hold them accountable to their obligations to you as a vendor but understand they’re not by their computers or phones 24/7 waiting to answer your questions, and they have a learning curve to go through in their business too.
Any tips you’d like to add? Leave a comment below!
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!