I have a fun idea for you to try at your next craft fair. I personally never tried it when I was selling handbags but thought it may be something you could give a go and let me know how it works! You owe me nothing if it’s your best craft fair yet and I take no responsibility if it’s a flop 😉 Seriously though, as per our terms, this is just advice
And that idea is…
Cross-promote with another craft fair vendor!
No, not just share a table with a friend at a craft fair; they get one side to display their products and you get the other. I’m talkin’ bout finding a vendor whose products complement yours and can be displayed together. Creating a one-stop-shop for your ideal customer. Finding the peanut butter to your jam.
BEFORE YOU TAKE ANY ACTION
You must first check with the craft fair organizer to ensure they allow two vendors per booth and are down with your idea. You absolutely cannot show up to an event you’ve already been accepted to with an extra vendor and handmade products you did not submit with your application.
Also be sure you’re following all laws that apply to your business:
And if you’re interested in product ideas, check out:
Why would you want to share a craft fair booth with someone you barely know? It’s a great business opportunity for so many reasons!
- Lower costs – if the organizer allows you to share, you’re splitting the price of the craft fair booth or table.
- Increase sales – if you follow the steps below and choose the right handmade vendor and products, your products will complement each other and encourage more sales.
- Attract more shoppers – your products may help attract shoppers the other vendors wouldn’t and visa versa. Plus, you have two vendors with two different audiences sending out invites. Shoppers may also be attracted to the additional selection, as long as it’s curated and displayed in a way that isn’t overwhelming. Once you have shoppers in your craft fair booth, it’s obviously easier to make a sale than if they’re simply walking by.
- Good company – you have someone to chat with during the day, help take the pressure off and cover lunch and bathroom breaks.
HOW TO PARTNER UP AT A CRAFT FAIR
Define who your ideal customer is. Are they male or female, younger or older? What interests do your customers have in common? Are they environmentally, health or trend conscious? Maybe the majority of your customers are parents, college students or people who love to travel.
You really need to have a clear definition of who you’re targeting and what their needs or interests are before you can start thinking about other products that would work with yours in a craft fair booth.
Once you define your target market, you can begin brainstorming who shares the same customer with you. These will need to be handmade businesses who sell products or services that complement or complete your products, not compete with them.
If two jewelry designers pair up, their products are going to be competing for sales. But if a jewelry designer and a clothing, handbag or hat designer pair up, their products aren’t competing, they’re complimenting. A shopper looking for a new hat may want to complete the look with a pair of earrings.
A great example of businesses cross-promoting outside a craft fair is juice bars and gyms. They both attract customers that are interested in improving their health but have very different offerings so a sale for one business does not discourage the sale from another.
The gym may allow a juice bar to advertise in their space or even set up shop to sell their juices directly to the gym’s customers. And the juice bar advertises the gym on their counters, usually by placing signup forms and a box for their customers to enter to win a free gym membership.
Here are a few common categories products are sold under at craft fairs and product ideas for vendors to cross-promote with.
Vendors selling photography, paintings or prints are targeting customers looking to decorate their homes. They may consider pairing up for a craft fair with handmade vendors selling:
- Plant arrangements
- Home décor items (e.g. baskets,
pottery, wall accessories, etc.)
Vendors selling knitted hats and scarves are targeting customers interested in staying warm and looking stylish. They may pair up at a craft fair with handmade vendors selling:
- Hand warmers / heating bags
BATH & BODY
Vendors selling soaps and bubble bath for the body might be targeting customers interested in natural skincare, relaxation during bath time or decorating a bathroom. They may pair up at a craft fair with handmade vendors selling:
- Skincare products for the face
- Relaxing bath time products (e.g. teas, wine or wine accessories, etc.)
- Bathroom accessories (e.g. soap dishes, bathroom jar sets, toiletry cases, etc.)
- Personalized towels
Vendors selling little girl’s hair accessories are targeting parents with young daughters. They may pair up at a craft fair with handmade vendors selling:
- Children’s clothing
- Children’s art
- Children’s photography services
- Baking (e.g. cupcakes, candy or a cake baking service)
Vendors selling jewelry might be targeting females and may pair up at a craft fair with handmade vendors selling:
- Hair accessories
- Nail polish or makeup
- Gift-giving products (e.g. cards, flowers, chocolates)
You’ll want to build a bit of a relationship with the vendor and make sure you and your products will be compatible. If you’re unfamiliar with the vendor and their products, or even if you know them well but want to test out the idea, start small with one of the ideas below:
- Introduce their products to your audience online. Write a blog post featuring the artist and their work, post a couple of their products for sale on your website or simply share a photo of their work on your social media pages. You’ll of course want them to do the same, sharing your work with their audience.
- Exchange a few items with each other to each sell at your next craft fair. For example, if a vendor selling knitted scarves paired up with a vendor selling broaches, the scarf vendor may take 3 broaches to pin on the scarves they display on bustforms and maybe a few more to display on a tray at their craft fair table. The broach vendor may do the same, displaying 3 scarves to show how their broaches can be worn and displaying a few on the table. You may want to work out a commission agreement with the other vendor so they have a little more incentive to sell your work (e.g. they receive 25% commission).
- Work a smaller craft fair together. Instead of diving in head first, try a shorter, less expensive event to test out sharing a craft fair booth or table. Perhaps a weekday evening farmers’ market would be a good option to play around with your display, see how you work together and how your product sell together. If it’s not successful, it’s a few hours and the cost of splitting a booth.
You want to partner with another vendor whose pieces already work well with yours but consider if you both have time to work on a product line together. This may also be an option once you’ve tested out the idea and are sure it’s a good one to move forward with.
I touch on building collections in the free sample chapter from my ebook, which you can download here. And I also explain the power of collections in this article in my FREE challenge; 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY. The idea is to convey a certain look or vibe to your shoppers through each collection.
For example, the scarf and broach vendors may decide to work on a jewel tone collection using rich teals and purples. The scarf designer would choose a couple of yarns to work within the deep tones while the broach designer would choose teal and purple stones/jewels to use in their broaches. When displayed together at a craft fair, they make a strong impact and each item compliments the other, encouraging more sales.
SIGN UP FOR THE FREE 5-DAY CHALLENGE BELOW:
The last step will be to design the craft fair display. You don’t want one product to dominate the booth because they’re bold and large while the other gets hidden or overlooked. You have to find a balance so both vendors stay happy.
You will also have to narrow down the product you bring. You’re not getting the entire space to yourself and if there’s stock that won’t fit or products that don’t jive, both vendors have to be willing to leave some product off the craft fair table.
For example, scarves are larger and more noticeable than broaches so they may only be displayed on 3 bustforms and take up 1/3 of the table with extra stock housed under the table. That leaves the majority of table space for the broaches.
Be sure you put lots of thought into your craft fair display. This idea will only work if you can create a cohesive look with both handmade products. Otherwise you run into my #1 no-no when it comes to craft fair displays: offering too much selection.
You need to be able to keep the idea, display and message clear. You don’t want shoppers wondering why homemade jams and handmade jewelry are being sold together.
Here are a few of my favorite and most popular articles/ebooks to have your best craft fair yet:
- LAWS – LAWS FOR SELLING HANDMADE
- DISPLAY – WANT TO STAND OUT AT A CRAFT SHOW? TRY THESE DISPLAY TRICKS
- START TO FINISH GUIDE – https://www.madeurban.com/Make-More-Money-at-Craft-Fairs/
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!