Why you’re Looking at your Craft Show Setup Wrong

While working on your craft show setup, you likely stand at the front, placing your items and creating your well thought out, tried and true display. Once you’re done, you stand back as though you’re going to snap a picture, focusing on the most important subject of the show: your booth 😉


But you shouldn’t just be looking at your craft show setup from the perspective of a vendor. You should also be considering the perspective of the shopper, the event organizer and a sales person to be sure you’re getting the most out of each craft show.


Setup can be a hectic time so it’s always a good idea to be as prepared as possible heading into a show; all items tagged and organized, float counted and display planned. Create a mock craft show setup at home so items come right out of their containers and into their designated space.


This will give you the extra time needed to do little tweaks to your craft show setup based on the venue’s space and the points mentioned below. Here are the 3 different perspectives to view your booth from and what to look for.



Most handmade vendors ignore these 3 important perspectives when it comes to their craft show setup. Find out what they are and how to fix any issues.


Consider how shoppers will walk the venue. Head towards the entrance, turn around and imagine you’re a customer approaching your booth from several feet away. What do you see? If it’s nothing, add more stock or displays to the top, front or sides of your craft show setup. 


Unless you’re at the end of an aisle, most shoppers won’t approach your booth or table head on so be sure you’ve got something to catch their eye from a few feet away. Repeat this as a customer approaching your booth from the other direction. Also keep in mind if it’s really busy, they may not see much through the crowds. Raising your display can help shoppers see your products from near and far. 


You should be placing your show stopping pieces in the spot shoppers notice first, keeping the main flow of traffic in mind. Your craft show setup should also be using at least one eye-catching technique, (as explained in my 5 days to a standout display challenge and in this article) so shoppers immediately notice your space and get an overall vibe.


What I mean by vibe is; are your ideal customers immediately attracted to your space based on its style?


I’m personally attracted to clean lines, modern touches and soft colors. If a craft show setup is lacking those elements or has an opposite style, I may not notice them or decide not to stop thinking they’re not a fit for me. If I notice a booth using those elements, I’ll decide right away it’s a booth I need to stop at, even before I know exactly what they sell.


It’s all about creating your own little store in the middle of a craft show.


Think about when you go shopping in a new area. Let’s say you’re shopping for new clothes and you walk past several clothing stores; what makes you decide to go in some and skip others?


You pick up on the vibe of a store before you even step foot in it.


Craft show shoppers do the same as soon as they notice your booth from across the room. You either have “it” or you don’t. “It” being what they’re attracted to.


Consider this as well: have you ever noticed something you like in a store window but as you look at the rest of the display or get a glimpse inside the store you think; maybe you don’t like it so much after all?


I definitely have. A top will catch my eye and then I realize the store’s vibe is either too young, too mature or too something for me.


That’s the reason you have to think beyond your products. Your display holds so much weight and can alter the message you’re trying to send.


Join my free 5 day challenge to learn ALL the areas of your display you should be thinking about and how to carry your product’s message throughout.


If you have a full booth, walk into it and see how it feels. Does it feel cramped or crowded with just you in there? Consider placing some stock behind your table to give more elbowroom. Keep an eye on customers as they shop so you can pull out options from behind the table if they seem interested in an item you have more stock in. As product sells down, restock from behind your table.


If you have a craft show table, be sure it doesn’t feel crowded with too much stock or display fixtures, making it hard to shop.


One of the most common mistakes craft show vendors make is trying to offer too much selection. Think about how many different types of products you sell and if they all have one main message.


If someone who knits offers scarves, mittens, hats, blankets, cup cozies, dish cloths and doggie sweaters, they’re selling under a few different categories (accessories, home and pet). It gets pretty hard to create a strong message that way.


If they narrow their products to one category, let’s say accessories, they can then choose a message people shopping for winter accessories care about. It may be offering big chunky knits, a certain grouping of colors or super warm items without the itch of wool.


Need a little help with your message? My 5 day challenge will also help with that. I know! Amazing isn’t it 😉



On the other hand; if your booth feels a little empty and cold, add some more stock or display elements. How much stock to bring is the million dollar question when it comes to craft shows.


For a detailed explanation of calculating how much stock to bring and what to do if you happen to have a lot of stock leftover, download my ebook MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS or download the free sample chapter to see how much valuable info is in just one chapter.



Get right up to your table. What will the customer see from this angle? Empty boxes, tissue paper and your lunch for the day? Be sure everything you don’t want the customer to see is tucked under your table in a safe spot – this includes your cash box. Don’t forget to check the front of your table to be sure your tablecloth goes right down to the floor so those items under the table can’t be seen.


And don’t forget this step to ensure you have a way to contact shoppers after the event. If you’re simply handing out business cards, over 80% of them will end up in the trash (here’s a simple trick to ensure shoppers hang onto your info) and you’re leaving a second contact in their hands.




Are you within your allotted space? If the organizers allowed everyone’s craft show setup to take an extra foot, they’d run into a bit of a problem with aisle space. Be sure your display is contained within your booth and there are no tripping hazards or tippy displays that could easily fall over and hurt someone.


Organizers want the entire event space to look full and diverse. Although you don’t want your booth spilling out into the aisle with stock, be sure you’re not looking too empty.


Does your booth look like it’s the end of the event and you’re getting close to selling out? Pull some more stock out of your bins and beef it up a little. Be sure you’re adding variety to the event as well.


Craft shows will choose applicants based on the category they sell under; they don’t want too many vendors selling the same items. If you stated on your application that you sell stuffed crochet animals but have decided last minute to put all your knitted scarves on display instead, organizers won’t be pleased.


Be sure your booth is clearly marked with your branding. Organizers have likely boasted which vendors are going to be at the event and have maybe even given sneak peeks of the products you’ll be bringing. Do you have signage that helps shoppers find you by name?


If there’s an item the organizers have shared on their social media or website, consider putting that front and centre in your craft show setup. Shoppers may be specifically looking for it and even if they’re not, it just may entice them to stop as it triggers a reminder that they’ve seen it before.


For more rules you should be following if you want to be invited back to the event, check out this article.



Before you can sell anything, you need to get the shoppers to stop. So look for opportunities to grab shoppers’ attention and draw them into your booth. This may be a conversation piece, an eye-catching display or your smiling face next to your most popular product. Consider the shopper’s perspective mentioned above as to how traffic flows and create your Zone 1; a display at eye-level (or slightly above to be seen over the crowds) that houses your hottest pieces.


Each element in your craft show setup should be aimed at your ideal customer so there’s no question as to whether they’ll notice your space and stop or not. From your products and their main message to the overall vibe of your setup, everything should be working together.


I’ll walk you through exactly how to do that in my FREE 5 DAY CHALLENGE. Join below if you’re interested!

Think creatively and determine how you can use your surroundings to your advantage. Have a walk around the show to see what vendors in other categories are displaying. Since they’re not your direct competition, see if there’s a complimentary product that would pair well together.


For example; if you’re selling dips and salsa and there’s a booth down the way selling homemade crackers, that’s a perfect product to compliment yours. When you see a shopper with a bag from Crackers R Us, use that as a cue to suggest a few of your dips that would go great with them.


This works with more than just the food category:

  • Accessories – That’s a cozy scarf you just bought! Check out these awesome slippers I make in the same color.
  • Jewelry – I love T-Shirts R Us! What did you pick up from them? I’ve had my eye on that t-shirt too; I’ve been thinking this necklace of mine would go great with it.
  • Stationery – Who are the soaps for? A gift for your mom? This is the card I’m giving to my mom this Mother’s day.
  • Childrens – Cute stuffed sock monkey! Do you have a little one? A girl? These clips for little girls are our best seller.

You get the idea;)


Now consider how you can set your business apart from vendors who are selling in the same category as you. If you notice other jewelry vendors tend to have a lot of delicate, gold necklaces displayed, you may want to consider moving your silver statement necklaces into the limelight. 


You don’t want customers arriving at your booth and making the decision to keep on walking because they’ve already seen 3 other vendors with similar items. Figure out what will make you stand out among the other vendors in the same category as you and move those pieces into your zone 1.


Once you drawn shoppers in, it’s time to sell to them. If you need tips when it comes to perfecting your sales pitch, download MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS. I dedicate an entire chapter to perfecting your sales skills and I promise, I don’t encourage you to use any techniques that will make you or your shoppers uncomfortable. It’s all about uncovering what works for you and implementing elements that make selling feel natural (and maybe even enjoyable).


You may also be interested in 5 ways you may be using craft shows wrong.


Let me know if you’re going to make any changes to your display or if you have any questions!

The Wrong Way to Set Up your Craft Show Display

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  1. Pingback: How to Apply to Craft Shows like a PRO - Made urban
  2. Christina M. Collier says:

    I have read all your articles and find them all very informative and interesting. I have one major question regarding raising the height of my tables or merchandise. I need to be able to carry and handle my tables all by myself and hopefully in one trip with a rolling platform cart. I have purchased two different tables and have returned them both. Having troubles finding a sturdy table that does not wobble. My first was “Mainstays” fold in half card tables and not sure how to raise the height, except for PVC pipe, but wobbles. The second table was a “Lifetime” brand fold in half 2ft x 4ft table that was also wobbly. Both tables the center bracket does not want to keep the tables completely out. Any suggestions? Would appreciate it! Chris.

  3. Kellye Hall says:

    I buy the six foot tables from sams. they do not fold but are light weight enough to pick up alone. You may consider renting tables from the organizer

  4. Cindy hopkins says:

    I sell quilts, afghans, crocheted items, pillows and hand embroidery. also small angel ornaments. trying to make a small 10 x 10 space is a real challenge, as there is not a way to display large quilts (too heavy) other than on the table. suggestions??

    1. Made Urban says:

      Hi Cindy, thanks for reading! You may consider using a rollbar and draping a quilt over that so shoppers can see the design, and then keep the rest folded on the table.

      Alternatively, you could keep all quilts folded on the table and print some photos of your quilts to frame and display on the table so shoppers can see the design without having to unfold the quilt.

      I hope that helps!


  5. Cindy hopkins says:

    well I have been reading all your suggestions and tried one this last weekend, don’t over load the tables!! it worked, had the best show ever.
    still working on the quilts though. thank you for all the great tips.

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