Even after several years of selling at craft shows, I find that there is always an opportunity to learn something new. Right now I’m just an attendee (my friend sells my pottery for me), but I always come away with a new display or booth arrangement idea!
Click here for a free downloadable Art & Craft Show Supplies Checklist (PDF file).
Art & Craft Show Tips
Along with the checklist, I am listing below some recommendations for selling at art and craft shows. Based on my experience, following these tips make the show less stressful. Whether you are new to art and craft shows or a veteran seller, I hope that you will find these helpful!
- Read each show’s rules and regulations before you mail the fee.
- Load your van or truck the night before.
- Plan to arrive 10 – 15 minutes prior to set-up time if at all possible. This will prevent a traffic jam from making you too late, or help you deal with any unforeseen problems with booth assignment, etc.
- Unless it is REALLY slow, stay standing and smile at show attendees as they walk past. Say “hello” or “good morning” – give them an excuse to pause and look at what you are offering in your booth. (A vendor sitting in the back corner of a booth reading a book and ignoring passers-by will probably not make many sales.)
- Take notes on customers’ favorite products and special requests.
- If you have an opportunity, take a slow walk around the show, and take notes on how to make your booth better next time. Talk to experienced vendors and pick their brains, too. Most will be happy to share their knowledge!
- Keep your booth manned at all times. If you are by yourself and need a short break, put up a sign letting customers know when you will be back. (You may want to have a show organizer approve this beforehand.) Or, ask a booth neighbor to watch for customers and let them know that you will be right back.
- Be sure to open your booth on time, and do not close or start packing up before the scheduled time. This will keep you on good terms with the show’s organizers. If you have a special or surprise circumstance, let an organize know as soon as possible. (I overheard one organizer saying that a vendor would not be welcome at the next show because of lateness without notification.)
- When the show closes for the evening, take the cash, checks, credit card receipts, and your most valuable merchandise with you. I’ve always left the coins and other merchandise behind (covered with tablecloths) with no problems – but you may want to evaluate the venue’s safety before doing this.
Art & Craft Show Checklist
Below is a list of items that I take to shows. I’ve left blanks in the free downloadable Art & Craft Show Supplies Checklist (PDF file) so that you can customize it to your particular needs. For display and booth arrangement ideas, please see these posts:
Indoor & Outdoor Shows
Furniture & Displays
- Folding Tables
- Folding Chairs
- Tablecloths, Table Skirting, Safety Pins
- Extra tablecloths (to cover booth when closed)
- Area Rug
- Display Furniture
- Display Accessories
- Tissue, Bubble Wrap and/or Newspaper
- Paper or Plastic Bags (Consider purchasing a custom rubber stamp for your business to stamp on paper bags and receipts.)
Order & Tax Processing
- Credit card processor (Consider the Square or PayPal SmartPhone device)
- CC receipt blanks (if not using online processor)
- Calculator, Cash Box with Change, and Sales Receipt Books OR Cash Register
- Sales Tax License #
- Business License
- Marketing/Rack Cards
- Business Cards
- Coupons to Your Web Site
- Shop Name Signs
- Credit Cards Accepted
- Informational Signs
- Lamps, String of Lights, etc.
- Extension Cords
Tools & Supplies
- Tools and supplies for creating onsite
- Office Supplies: Tape, Stapler, Pens, etc.
- Notebook or Pad of Paper for Notes
Transportation, Set Up, Breakdown
- Hand Cart/Truck
- Furniture Pads
- Strong Helpers
- Cooler with Drinks and Food
- Comfortable Clothes (dress in layers)
- Comfortable Shoes
- Light Jacket or Sweater (air conditioning)
- Support Cushion for Chair
- Waterproof Show Tent or Umbrella
- Weights for Tent or Umbrella
- Weights for Tablecloths
- Waterproof Tablecloths (to cover if it rains)
- Coat and Hot Drinks (cold weather)
- Personal Fan and Extra Water (hot weather)
Do you have recommendations for selling at art and craft shows? Please comment below!
Copyright 2013 Kathryn Depew