In this era of mass production and mass consumption, it’s something of a radical statement to pick up a thimble and thread, crochet hook or bead wire and engage in crafting on your own terms. More and more people are taking this stand and nothing evidences this change in the status quo more than the revival of craft fairs and handmade markets. Long typecast as old fashioned and grandmotherly, craft fairs are now lively gathering spots in hipster and art cultures. Gone are the dried flowers and gift baskets; here to stay are the knitting needles and glue guns. Although the people behind the craft fair revival are largely in their 20s and 30s, their audience reaches beyond those generations.
Craft fairs and handmade markets are an introduction to the retail market for many creative business owners. With a “meet, greet and compete” spirit, they’re not just about selling but about congregating with other creative minds to exchange ideas and techniques. Handmade markets are a great arena for new sellers to test their prices and good in the market, get feedback and reactions from clients and peers, acquire ideas for products and booth displays, and practice customer service skills.
Remember that most people attending craft fairs aren’t looking for something specific. they’re searching for something that catches their eye and speaks to them – something cute, cool or unusual. You will need to prime your goods to be picked, so spruce up your table and make it enticing and approachable.
Be constantly on the look out for display craft ideas. Your best source for unusual or particularly unique ideas may be your local second hand shop or hardware store. Check out every arts and craft show that you attend. It always amazes me the amount of creativity that crafters and artisans have. And while you are not out to “steal” their display craft ideas, there is often something that you can take and modify to suit your own product display.
Keep in mind that your potential customers don’t want to have to work to see your work. Unless you have very large products, keep your displays off the floor and closer to eye level. When your customer enters the booth they should be able to easily see your best sellers. If you are using tables then add some height at the back and layer down towards the front.
Think about the best way to display craft, particularly your own product. And then determine what you need. Do you need back or side walls? Do any or all of the walls have to be solid? Would a backdrop made from fabric or pipe and drape work? Do you need tables or is shelving more appropriate?
Try not to clutter, particularly near the front of your booth. Keep the entrance open and clean. Make it easy for your customer to enter, walk around and exit your booth. Your traffic flow is very important as most people won’t enter a booth if they feel they will be “trapped” and unable to escape easily.
Lastly, since customer shop better when there is an ample selection of goods, whenever someone purchases an tiem, you should replenish the stock. You NEVER was your table to run out of inventory.