Craft Fair Preparation

This time last year, I was a complete novice at craft fairs. I’d hardly ever attended any, let alone displayed my handiwork at one. But the last few months have taken care of that situation and given me a great deal of insight into what makes a good craft and art fair booth.

While I know I still have a lot to learn, here are a few of the highlights:

  • Customers love to touch and handle items, examining them up-close to see how they work. Many craft fair products are unusual or unique in design, meaning people desire close inspection even more. Displays that allow for easy examination are important.
  • As any supermarket manager can tell you, items at eye-level will sell better. I have two sets of 5-inch bed-risers that go under the legs of my tables, bringing my items closer to eye-level, and it makes a huge difference! Keep in mind, however, that if your target market is children rather than adults, your target eye level is much lower.
  • For table covering, solid colors work better than prints. Because many craft or art fair products require close examination to see how they work and what they do, it’s important to give shoppers a reason to come close for a bit of inspection. However, items have a tendency to get lost when displayed on patterned tablecloths, and people strolling past a booth that’s full of bright background patterns may never even notice the wares being sold there.
  • It’s important to have a booth that’s full of items yet not overflowing. No one likes shopping in a store with bare shelves, and no one enjoys spending time in a craft fair booth with barely any items. That said, it’s a fine balance between too little and too much. In designing my booth, I strive to provide several items on several levels at each point along the tables, such that multiple people can browse my booth at the same time and still have plenty to look at.

In addition to preparing all the wares that will be (hopefully) sold at a craft festival and designing the booth in which to display them, there are hundreds of “little items” that help to make the day much less stressful. Here are a few items that are on my standard “Craft Fair Packing List”:

  • Tablecloths
  • Colorful fabric swatches
  • Boxes that can be put under the tablecloths to create different levels for added interest (I frequently pack in these boxes, which saves a bit on space)
  • Business card holder and business cards
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Foldable mirrors to allow people to see themselves when trying on my jewelry
  • Music stand – I use a collapsible music stand to display my shop sign.
  • Tissue paper
  • Paper bags with my logo on the front (great advertisement!)
  • Both packing tape and all-purpose tape
  • Business Cards
  • Mailing List sign-up sheet
  • Order form for personalized orders
  • Extra item tags
  • Paper clips
  • Chairs
  • Water bottles
  • Snacks
  • Packed meals for however many meals will be needed (saves money on food cost)
  • Plenty of change, both coins and bills
  • First aid items: band aids, pain killer, etc.
  • Tools: screwdriver, hammer, pliers, twist ties (you never know what you or your fellow crafters will need)
  • Pens & pencils
  • Scissors
  • Calculators
  • Plastic bag for trash

If you’re a crafter or artist, what’s on your craft fair packing list? If you’re a craft fair shopper, what do you think makes a booth memorable or particularly appealing? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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