Craft Show Selling in a Bad Economy
By Marie Cauley
Those of us who sell crafts and handmade items at craft shows know the dilemma: you work hard at what you do, putting time, effort, and money into your finished products; you reserve tables at shows and bazaars, often paying several months before the actual show to make sure you have a spot; you get all excited about selling your creations and making some money for the holidays.
But for the past few years, the economy has been tough. People tend to cut out “non-essential” items, like jewelry, artwork, and other decorative items. They stroll around, look at what you have to offer, praise your work…then walk away without buying anything. They don’t buy unless they find something they consider a bargain, and even when you lower your prices it’s not good enough.
I sell my handmade jewelry at craft shows, and many of my friends and fellow vendors have been frustrated – not only with the lack of sales (where sometimes you don’t even make back your table fee) but also with the fact that so many people don’t realize all of the hard work that goes into what we do, and that we can’t sell things at dollar store prices or else we’d lose money.
If you are a craft show vendor as well, you can relate. And you would also like to find ways to improve your sales. Here are some tips I discovered to increase chances of profit:
- Don’t just sit behind your table all day. Stand up, walk around a little bit, and make eye contact with your potential customers. Address them with a “Hello” or “Good morning” to show that you are friendly and approachable.
- Have items of various prices available, and don’t group everything according to price. Mix them in, so people have to look at your entire display. Chances are something will catch their eye, and if they love it they might decide to treat themselves and not worry about the price.
- Take a walk through the show and see who’s selling well. Watch what they do to get customers interested in their products.
- Dress casually, but still look presentable. People tend to shy away from vendors who are in T-shirts and sweatpants or look like they just rolled out of bed.
- At Favecrafts, vendors recommend putting more thought into your display. Don’t just lay everything out flat on the table. Use jewelry stands, mini shelves, and peg boards to place items at different levels. Adding many dimensions to your display will draw the eye in.
- Setting up a mailing list is a good idea, according to Entrepreneur. Sign up anyone who buys something from you, and also those who seem interested but don’t buy that day. You’ll be able to email them about future shows, so they can come see you again and buy at a later date.
- Have professional looking business cards. Include them with a purchase, and hand them out to others who are looking over your table. You never know when someone will call or email you because they need a gift for someone.
Some shows will go better than others, so be prepared for any situation. Hopefully these tips will help you have a more profitable holiday selling season!
Marie Cauley is a freelance writer who also pens inspirational romance with hopes of soon being published. Her interests include health, music, dance, spinning, and Pilates. You can also check out her blog http://www.mtclosetowin.blogspot.com where she writes about faith, fitness…and the connection between them.