Planning Craft Shows Near You – Craft Show Frenzy

Planning Craft Shows, typically, culminates to a single day of sales.  All the planning, worrying, and excitement comes crashing together, it can quickly become chaos if planning was not a priority.  It’s another weekend morning at the Craft Show.  Vendors & Crafters are pouring in the door with their tables, chairs and wares.  The unique gifts for sale range from wood crafts, homemade candles, fun painted cups and glasses, even home made foods!  You can even get the latest info on make-up, jewelry and wine!  Sometimes it seems crazy to wake up before dawn to hit the road just to set up a booth, put on our best smile and hope someone comes by and likes what we have.

I do enjoy planning craft shows.  Being able to help my friends promote their small businesses is very fulfilling.  If you have never attended a craft show or similar event, you may not be aware how much work goes into planning craft shows.  But the rewards are abundant!

Making A Craft Show Fun

planning craft shows

Why do we do this to ourselves?  We are small business owners just trying to expand our budgets, realize dreams, but most of all it is for social networking.  Making friends and having fun!  That is what life is about.  So how do we make a craft show fun all day long?  It starts with  planning craft shows.  Let me tell you the fun ways.

#1 – We Network

Networking with other vendors and just getting to know one another helps us get used to getting to know others.  I  know many vendors and crafters who once they get to know you become great friends.  In fact, many times they are a wealth of information that benefits your business too.  By planning craft shows we continue to bring exposure to new businesses.  With better planning craft shows brings new customers to all the small businesses.

#2 – We Get Involved

The best way to get customers to stop at your booth and at least look at your merchandise or business is Smile.  It is so easy to do.  Get up off your chair and Smile.  Want them to stay longer?  Tell them Hello.  Start a conversation, get to know who it is that is taking time out of their day to come see you.  If you are in direct sales where it is key to build a team, you could be talking to a future teammate.  They may even know more people who are looking to do what you do.  Do not ever judge anyone that stops or doesn’t stop.  Could be they think you “just” want to sell them something.

#3 – Great Variety

I have been coordinating various types of events for a year, but have assisted with many more.  One important factor to planning craft shows is to keep the ratio to no more than 50% Direct Sales companies to 50% Crafters.  You always want more crafters because that is what the people want to shop.  With many friends in direct sales companies and many of them are duplicated several times over.  Having to choose one friend over the other is not a fun decision while doing craft show planning.  Typically we usually go with who contacts me first and gets payment in.

Also people do not wish to see 8 out of 50 booths being leggings.  Or 5 different jewelry booths.  While planning craft shows, you need to watch your variety on crafters too.  It works best to make a list before planning on what booths you would like to see at your event, then seek out those crafters and vendors.

Planning Craft Shows

  1. Make sure the layout is conducive to the space.

  2. Try to keep booths no smaller than 8×6.  Most have 6 foot tables and want room to stand behind and come out in between the tables to interact with customers.

  3. If there are obstacles such as columns in the middle of the floor, make note of them and work around them with booths.  I usually make those for people with rack type displays.

  4. If you have any clothing vendors, try to keep them to the corners as a courtesy to the other booths.

  5. Do not let similar items be near each other.  It shows the variety of the event better.  By planning the layout and assigned booth spaces, it makes it easier when you start setting up.

  6. Advertise!  Do not limit your advertising.  Budget for it.  Be sure to locate multiple area newspapers.  Have plenty of signs on holders you can place around town to drive traffic to the event.  At minimum include the basics of Where, When, Time, and # of vendors expected.  If you have a couple popular crafters, go ahead and highlight them in the newspaper ad.  You can even contact radio stations to see if they have a community event time.

  7. Vista Print is a great place to get flyers printed and made.  You can usually get a great discount if you design your flyer and then leave it sit for a day or two.  It usually gets you an email with additional or higher discounts.  Keep the flyers simple and easy to read but fun.

  8. Create a Facebook Event to allow the crafters and vendors the opportunity to post pictures of what they will be offering for sale at the event.  As host of the event, you will want to like and comment on each one to show your support.

  9. Plan to arrive to your event location a minimum of 1 hour before the vendors arrive to set up.  You need to be organized to have a fun craft show.

  10. Allow your vendors to start setting up no less than 1 hour before the event.  Give them 2 hours if possible.  Some will have lots of inventory to display.  It makes for more relaxed and happy vendors.  Also have a “latest to arrive time”.  The last thing anyone wants to see it a vendor setting up while customers are coming in the door.  If there are vendors not in the door WITH their items, they lose the spot.  No refunds.

  11. Smile.  Whether you want to or not.  Even if you are extremely stressed.  You are the Store Manager and if you are having a great time, so will your vendors and ultimately the customers.

  12. Make an application for the vendors to complete and include some of these tips.  Especially number 10.  Check into your state’s guidelines as well for any tax forms that may be required.

  13. Send out a quick reminder email with essential information on it to your vendors 1-2 days prior to the event.  Be sure to include directions, instructions for which door to bring their items in, whether food will be onsite, set up time-frame.  You will also want to make sure everyone understands there are to be no early take-downs.  Customers will think the show is over and not come in to shop.  You don’t like it when you are at a store, keep the same courtesy here.

In conclusion, the most important thing about Craft Shows is to do your marketing. Do not rely on the vendors to invite their friends, the warm market is not the best market. They may be bodies in the door, but they are not the buying bodies. You want to utilize Attraction Marketing. Get the people who are looking for the vendors and merchandise in the door. To do that you need to get creative. Flyers are old school. You need to be online getting the word out so people will be searching for Craft Shows in your area. It’s the old saying from a great movie: “Build it and They will come”.