This past weekend was my first real craft show! I prepared by researching the heck out of booth displays, selling tips and pricing, but the real lessons came from the actual experience. Here are some helpful craft show tips that I learned first-hand.
1. Don't be afraid to tell people about it.
For some reason I've always kept my lettering secret from friends and family. I'd rather tell random people on the internet. I don't know why I was scared to tell those closest to me. I received so much love and support — I can't believe I waited this long!
2. Put your website on everything.
...including all of your social media posts! Duh. For some reason this obvious tip slipped my mind when I was promoting the show on social media. People who have no idea what your business is (like friends and family you keep in the dark) will want to see what you do.
3. Share teaser pictures of what you'll be selling.
I lettered a little sign with the show details and took a picture to promote it. Cute idea, right? But in the end, everybody really just wanted to see my products so I had to scramble to style a few photos worthy of sharing.
4. Practice setting up your booth a few times at home.
Not exactly a lesson learned, but I'm so glad I did this. I could see what worked and what didn't ahead of time. Had I not done a trial run, I might not have thought to bring extra things like scissors and tape to the show.
5. Think of how others will perceive your setup.
I had two columns showing off my cards: everyday and holiday. In the baskets beneath were sets of four cards. Each set of four contained the same four designs. But to those who came by, it looked like a set of four would include the four different cards they were seeing in each column. It seems so obvious now!
6. Don't make your display too tall.
I bought a set of shutters to show off my cards. In my trial run, I had enough room to the side of my shutters (above my little Charlie Brown tree) where I could stand and talk to people. My Plan B was to stand beside the table. Turns out my actual booth table was a bit narrower than I had anticipated and the tables were really close together. So I had to talk to people by standing on my tip-toes or peeking through the cards. Awkward.
7. Promote, promote, promote!
I started spreading the word about a week ahead of the event. While I thought this was enough time, more people would have seen the message if I'd started a week or two earlier. You may feel like you're being annoying but I've seen many marketing tips that say otherwise. Seanwes shares a great tip: It takes hearing/seeing something seven times before you're able to retain it. Seven times. So yes, it would have been annoying to email/post/tell someone about the show every day of that week, but I could have spaced things out more if I had started earlier.
Perhaps the biggest lesson is that no matter how much you prepare, there is always something to be learned because every show is different. Hopefully these tips will at least ease the nerves of any other craft show newbies out there. Good luck!