I like to read the Etsy forums every now and then; surf through different threads, learn from my fellow etsians and even share my own ideas from time to time. One thing I see quite often are the threads regarding craft fairs, art shows, bazaars, etc.
Many etsians ask for advice on how to deal with being a first-timer at these events. What do I need? How do I handle promotion? etc etc.
Preparing for events is a lot of work; especially if it’s your first time and you’re completely clueless! My first time was about 2 years ago and yes, I was less than prepared compared to right now. I have to admit that I’m still nowhere near an expert on this, but I’ve done quite a couple of events and have gathered a few tips which I’ll share with you ❤
In my opinion, the most important part of these events is attracting your niche market. For example, my shop mainly attracts people between the ages of 18 – 30. My clients for the most part are into art, music, anything out of the ordinary, street art such a graffitti, etc. That’s part of my niche market.
So, when I participate in these events I try to showcase my items in a way that’ll attract my niche market. I place art prints, stickers and promo cards on my table, I hang the coolest shirts right in front of the booth or depending where I’m selling. There was even one time when I hung my totes from a tree. YES! THAT HAPPENED!
Apart from making your booth niche market-friendly, also pay attention to the possible future “not sure if I’m ready to buy just yet” customers. Many people are hesitant at first; they might see something that catches their eye but will tell you “I’ll come back later”. Others are far from your niche market; they may not even be a fan of your product, yet they’re right there in your booth. Give them a business card. Give them a treat, a freebie, a sample of your product. It all depends on what you sell. I like to give stickers for free sometimes. Some people get so curious over them that they ask to see more of my prints. One sticker can turn into a sale in matter of seconds. So do what you need to do to attract your market!
Selling beauty products? Soap? Lotions? Give out samples.
Selling candles? Light ’em up! Attract buyers with your awesome scents. 😉
Right after you catch their attention, your next step will be building a network. Make friends with your clients; give them your card. Ask for THEIR card. Who knows? You might need their services in the future. It won’t always be about making sales. In fact, you could end up with a great opportunity on your hands by simply networking instead of pressuring your visitors to buy. I had a woman visit my booth one time who did not want to buy anything from me. Instead, she just asked for my business card because she was the owner of a local pub and wanted some custom shirts made for her employees.
You never know who might show up. Stay friendly!
Make sure your business card includes social networks. It’s not all about phone numbers and emails anymore. Three of the most popular places used for networking are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Join them, update regularly, upload photos, promote your shop, link your accounts for cross-promotion. This means you can update your twitter and have it show up on Facebook aswell. Or upload a photo on Instagram and send it over to twitter, FB, tumblr, or any other network you have linked!
As you keep working craft fairs and selling events you won’t only be doing business, but also creating a fan base for your shop, and these social platforms will help them keep up to date with you and your products.
So you have your products, your way of promoting, networking and setting up your booth. Make sure to bring snacks, water, petty cash, a portable card reader if you can, bags (eco-friendly is always a plus), sun lotion if you’re selling outdoors, and HAVE FUN!