Tips n' Tricks (getting your craft show on):

You better steep a tea - or brew some java - for this post, friends.
What follows is a slide show of peeks from that craft show I was in (with advice and anecdotes about how to be part of your own craft show)!
It seems this lil' nest has inspired many of you to create, or start blogs, or start entering craft shows.. all of which delights/humbles me.
To encourage you forward in your creative pursuits, I now share my own subjective advice on the matter of 'how-to' market your wares:
1. Your product/packaging:
 Once you've discovered the creations you love making... it's time to wrap those babies up and get them ready to show to the world.
The thing that sets 'handmade' apart from so much of retail is the personal touch of creative packaging.  It could be a flaming poop... but if it's wrapped all pretty.. people want it!  
Now this doesn't mean you need to laboriously cover every.single.item at your table in fancy finery... but show the effort with a few key pieces.
In my example: those wrist-warmers were SOLD OUT again this year...  and it may have helped that I took the time to paint gold strips across brown cardstock paper, wrap it with natural wool, and hang a business logo/label from each with a turquoise deer/bird decal on top.
I used a similar approach to wrapping my cozy neck cuff.cowls too.

Packaging assumes you have created a 'brand'.  I think every artisan/crafter who wants to put themselves out there, needs to have a 'calling card'.  Create your own name/logo/business card before jumping into a show.  (This doesn't mean you have to immediately create a stellar business franchise with all the bells and whistles... just get a basic set up going by which people can contact you).

2. You're packed and ready to show:
 So now that your product is tagged and tucked away for the show... lets talk about 'what to pack'.
I love using old suitcases for the dual purpose of transport/display of my creations. They are the perfect container with a built-in 'backdrop' for showing off your wares in a funky way.

I then have a bin crammed full of packaging/set-up supplies: business cards. labels. tape. pens. wool/twine. paper. gift bags/tissue paper. scissors. nails. jewellery pliers. calculator. etc!  (Just try to think of every 'tool' you may have used during your creating process/packaging stage... in case you need to do a quick fix during the craft show).

3. Displaying your creations:
 This is always a challenge for me.  Getting all my gear to sit pretty for the show.  This specific craft fair provides a table for each vendor... the trick is maximizing that space (and any other square inch I can find nearby.. hence, the above chair/wall/bar inclusion!).

Create a theme to guide your decor.  Pick backdrops/colours/containers that all tie in with your overall appearance.  You don't want these elements to distract people from your actual product - so make sure they play a supporting role.

In my case, I stick with the palette/theme of my blog here:  everything is turquoise/browns and lace/doily themes.  (If you look at the above picture.. you can probably spot how these elements repeat themselves throughout my display).

Focus on layers and levels of your display table.  You'll want to group your creations into contained areas to avoid a 'helter-skelter' appearance of 'hey, I just chucked all this stuff across my table.. wanna buy something?' 
Where there's order there's clarity.
An organised space is easy on the customer's eyes.  If 'less is more'... one can nicely arrange their 'more' to appear as less!  

Choose versatile display boards for your creations.  This allows your product to be flexible, you can hang it if a wall is provided, or prop them up on tables.  
As you saw (up above), the first day of the craft fair had me using these boards in completely different set-ups than how they were used for the second day (seen here).
Having a fabric frame is great for displaying jewellery... you can push the pins through the fabric to hang them all.

To sum up this section:  displaying your creations is all about the aesthetic arrangement that makes the best impact on the viewer.  Practise setting up your table at home if you need to.
Look up online how other craft venues display their booths... there's countless examples of gorgeous arrangements out there to inspire you.

4. Show me the money!
Ok, no.. don't really.  You want to have your cash box securely tucked behind your display area.  I use a tackle box.  Yep.  It's good for what I want it to do: separate my coins/bills, hold my extra business cards, gift bags, pens, calculator. etc. 
It goes without saying that you should send a business card home with every customer, right? 
Yes, that.  
I also stamped a feather on my brown paper gift bags... as a final touch.
Speaking of money - I almost forgot: make sure to clearly mark the prices on all your items!
Not every vendor does this... but I think most people are more likely to buy something when they see what the price is (vs. the 'embarrassment' of asking the price and then having to decline the purchase).  It's a pet-peeve of mine to have to repeatedly ask a vendor "how much is this".. "and this".. "oh, and this??".
So for my sake, price yer dang wares already!  Ha.

... I think that hopefully covers the basics (?)... oh, but one more thing:

Snapped by my sweet pal Rae of Blackbird Studio
5. The smiles are free:
 Some of us are outgoing/extroverts.... some of us are withdrawn/introverts... and heck, some of us (like moi) are a confused mash-up of both!  Regardless, no matter who you are, if you're going to run a craft table that expects to attract human souls... show a little kindness.  It's called a smile.  A simple "Hello, how are you?"  "Let me know if I can answer any questions"  "How old is your baby.. can I squish 'em?!" .... that kind of deal.

I've been to a number of craft shows... and often as I see the vendor brooding in the backdrop I wonder ("sheeesh, would it kill you to smile?")I know some people just own a serious face (despite feeling content/happy/elated)... I even married that guy.  But I think it goes far to show people you're glad to have them at your table. So, grab a mirror and practise! ;o)

Hmmmm, ok, I think that's my two-cents-worth gone and spent.

I hope some of these points were helpful to any of you creative souls!
Do any other vendors out there want to share their input?

I'd love to hear feedback - even from a 'customers' viewpoint - about what you think makes for a winning craft table.

Thanks for enduring this massive post today lovelies.
Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


  1. You are the cutest Mel! I really want to make 2013 my craftiest year ever. I've just started making necklaces and really love it and am having fun! Maybe I'll be joining you next year for the Focus Fair...ooooh, that thought excites me so very much!!

  2. Can you just come decorate my table? lol. I just really suck at design and the like. Your stuff looks amazing! Saturday will be my 6th craft show I've ever done. I guess I'll practice at home a bit with my table layout.

  3. hehe.. you can hire my services for the low price of unicorn rainbow cookies!! ;o) I'm sure you'll do a great job - best of luck with it!

  4. Oooh Carly that sounds like two awesome 'goals' for the New Year... you'd be a great fit at the Focus Fair I'm sure. Are you starting to get that jewellery making 'syndrome' of "my fingers feel like sausages!"... or, is that just me? ;o)
    P.S.. I wished you could have seen this one 'Carly' necklace I made/sold.. it was an antique bronze chain with turquoise stones, and an asymmetrical longer chain pendant of turquoise ...anywho, it was unique, and made me think of you.

    That is all.

  5. I love this post. I always have a heck of a time displaying my wares. I know it makes all the difference because I know what tables I'm attracted to at a show, but somehow I can translate what I like into a display. At my little show on the weekend, we all had so little room that I just grabbed a piece of the bar and laid my stuff out. (Luckily my stuff spoke for itself in this case.. but I know in a large show setting, I would need to do a heck of a lot more than that.)

    I love the point about pricing. I HATE asking for prices. Plus, I think having pricing adds something extra to your table as well. You can have a little fun with it and do something graphically pleasing.

    The other point I thought was great was about smiling. I don't generally approach tables when someone looks miserable.

    Great post, Mel.

    P.S. I got my package todayyyyyy!!! Thanks so much for the added bonuses. I can't wait to get the birdie on my wall and the mushrooms on my fridge. You're way too sweet. Love you!

  6. i always appreciate the thought that goes in to your packaging and displays, mel. I think i have a bit of a different approach to some of your tips though...
    on the point about organization and order-bringing-clarity...i'm not suggesting chaos, but, i find i easily walk by a table/booth if i feel like i can see it all in one glance and nothing catches my eye. but a well-designed table that has a bit of "organized chaos" to it, draws me in, and makes me feel like i need to get closer and spend some time there in order to really see what they've got to offer.
    and when it comes to pricing...well...usually i clearly price things. but at my last show, i experimented with not pricing anything...and i don't think it hurt my sales at all. i haven't found a way of creating price tags that fits with the feel of my work without it looking cluttered, so i just decided to see what would happen if i didn't do it at all. i would say 1/3 of the people asked about pricing, but the rest just purchased without even inquiring - which was encouraging to me, suggesting they were buying solely based on their love for the piece, not because of the price tag.
    i think different strategies work for different types of work too...anyway...i thought this was a fun post and figured i'd throw my two cents in there too :)
    you're a beauty. xo.

  7. rae, love you. Thanks for bringing the 'balance' - as usual - on any subject ;o) I think you master the look of 'organized chaos' and it's called "whimsy"! I'm still going to dig my heels in on the issue of 'pricing'...hehe, tho it would be the ideal customer who buys out of pleasure - regardless of price (!). Flexible interpretation/application of these points is recommended for sure, we're not all cookie-cut outs. Thanks for sharing: I always love your two cents (they're often worth $200). xx

  8. You and I are cut from the same cloth it seems then eh? Scaaaaaarrry! lol
    Woooohoo, glad you got it (about time Mr. Mailman!).. hope it keeps your cute cheeks cozy (the ones on your face!). Merry merry!! xx

  9. Your post comes at the perfect time for me, I am going to be setting up my very first booth in February. I am super nervous about it. I am a silversmith so I will maybe only have 30 pieces, do you have any suggestions for making it look as full as possible? I Love your style, very similar to what I like. Check out my shop on etsy maybe seeing my stuff might give you some ideas for me.
    By the way I really enjoy reading your blog, keep up the good work.


  10. Y'know, sometimes I read this blog and I walk away going, "Man, how are they so AWESOME?" Maybe I'll never know...

  11. Ha! You so funny.

  12. Nice post Mel! Your table looked fantastic! ♥

  13. Hey, thanks so much Andrea.. still wished you were there! xx

  14. Great tips, yours is the best blog Iv'e read while I get ready for my first Craft Fair as an organiser. I was looking into how to display price so that its visible without the item being handled. Thanks, think I will have to keep trying things out.


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