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"Our lives are a book that has already been written. The brilliance of the plan is that we are only given a chapter at a time..." ~A. Drayton Boylston

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vendor Craft Fair Tips

As I prepare to sell my handmade soap at a local craft fair at Rivier College in Nashua NH this Saturday, I find it helpful to go through a list of tips I've collected over the years.... from other crafters and just things I picked up by being a vendor at fairs and noticing neat things that other people were doing.  I try to incorporate at least a handful of creative ideas I've learned and make my space look a little different every time.  I am passing my list on here in hopes that it will help some other crafters out there.... or even some regular flea market and yard sale sellers.

For cash transactions, I usually get $25 in 1's, $25 in 5's and $50 in 10's
I use Square for credit card payments, which is a neat app you can download to any Android phone.  There is an attachment needed for swiping cards, which is sent to you for free by the company when you sign up.  The attachment plugs into the headphone jack of your phone.  I have a designer one I purchased online for $10 because I found that the free one didn't always work.  Apparently the company has made improvements to it since then.
Some people also use Propay which works similarly.
PayPal now has their own app and attachment that works the same way.

Add height to your table by using lazy susans or small book or curio shelves.  Height creates interest....and is a lot more interesting than everything laying out in rows or in containers.  You can certainly have those, but try to add some height too.
You can also add interest by putting tables (if there are two) in an L shape, using folding bookshelves for display alongside the tables, and using crates covered in fabric for display. Over-the-sink shelves work great too.
Use neutral table cloths to cover tables.... patterns and bright colors take away from the items you're selling
Use a smaller table behind your large main table for packaging and pricing. 
Keep displays pushed in front on your main table, and work behind it to process credit card payments.
As things get sold, try to resist the urge to fill in empty space.  Leaving SOME space, which will cause people to be more interested in what has sold and feel that it would obviously be worth buying.  Likewise -- if you haven't sold anything.... create a little bit of space to make it appear as if you have.
Digital frames on the table showcasing custom orders you've done and nice pictures of products makes a nice display.
Free candy -- place a bowl of hershey kisses or any type of wrapped candy in a bowl on your table to entice customers to stop by.  Great for kids whose parents are browsing, and people tend to linger longer if you are providing them something for free, since it is such a rarity these days.

Practical & Important
Don't forget to bring business cards!!!!  Try to put one in every bag for your customer.
Make sure you have a sign out in front or on top of your table which displays your company name.
Bring bags!!!!!  Nice gift style bags can be purchased in bulk, and customers always appreciate their elegance.  However, in a pinch you can always bring plastic bags from grocery stores to package items in for customers.  Definitely not as nice, and if you tend to sell small items they can be a lot larger than the customer needs.
Bring a notebook for people to provide their email addresses if you have an e-mail newsletter and they would like to subscribe.  You may also need paper for writing down special orders or ideas that your customers provide you for types of products you may want to consider selling.
Bring wrinkle release spray to smooth creases in your table cloths before and during the craft fair.  Its a quick way to freshen up your table.
Bring anti-bacterial hand gel -- you will be shaking a lot of hands and handling a lot of money.  Keep your hands clean.
Bring Fabreeze for food smells.  Often craft fairs tend to have food vending as well, and the smell of fast food can mask any pleasant smells you have in your booth.  If you sell any kind of scented products, this is a must.

I recommend also packing a small plastic bin with any administrative items you need like..... tape, writing paper, receipts, scissors, tissue paper, calculator, pens and permanent markers, business cards, small displays stands, labels, etc. and keep this near you at all times when you are at your booth.  Or at least know where it is so you can get to it easily.

Have fun! :)

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