I’ve been working at
craft shows and going to them for over 30 years a long time. Here are
some tips and tricks I’ve learned.
Tents are great and all but be mindful of winds. Did you ever have an
umbrella get caught in a gust? Well try a giant umbrella that can pull you off
your feet! I’ve seen winds flip tents not only destroying the artists goods but
the poor person next to them. Once the wind was so strong when I was holding
the tent down it bent and snapped one of my tent legs off!
Weights are great and all but lines snap, customers trip on them, and
sometimes they just aren’t heavy enough.
Make sure you have nothing attached to your tent and keep your displays and
tables completely on the inside of the tent. That way you can drag the tent
into the walkway area and drop it down ASAP. I’ve done this quite a few times, by
myself and with help.
2.Setting up your displays and tables:
Try and keep your smaller “Pocketable” items out of immediate reach. If a
person has to visibly stretch a little to get them they are less likely to swipe
them. I had this happen with a child and a ring, the ring display was at the
edge of the table and she grabbed it and pocketed it. Luckily her brother got
it back from her and gave it to me.
You also want to be able to keep an eye on what’s going on around your
table so don’t use any tall displays that can block your view.
3.Beware of children:
Sometimes parents let their children run free at markets and shows. Did
you ever see those “You Break It You Buy It” or “Please watch your children
around my hard work” signs?
Chances are the parent will deny that little Timmy broke the dragon wing
off the jewelry box(Can you tell this happened to me?) but they are sometime
shamed by their child’s actions enough to pay for the item. I’m not saying to
yell at the parent but a slightly raised voice that gets attention from the
surrounding crowd helps.
Hey you worked hard on your wares. If you can’t easily repair it, get compensated.
You might think it’s fun to have things listed on the off dollar. Like
$1.75 or $3.50 or $9.99. Just remember
you have to carry the change for those items. That means having enough pennies,
nickels, dimes, and quarters. It’s a pain and it requires more in depth adding.
I’ve been so caught up and excited about a big multiple item sale that I had to
add the items up 2 or 3 times to make sure I got it right! Just leave things on
the even dollar $1, $4, or $10. You don’t need coin change, adding goes faster,
and you can get to the next customer faster.
Also try and do a “Deal”. “Buy three potholders get the 4th
one free” price your items so you’re not losing any money and everybody is
happy! I also knock a dollar or two of a big multiple item sale… Customer is
happy and they usually spread the word.
Also have a “Clearance” or “Bargain” rack or basket and have it marked
with a big sign. It’ll help bring people into your booth. Hey everybody likes a
My biggest pet peeve. Why? Because I make sure that I have enough change
for me(Normally) not the entire market. I don’t like asking for change from
other vendors and I really don’t like breaking big bills for other vendors
either. I’m not greedy but I don’t want to have to ask somebody else for change
because I gave change to another vendor. It’s a vicious cycle.
So how much do I bring?
$60.$20 in 1’s and $40 in 5’s….
no need for coin change. Uh huh, you get what I did there?
6.Money Box or Cash Apron?
Cash Apron! Why? Because you always have your money on your body and you
don’t have to worry about your cash box being looted or stolen.
7.Signage and price marking:
Make sure everything has some sort of a price on it. Sometimes people won’t
ask because they are either shy, they think it’s too expensive, or they don’t
want to wait till you are done helping somebody else. If you’re running a
regular craft business spend some time and make all your signs look
I, for one, have the worst handwriting ever. So I print out all my signs
on the computer. Looks professional and people can actually read it!
Hey face it signs bring people in! I have a clack board sign (Like
outside restaurants) I made with plywood, hinges, paint, and chalkboard paint.
I can write any deals on the board and bring more customers to my booth.
Also business cards are great, but flyers are better and cheaper! I put business
cards in the bags with my sales but this year I’m going to have flyers made up
with my Etsy, My blog, My FB Fanpage, and My YouTube on it. People will ask for
your cards left and right and they might never ever go to your page. But a
flyer with all your info on it and maybe a pic or two of some of your items is
more eye appealing.
I don’t do this but I’ve seen… or shall I say Heard it done. Vendors
yelling to the crowds about sales in their booth. There is one word for it:
ANNOYING! This isn’t “Games of Chance” at a fair. It’s a craft show! I don’t
like when they yell it to me when I’m shopping, and I REALLY don’t like it when
they do it in the booth next to me. You’re having a sale? Great! Type a big
sign up. But if I have to come over there and tell you to keep quiet while I
talk to a customer about a special order I’m not going to be nice… Yes it’s
If it’s a new never done before show, it might not have a big crowd. So
don’t invest into big booth fees. Even if you clear your fee in sales you aren’t
making any money, you’re losing it.
If it’s a show where there will be children, have some kid/toy type
items. It brings the parents into the booth and keeps little Timmy from being
bored and breaking off the dragon wing off your jewelry box…. Can you tell I’m
still stuck on that?
10.Break Time Friend:
If you do a show alone it’s a really good idea to have a friend or family
member stop by halfway through so you can have a break. Because when nature
calls and you’re all alone it doesn’t just call it SCREAMS!
If you can’t get somebody to come by to “Relieve” you make friends with
your neighbor and ask them if they could keep an eye on things for a minute.
The best part is by having a money apron and not a money box you can take all
your cash with you and not feel weird about running through a market with a
cash register or cash box.
11.And finally don’t let the “I can do that myself”
people get you down. It happens. It sucks.
I, born and raised a wise ass, have a hard time keeping quite. I’m not
mean, I’m sweetly honest.
Regarding a Star Wars Messenger bag made from a vintage sheet for $25.
Teenage Girl: “Mom can I have that?”
Mom: “Psssh. You can make that yourself”
Me(With a smile on my face): “Well those sheets are vintage from the
original movie and sell for $50+ on eBay… If you can even get them. So if your daughter
can make one cheaper good for you.” I was very nice and her jaw hit the ground.
Then I sold the bag 2 minutes later to the women behind her.
Some people, even kids, are just rude and don’t realize how much time and
12.Be prepared for copycats:
Here in Butte we do a Farmer’s
Market every Saturday in the summer. Some booths do better than others. Some
vendors get jealous of this and will start copying some of your best sellers
and under cutting your price. I’ve even seen them goes as far as buying
somebodies sewn item to copy the pattern! Makes you want to slap somebody. But
you can’t…. or you’ll go to jail. So what can you do about it? Nothing! You can
confront them, but they’ll say it was their idea too. Can you have a price war?
Yes, but you want to make sure you’re still making a profit.
Has this happened to me? Yes.
Did I do or say anything? No
Why? Because it was a Non-Profit school fundraising group who did it.
I just stopped selling the item at the market and put it on my Etsy. Some
battles are just not worth it.
Roll with the punches with a smile on your face, have fun, and remember that YOU ARE
Summer is approaching way to fast! So much to make and sew little time! I'm in need of a changing room for the market this year. With so many Upcycled clothing items I need a place for everybody to try them on. So I'm having a sale in the Etsy shop to get to my goal...
Summer is around the corner and it's time to start on the new wardrobe! It doesn't have to be expensive, you can DIY your new warm weather wardrobe from clothes that you already own. I took this men's T-shirt.
and turned it into this awesome tube top!
There will be a YouTube video tutorial coming soon!
So I've made the decision to apply to the MADE fair in Missoula this year. I'm so excited! I love MADE! Their criteria is "We will be looking for unique products that fit the feel of the MADE fair (funky, fun, functional) as well as variety and quality of work" I think I might qualify under that.
So now I really need to get my butt moving on all these projects. So now I'm working on more clothing, T-shirt recons right now.
And I went and got more Vintage Pillowcases today along with a few more vintage sheets for skirts.
So like most DIY Bloggers and YouTube DIYer's I'm going to do a giveaway!
How do you enter?
Well I'm going to make it easy.
Subscribe to this blog and to my Youtube Chanel.... and spread the word!
As soon as 1 of them hits 500 I'll make a new post for everyone to comment on so they can enter.
And what do you win?
An awesome High Heel Pin Cushion!
You'll see it in the start of my High Heel Pin Cushion video. It's the yellow one with the black sock in it.... I still need to finish it.
So spread the word!
I'm not going to lie, I am loving these new vintage pillowcase tops that I'm making.
Are they a pain?
Are they taking forever?
Are they worth it?
Will I be listing them on my Etsy?
I've decided to do a whole upcycle theme up at market this year.
These shirts/toddler dresses are just the beginning.... There will be skirts from vintage sheets, pet beds, messenger bags, furniture,...
I'm so so so excited!