I’ve always enjoyed craft fairs. Witnessing intricate handiwork in the form of jewelry, apparel, home decor, and art is something that I’ve always admired. And this year, I was fortunate enough to be one of those vendors selling my work!
I attended only two holiday shows this year, but I still wanted to share some lessons learned in case you’re getting ready to do your first!
1. Do a mock display about 3-5 days before your fair.
This was incredibly helpful for me because I had no idea how much to display, how to display it, and what kinds of display fixtures I would need. This is when I realized that I needed height to some of my displays, and additional bins to hold things.
My first venue was a brightly lit gymnasium, so I got away with not having lights. But my second venue was an old historic home, so I’m glad that I spent the extra money to request electricity because the lights make all the difference sometimes when you’re in a darkened room.
2. Take credit card payments.
Some customers are really good about bringing lots of cash to fairs like these. But sometimes they forget, or they run out of cash. You will get people who want to pay by credit, and you don’t want to deny a sale because you didn’t have a credit card reader! So do yourself a favor, and pick up a free, basic one from Square! If you’re new to Square, use my link, and we can both get free processing for up to $1,000 in sales for the first 180 days.
Square is super easy to set up and use. I even used it to list all of my inventory, so when it was time to swipe, I could easily look up the item, apply any discounts if applicable, and then check out.
3. Keep track of itemized list of purchases
If you’re using Square, then keeping an itemized list of purchases is really simple. But if you’re taking mostly cash, you’ll need a system for keeping track of what’s been sold. Not only for your inventory’s sake, but for reporting on sales taxes later (if it applies in your state. See #5 later on).
I kept a list because I wanted to know what was the most popular item. And I wanted to see if people were taking advantage of my “3 for $10” kind of deals.
You can use a basic pen and paper and enter it onto a spreadsheet (or however you keep organized) later. Or you can have a list of all of your inventory already printed out, and you can add check marks or cross off items that have been sold. Whatever method works for you, figure it out and go with it.
4. Let people know about custom orders.
This is huge because you don’t want people to assume that what you’ve got on the table is all you got. Chances are, you do so much more! Put it on a sign, or if you like to strike up conversation, verbally tell them that you do custom orders. Sometimes people love your work, but it might not be exactly what they’re looking for. So if they know that you’re open to custom orders, they’ll be likely to seek you out after the fair. On that note–ask them for their contact information instead of giving them your business card, hoping they’ll get in touch. You can follow up with them, too!
5. Research rules about taxes according to your state.
If you’re one of the few states that doesn’t have sales tax… you’re lucky! Otherwise, taxes from craft fairs like these differ state to state. So make sure to do your research! I found very helpful information here, but also make sure to call your state’s department of revenue for more specific, and up-to-date information.
Well that’s it from me! There are lots of other things that I learned, but I don’t want this post to be too long! Perhaps there will be a Part 2. 🙂
Have you been to craft fairs? What are some pro tips you would offer?