5 Things You Need to Know When Selling at a Craft Fair

Posted by on Apr 25, 2012

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I Made It! Market


You make incredibly cool and very unique handmade wares and are ready to bring your talent to the craft fair circuit. Carrie Nardini of I Made It! Market, a popular nomadic indie craft fair based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offers these easy tips for first-timers interested in selling at a craft fair.

Finding the Right Fit

There are a variety of shows out there, even in the indie genre. Some events happen only once a year, some may be large and others more cozy, taking place in a bar or gallery setting. Consider getting your feet wet with a show that takes place on a regular basis and attracts dedicated shoppers. This opportunity will present you with customers who can provide instant feedback on your wares and you can observe how they interact with your display. 
Check out our Craft Map for craft fairs just right for you!

Many shows are juried and have a selection process. For the best chance of being accepted to a juried show, present a description that conveys your passion for your work along with high quality photos. You do not have to invest in professional photographs but really demonstrate your work’s uniqueness and quality to the best of your ability.  

Dress Rehearsal

Before the show, set up your table or tent in your living room. Really, do it! Then take a photo with your phone of your masterpiece in its greatest configuration. This way you can pull the photo up when you arrive to set up and it will take less time (and stress) since you are familiar with what you need. 

Got a receipt book or a notepad for custom orders? Check out more of Carrie's essentials for keeping sales transactions smooth and easy.

headbands at craft fair
On Display

Consider height, color, signage and where you will sit. Regardless of your product type — jewelry, clothing, ceramics, art prints, metal work — make it easy for shoppers to approach, touch, interact with and understand what you are offering. You will most likely need to do some experimenting over a number of shows until you find the best solution for your wares! Make your space inviting with some wrapped candies or cute small items for shoppers to pick up and touch. 

Now to get prepared for sales! 

Make your space a mini store. Help yourself remember everything you need by creating a checklist and organize your supplies ahead of time in easy to transport storage containers. Anything with wheels makes it even easier to get from your vehicle to the event space.

Got light bulbs and extension cords? Check out Carrie's checklist of items you might need for your craft fair table.

The Big Day

Once you are accepted into the show, comfortable with your inventory level and table set-up, you will need to market and promote your appearance! Do not rely only on the event to bring you traffic, but reach out to your entire network through email, social media, phone calls, handbills and so on. Remember this is the start to your very unique business, and you will want to take your customers with you wherever you vend. 

Start on the right foot by branding your business consistently (the same look and feel to your logo, font, signage and business cards) and communicating regularly. The first show is the perfect time to begin your email list. Once you get home, sign onto a service like MailChimp that has great video tutorials and you will soon be on your way. MailChimp also allows you to have fans of your Facebook page sign up through a dedicated tab, so it couldn’t be easier!
Not sure how to act with the customers? Carrie offers 8 tips for making you and your customers comfy when selling at a craft fair.

Now it is time to have confidence and enjoy! 
Carrie Nardini with her son
About Carrie Nardini: A crafter from the very start, Carrie has dabbled in macrame, beading, ceramics, glass bead making, metal smithing, baking and even needle craft. But, her skills are best put to use organizing craft marketplaces and working with creative entrepreneurs to craft their marketing messages. She is a new mama, the leader of the I Made It! Market, co-pilot at Propelle and creative small business strategist at CarrieNardini.com.

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