Becoming A Craft Show Vendor

Photo By: L. Davis

Thanks to social networking on Facebook, I was invited by a fundraising event planner to participate in a craft show that would benefit a local nonprofit. After reading more about branding and growing my business through different marketing venues, I decided to give it a try and become a vendor.

Because it was my first craft fair, I made sure to do a little research in preparation for the event. I found that because La Bella Baskets was an online store and my budget was extremely small, I had to do a lot of improvising, but I made it work. Here are some things I did to prepare for my craft fair:

  1. If you’re a newbie vendor I would suggest reading articles like this to get an idea of what to expect.
  2. Because my business is online, I decided to set up a booth to recruit people interested in a work from home opportunity. I brought my laptop with me so anyone interested could enroll right on the spot. I also made sure to advertise my gifts for anyone interested in purchasing from my online store.
  3. I ran around like a mad woman gathering supplies such as: a table and table cloth, chairs, etc.  
  4. I shared the event on my facebook and twitter business accounts.
  5. I hired my little sister to lend a hand and traded an “I owe you” with my good friend to help me set up and (wo)man my battle station.

 Here is what I learned:

  1. Even though I read up on vending at a local craft fair, I wish I attended one as a spectator first. I became very anxious because I didn’t have a cool banner or proper signage. If I had gone to another small town fair, I could have saved myself the unnecessary stress. I realized that most of them don’t have an over the top set up like the kind you would find at let’s say a big expo center event.
  2. I borrowed a table for this particular event because we were advised to bring our own table and chair. When I arrived, tables happen to become available, and so I used the provided table rather than haul mine out the car. Unfortunately, my table cloth was too small for the provided table. Next time, I’m bringing more than one table cloth.
  3. Hauling my stuff back and forth, even though I traveled light, was literally a pain in the neck. Thankfully, I was surrounded by friendly vendors who saw that I was new and offered a helping hand. They also suggested I get a cart or small hand truck to transport my items.
  4. I figured I could lure customers with free candy and that would get them to take my materials and ask questions. What I received was a lot of children running over as often as possible to take the candy and run. Next time, I think I will put the candy along with marketing materials in a nice mesh bag.
  5. Although I posted the event on Facebook and Twitter, I left out the actual address so my friends and supporters could stop by and show some love. I assumed that sharing the link to the event was enough and was sadly mistaken.

Overall, the craft fair was a wonderful learning experience. I made some new contacts with other vendors, was invited to do another craft fair, and hopefully earned some new business partners and supporters. Do you have any tips you would like to share? I would love to hear suggestions and I’m sure other readers would too!

Are you looking to become a craft show vendor? Besides looking in local newspapers and magazines, I’ve added some resources below to help you locate some events in your area.

http://www.craftlister.com/

http://www.artfaircalendar.com/

http://www.fairsandfestivals.net/