First Craft Fair Advice and Checklist


You’re passionate about your crafts, everyone tells you they love the things you make and you should sell them! You’ve kicked the idea around for awhile, and now you’re finally ready to take the chance, but there’s SO much to consider. Although daunting, setting up your first craft fair can be a fun experience if you’re prepared; or your worst nightmare if you aren’t.

As a veteran craft fair vendor, I’ve decided to put together a comprehensive guide for newcomers to help make the process easier. I learned a lot by trial and error, and thankfully, by those who saw I was new and worked to help me get established.

Most crafters are very kind, generous and want to help but there’s nothing like feeling prepared and confident as you get started. Use this guide, and the resources listed throughout, to help you on your way. It’s not as difficult as it seems at first!

Are You Ready for Your First Craft Fair?

You need more than just enthusiasm to get started. There are several things to consider, so before going crazy making tons of product and purchasing things for your booth consider the follow questions.

  • Do you have enough items in several price points available?
  • Do you have business cards or other literature?
  • Do you have a presence online?
  • Do you have the ability to take custom orders?
  • Do you have a book or portfolio of past projects others can view?
  • Do you have the vehicle space to carry both your product and booth/displays?
  • Are your products trendy, cute or in demand?

Before signing on to do a craft show or festival; I recommend visiting a few in your local area to see what is selling well and how the different vendors create their space, interact with locals etc. Every region is a bit different, but there are some definite key strategies you’ll want to pick up and observation is key to success. Don’t skip this step and just jump in. Study – you’re more likely to be successful.

You’re Ready For Your First Craft Show — Now What?

  • The first step is to consider your products and if you want to do outdoor festivals, indoor only shows or a bit of both. I recommend getting an EZ-up canopy regardless because it can travel with you to either event, is easy to set up and can be customized to make a great little retail space that will help you stand out.
  • This will be your biggest investment, but one you should consider. EZ-up canopies are — “EZ” to set up hence the name. They are also water resistant and with sidewalls, they can protect you from the elements, and also give you better display space free of distractions of other booths.

 

  • This complete set is available on Amazon for the best price I have seen yet at under $300 for the canopy and full set of side walls. I’ve had my same canopy for 8 years now and I’m very pleased with it. It’s survived rain, wind, and beating sun. I do about 5 outdoor events per year and I seem to attract bad weather.

More Basics — Tables for Displays

  • The next consideration is tables and I highly recommend you get the ones that fold in half and extend out. This will save you so much vehicle space. These types of tables can be found in the $40 to 60 range for lighter items. Keep an eye out for local sales and see if you can pick some up cheap. In a pinch, you can use card tables, but they are flimsy and not as durable. Better to spend the money on tables that will last.
  • If your products and displays are heavy (and they will be for items like stone, woodworking, soaps etc.) you will want to invest in good weight bearing tables! I cannot express to you how awful it is to have a weak table collapse and destroy your displays and products. Ask me how I know! *sigh* Don’t make that expensive mistake – it’s better to invest in at least one load bearing table for your heavier items.


A load bearing table like this one can hold up to 1,000 lbs. without breaking.  The steel frame ensures it will last you a long time.  I’ve had mine for 10 years now.  This type of table runs about $50 to $60 and is a great investment.

Craft Fair Basics Checklist

  • Decorating your displays and creating a nice set up can be done inexpensively.  Explore this website for a lot of inspiration!
  • Below is a table and at the bottom of this post is a printable image I created that is a checklist of all the basics you will need for your craft fair set up. Print it out and take it with you as you set up and you’ll be fully prepared with no worries.

Things to Bring First Craft Fair

Display
Personal
Business Stuff
Canopy & Weights
Chairs
Bags
Curtains
Cooler with drinks/snacks
Business Cards
Rain Covers
Repair Kit for Products/displays
Receipt Book
Fans (if needed)
Wipes
Record Book
Lights
Paper Towels
Office Supply
Cords
Spray Cleaner
Drawers (I have a plastic set for portability and organization)
Tables
Lint Roller
Car Reader/Processor
Table Covers & Skirts
Sharpies, Pens
Brochures or Pamphlets
Signs
Notebook
Cash Box (with change)
Tape (duct tape or heavy duty tape)
Cell Phone
Clamps
Charger
Table Stands
Batteries
Crates
Medicine & Bandages
Tiered Shelves
Jackets
Your Products

 Inspiration From Pinterest

  • There are so many creative ideas and inspirations for booths and displays on Pinterest. Check out the boards in the images below for great DIY, inexpensive and totally captivating booth and display creations.
  • With so many creative inspirations, you will have as much fun building your displays and booths as your crafts themselves and that’s a good thing. Your display is actually more important than your products! — What? Yes, it’s true. Your display is what will get people to come look at your products — or keep walking on by to your competition.
  • Take the time and use your ingenuity to come up with a great display and you can start being successful immediately.

Setting Up Your First Craft Fair

  • Arrive as early as possible because your first few set-ups will be painfully slow and you don’t want to be rushed or tense. Get plenty of rest the night before and show up bright and early and ready to work.
  • First things first, the canopy goes up, then the tables are placed in a formation and the skirts and covers follow. After this, you can get to work on your table top displays.
  • You do not ever want a “flat” table display. Get those items up – use risers, crates, or whatever you can to elevate those items and get them more visible. If your products are laying flat on your table; you are going to lose sales. This is cardinal rule number one of displays — get it up off of that table top.
  • Make sure that your displays look full, but not cluttered. There is a fine line here. In retail, clerks are often made to “front shelves”. This means you pull all items forward to make the shelves look full. Why? People are more inclined to want to buy from full displays. Empty displays or ones with holes in them give the impression of being “picked over” and people will pass.
  • Try to color-coordinate your products, or place according to a theme.  Also, don’t make your most expensive item the front and center one. Many people want to buy, but won’t necessarily want to spend a lot. Having items at a few price points ensures more sales. Don’t lose money, however, you do still need to make a profit.
  • Make good use of your full space! Hang items when possible, use a floor display like a set of shelves or a coat rack. If you can, place a rug or something on the ground to give your booth a homey, welcoming appeal – yes, even at outdoor events.
  • Consider every part of your display; you want to look at it as a whole. As you approach, does it catch your eye? Have you made good use of color, texture, and height? If so, you are a step ahead of most beginners! You will give an aura of professionalism that will encourage others to buy from you.
  • So, here’s to your success!

Pinterest Boards

craft fair vendor checklist printable
comprehensive craft fair vendor checklist

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Author: Christin

Christin has been loving life as a freelance writer and artist for 15 years and is dedicated to using her skills and creativity to help others succeed doing what they enjoy. She owns and runs several sites and blogs that center on her various passions, from simple living to art, design and writing. You can check out more of her work on HubPages at http://christins.hubpages.com/

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