Lack of Sales at Craft Shows

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Are you struggling to make sales?  There can be many reasons for a lack of sales at craft shows. In today’s post, I’ll cover some common reasons that sales may not be what you were expecting and how to tweak your offerings to help improve your business.

Craft Shows Not Promoted Well

First, look at the show itself. Did it have a good crowd? Was it well advertised? Often show promoters, especially with newer shows, don’t do an adequate job of scheduling and advertising. I recommend helping to promote events that you plan to attend. I wrote a post previously on free and cheap ways to do this. When vendors participate in show promotion – everyone wins!

If the show was successful and had great traffic, the next problem could be one of several things.

Your Displays are Lacking

First off, your display. Are you displaying your items in ways that are retail friendly and draw people into your space? Are your items mostly flat on tables? If so, big no-no and try to get as many of your items as you can at eye level or standing.

Demand & Popularity

Secondly, demand. Is there too much competition for your particular type of item? If so, it may be time to consider an overhaul to your product. If you sell jewelry or hair bows and other common items, it’s important to come up with a theme or something that sets your items apart from others.

Have you checked other local shops and shows to see what is popular? If not, do some homework and look around. Perhaps there is something with local flare that you can add to your inventory. Here are some ideas for popular crafts that sell well.

Price Points

Every artist and crafter benefits by having items at different price points. If all of your items are priced high; people who may want to buy from you will pass you up and look for a better bargain.

This does NOT mean to price yourself out of a profit (and you can read more about why this is a bad idea here) but it does mean that you’ll likely see more sales if you have products for every budget. A $10 necklace may be a great item for someone who can’t afford a $100 fine art piece.

Item Variety

Something else to consider is variety. Too much or too little – both are equally bad. You don’t want to have 1,000 different types of crafts going on, because that is expensive to produce and can make customers question whether you are doing your work yourself, or buying “handmade” items to resell.

Too little variety though and you run the risk of not enough demand for your product. I recommend products that are similar to produce. For example, if you sew aprons, perhaps you can sew up some potato bags or child’s aprons, or even scrap quilts – you get the idea. Someone who makes soap could complement with scrubs or shampoo bars.

Do You Need to Hone Your Marketing Skills?

Finally, and this is the most unpleasant to think about – but, is it you? Learning to interact with customers is a practice that takes skill and time. You may be doing little things that you don’t consider that are driving people away.

For example, do you not greet every person? Or, on the other end, do you start yacking away at people immediately without giving them time to get comfortable in your space? Are you someone who eats in your booth, is playing with your phone or otherwise not fully present? If so, all of these things can cost you dearly. Learn more about mistakes to avoid and their fixes.

Networking and Publicity

If your sales are just not there, don’t panic!  It can take time to get established.  Once you are established, you still have to keep up with latest trends.  It’s always a bit of a gamble and a guessing game, but there are many tools at your disposal.

Social media, online shops, community gatherings, are all great ways to network and get your products out there.  Also, consider networking with other vendors in your area.  Look for facebook groups geared to this and discuss local shows.  You’ll find out by being a good neighbor where the best (and worst) markets are.

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Comments 1

  • I often have conversations with crafter friends about price points. I guess I’m in a minority because I don’t account much for the time out into making my jewelry. With a few exceptions, I will always make a profit because my jewelry supplies are packed in volumes, and are relatively expensive. My friends feel it’s really important to account for time spent. I’m afraid customers will do what I used to do, which is to say, “I bet I can make that for less than buying it.”

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