CRAFT FAIR TIPS
Craft fairs are BACK! Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve busted out the tent and folding table, or maybe you’re new to the whole scene. No stress—we’ve got you covered with these pro tips from GGC Founder and craft fair connoisseur Phoebe Sheman on how to absolutely kick ass at your next IRL market.
Tune in as Phoebe breaks down craft fair basics and guides listeners through each stage of the planning, execution, and wrap-up processes, applicable for both outdoor and indoor events. Learn how to find events in your area, why you absolutely need a wagon, and how to keep your brand alive in people’s minds after they leave your booth. If you’ve been struggling to get back in the game or just get started, period, look no further for a foolproof (yet realistic!) guide on how to position yourself for an impactful and engaging event.
Listeners based in the Bay Area: Check out this post for a line-up of upcoming craft fairs to attend or apply to this Summer!
Want more tips on booth set-up? Download our free Booth Design Guide!
WHO ARE CRAFT FAIRS FOR?
Craft fairs were traditionally designed with “makers” (i.e., someone who makes a tangible product) in mind. These days, craft fairs also serve as a fantastic opportunity for food-based and service-based businesses to get their name out in front of a brand new customer base. In fact, at GGC we always encourage service-based businesses to participate in our shows—just make sure you integrate an interactive experience into your booth besides simply telling people about your biz!
HOW DO I FIND WHICH CRAFT FAIRS TO APPLY TO?
When in doubt, Google it! Specifically, search for craft fairs or maker’s markets in your location. News often travels via word of mouth in the creative community, so you can also ask other craftspeople you admire in your area for the scoop. If you are in the Bay Area we’ve got a blog post about shows we love.
HOW DO I APPLY TO A CRAFT FAIR?
Most craft fairs will have an approval process of some sort. You may need to pay an application fee (note: this is often non-refundable) and also pay a separate booth fee upon acceptance. Some fairs will require you to pay the entire booth fee upfront and will refund you if you are not accepted into the event. Each event will have its own process, so be sure to read the application guidelines thoroughly before you submit your application.
WHAT DO CRAFT FAIRS LOOK FOR WHEN ACCEPTING APPLICANTS?
At GGC, we look for a strong, professional brand presence. Is your mission clear and your imagery consistent? Do you have a strong social media presence and an engaging, user-friendly website? Do your products make sense together and is the design original? Most importantly, are you authentic and true to your vision? You do not have to have a massive following or critical acclaim to be accepted into a craft fair, but you do need to have a compelling mission, brand identity, and commitment to quality that comes through at every level of your business.
WHAT IF I DON’T GET ACCEPTED INTO A CRAFT FAIR?
Rejection is part of the journey for every business owner. KEEP TRYING. Craft fairs love to see you grow! They’ll take note of an elevated vision, stronger cohesion, and overall growth in your craft and business.
TIPS FOR BEFORE THE EVENT:
Rent or borrow a car that you can easily fit everything into! Get a wagon! Figure out payment processing! Display your prices!
Just like your general business practice, markets are a learning experience.
LET’S TALK ABOUT BOOTH SET-UP:
Be sure to consider the flow of traffic through your set-up and how that experience will feel for the customer. If you have products that need to really pop, consider creating levels on tables and shelves using risers or product stands. This creates visual interest and ensures your customers won’t miss anything you have on offer. Don’t neglect the vibe—is your space functional AND inviting? If not, rework it until it is.
BRANDING + BRAND EDUCATION:
Be sure to invest in proper signage, hand out business cards, and have a sign-up sheet for your newsletter! Don’t let your relationship with these amazing, new customers stop at the booth.
TIPS FOR DURING THE EVENT:
Stay off your phone! Get help if necessary! Secure your WiFi! Bring snacks!
AFTER THE EVENT:
When you’re packing up, try to be quick. Have a system in place. You’ll likely be pretty exhausted, so take care of future, tired AF you by creating a packing up plan ahead of time.