Kate Thurman and Alaina Smith have lots of experience selling from booths at craft fairs and markets.
Alaina, who runs Cold Gold, has participated in 20+ craft fairs, and Kate of Smarty Pants Paper Co. has exhibited at craft fairs and trade shows and has created counter and floor displays for a product-based business. Both women have won awards for their craft fair booths. (Yeah, they're awesome.)
So, we could call them fair weather friends. Or maybe market weather friends? Either way they are friends, especially since they generously shared their wisdom and top tips for merchandising at festivals and markets at a recent Make. Learn. Grow. lunch-and-learn session.
Read on to learn their top tips for selling at craft fairs and art markets!
Branding is the identity or personality of your business and how you want to communicate that identity.
Stores like Apple and Dollar General have very different approaches to branding. Apple emphasizes the value of its products with lots of open space and clean surfaces. Dollar General sells lots of inexpensive merchandise, so they display lots of goods and put their best-sellers at the end of the aisles.
What’s your brand?
- Kate and Alaina say your price point matters when creating a display, just as it does for the two stores above.
- Be sure your booth space is clean and welcoming. Have enough merchandise on hand to keep it fully stocked. Make it memorable with props like plants, rugs, books or bottles. And find a place to stash your supplies, snacks, whatever, so your booth remains neat and clean.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER!
Contrast and color
People react emotionally to color, so choose colors that convey your brand’s message.
- Brightly colored products or backgrounds will catch your customers’ attention.
- Kate and Alaina recommend that you contrast the visual intensity of your products with their surroundings.
Height and scale
Create a hierarchy for your products when creating a display, emphasizing your best-sellers and highest-priced items over your less-popular items and lowest-priced pieces.
Think of your booth as real estate, they suggest. Every group of items you display must be able to afford the rent of the space you give it.
- Put your best-sellers at eye level. If they happen to be your highest-priced items, even better!
- Put items that people need to examine at a height that they can reach without having to ask to get it for them.
- Items that don’t move (sell) quickly should be displayed above or below eye level.
There CAN be too much of a good thing. Carefully choose what you display rather than crowding your space with too much product.
- Plan ahead about what products to bring and how best to display them.
- And be sure to have a space where you can store extra inventory out of sight.
Now you're ready to kill it at Your next craft fair.
But...how can you find out about them?
Check out our handy list of markets and festivals and find out more about deadlines and entry fees.
Do you know about a maker-friendly market that we missed? Let us know! Scroll to the bottom of the page to submit an event!