Things You'll Need
- Craft booth, tent
- Display units
- Cash box or register
- Business cards or brochures
Artisans and craftspeople who sell wares at arts and crafts fairs face the difficult task of recreating temporary shops at every fair they visit. Creating an attractive atmosphere inside a booth or tent is important; however, the limited space and difficulties of transporting displays often limit options. In order to be successful, artisans must develop a reliable and simple method of transport, create portable displays for ease of movement and find ways to sell items that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are practical.
Create an Interesting Display Space
Choose a tent or structure to create a tangible perimeter for the booth. Pop-up tents are easy to transport and set up. Tents are ideal unless you need to hang or display items on the outside surface of the booth. In that case, a shell constructed of plywood with a canopy top will work. The standard craft fair booth is a 10-by-10 foot space; stay within those measurements or you may be disqualified from a juried competition or vendor's license.
Procure tables, pedestals, wire grids or hanging racks for displaying craft items. The displays themselves will vary according to the products sold. However, using a combination of displays to take advantage of every usable space is a good idea. It can add interest to the booth and give potential customers an opportunity to look around and browse several areas. For example, display jewelry hanging from tent support bars, inside locking or glass cabinets and atop tables. In every case, the items should be clearly visible. Customers should be able to quickly glance at a booth and see several different items for sale.
Purchase lightweight crates or plastic boxes to safely store, pack and carry items. Craft fairs can run for a few days or weeks at a time. Keeping a large variety of goods on hand is important to generate multiple sales. Your storage system should be compact enough for storage under display tables and out of the way once unloaded so that you can store more goods inside the booth.
Set up displays with as much merchandise as possible. In a typical craft fair, dozens of booths are available for customers to consider. Booths must grab the attention of potential customers immediately so they take a closer look. Half-empty shelves or displays are not appealing; shoppers may not waste time visiting a booth that has very little to offer. Keep displays full and rearrange or refill items as things sell.
Purchase items that complement your displays and draw attention to your booth. Eye-catching tablecloths, shiny backdrops and table accents, dangling displays and bright colors attract shopper’s eyes.
Add Professional Touches
Create professional signage that is easy to read. Although you are not selling goods in an actual retail storefront, it is important to give shoppers the impression that you run a legitimate business. Create easy-to-read signs spelled correctly and clearly mark the prices of items with tags or signs. Shoppers will be more willing to spend money at booths that have a polished, professional feel.
Clearly display the name of your business and your name and contact information on the booth itself. Ensure that customers clearly identify your space in case they decide to come back after browsing other booths at the fair. Give shoppers the opportunity to remember your name and your goods.
Create a sales space to store and quickly access a secured cash box or register. Keep shopping bags nearby, as well as a supply of business cards or brochures available so that customers can contact you for more merchandise later. Ensure your card lists your website store.
Ensure display items are well lit. Shows that continue into the evening make it difficult for potential customers to see your items without the proper lighting. Purchase portable lights or lamps, if space and outlets are available. Bring a power strip or multiple outlet adapters to give yourself the flexibility to use as many lights as you need. Create booths that are inviting and cozy, yet still allow shoppers to maintain their personal space. Don't intimidate customers by sitting too close to the merchandise; give them space to browse at their own leisure. Keep a bit of distance between yourself and the customers.
Adhere to fair guidelines for safety concerns and local ordinances. Fire departments typically require that craft fair booths have adequate fire extinguishers and tents made of non-flammable materials.
Kendall Olsen has been writing for more than 20 years She is a University of Missouri-St. Louis Gateway Writing Project Fellow and has published instructional materials with the McDonald Publishing Company. Olsen holds an Ed.S. in educational technology, an M.Ed. in secondary English curriculum and instruction, a B.S. in elementary education and a B.A. in art history.