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Lessons Learned from My First Craft Show

Updated: Aug 9

Every crafter's aspiration is to exhibit their creations to a broader audience, receiving both positive and negative feedback that contributes to personal growth and a better understanding of customers' preferences.

In preparation for my inaugural craft show, I delved into thorough research, aiming to equip myself fully and ensure readiness for the event. From paper clips to shelves, I meticulously organized every detail.

The day of the show finally arrived. Fully prepared and with my car packed with an array of products, I was poised for action. The anticipation was palpable as I set out with a mix of excitement and nerves.

However, the pivotal moment—the one that no amount of blogs or Pinterest articles can ready you for—materialized. It's an experience you must live to truly comprehend.

In my case, that moment arrived when I struggled to set up my canopy. Fumbling back and forth, referring to the manual, I eventually got it sorted. Despite the initial challenges, I embraced the experience and had a blast.

Reflecting on this journey, I realized that not all advice in articles should be taken literally. Crafting is a diverse realm, and every booth's needs differ. It's essential not to go overboard with unnecessary expenses and gear. Regardless of what you bring or forget, remember, you'll persevere.

Here are a few key insights I'd like to share, so read on for some valuable takeaways.

Stress can accompany such events, but it's crucial not to overwhelm yourself. Trust your instincts and stay true to your craft.

Throughout this article, I'll keep reminding you: **You Will Be OK.**

My booth showcased nearly 200 candles, yet not all fragrances matched my displayed samples. This mismatch cost me sales, as customers weren't willing to wait for specific scents. Additionally, some candles were unavailable in desired sizes, leading to missed opportunities. Lesson learned.

To prevent jars from being prematurely opened, I introduced a sign requesting customers to open only the sample candles. Moreover, I ensured each fragrance was available in all sizes. Colored dots and fragrance cards simplified the selection process, a strategy I wished I'd implemented sooner.

Crafting successful show strategies entails researching demographics and event specifics. Opt for arts and crafts shows if you're an artist; choose events compatible with your products if you're sourcing from overseas. Not all events attract the same audience.

Art and crafts events align well with crafters, but fairs might not yield the same appreciation. Fair attendees often prioritize rides and food, making it challenging to showcase handcrafted items effectively.

Despite encountering slow sales, I've forged valuable connections with fellow crafters. Their insights and recommendations have opened doors for my products. So, even amid setbacks, positives emerge.

Patience is key when sales are slow during the early hours. The influx of visitors can come unexpectedly, so maintain your optimism and wear a smile.

Engage with visitors warmly, as if you're catching up with old friends. Sharing personal stories about your creations fosters connections and draws customers in.

Observing body language is invaluable. Sometimes, a simple greeting can entice visitors into your booth. Always remember to smile, regardless of fatigue.

Now, for the practicalities. Some items on this list might suit your needs, while others might not. Be prudent about your business requirements, avoiding unnecessary spending as I did before my debut show. Many things I thought I'd need were left unused.

**Basic Equipment (contain affiliate links):

- Canopy with weights to prevent unexpected gusts from causing havoc.

- Sturdy, affordable folding tables from places like Wal-Mart or Amazon.

- Tablecloth or cover in various sizes and colors, available at reasonable prices on Amazon.

- Get creative with crates to craft appealing shelves.

- Depending on your craft, shelves might be necessary. Consider easily disassembled options for transport.

- Business cards are vital for promoting your brand beyond the event.

- Collect email sign-ups to maintain ongoing connections with potential customers.

- A credit card reader is a must in the age of digital payments, my favorite one is Square, it offers a variety of ways to collect payment and emails from your clients. Venmo or CashApp QR Codes.

- Banners serve as powerful branding tools.

- A notebook helps track sales and interactions.

- Pens for sign-ups and notes.

- A camera captures your display and customer interactions, building your online presence.

- Ensure you have a range of change for transactions.

- Use an accordion envelope for organized change storage, avoiding a bulky cash box.

- Wear an apron for easy access to tools and supplies.

- Keep scissors or a mini tool kit handy.

- Provide bags for customers' purchases.

- Secure your tablecloth with pins or Velcro to prevent accidents.

- Stay hydrated and energized with water and snacks.

- Comfortable shoes are a must for enduring long hours.

View and Purchase all items here..

These are essentials; additional items are optional. Minimize expenses initially, adapting as you gain experience. Seasoned vendors offer valuable advice, so engage and learn from them.

Communicate with neighboring vendors, fostering a supportive network. They might even lend a hand when you need a break.

Despite a less profitable last show, the experience enriched my knowledge. Networking led to exciting opportunities—an upscale mansion event and a space in an artisan center.

Remember, setbacks are part of the process. Each event teaches you something new, and success could be just around the corner.

**"Always Remember, You Will Be OK. Keep Smiling."**

For questions or comments, please share below. Wishing you the best of luck on your debut show.

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