For makers and crafters, having a booth at a farmer’s markets, craft fairs, or holiday venues is a thrilling experience and milestone. You want to present your items to everyone who passes by and impress them with your prized artwork. To put your best foot forward, here is a guide to a successful craft booth so that you can improve the experience for your shoppers and for yourself.
8 x Table
So, how much stock should you bring to your event?
You want to cover your costs, but how much is that? A good rule of thumb is that you want to have, at minimum, enough merchandise to cover 8x the amount of the cost of the table. For example:
table/booth cost = $35
8 x $35 = $280
So, you would want to have $280 worth of products in your booth.
table/booth cost = $800
8 x $800 = $6,400 worth of products
A Tip from a Pro
From my experience so far, I would say to just be kind! This is your chance to engage with customers and get to know what they like about your products. Whether they purchase something or not, there’s a good chance they will remember your personality and conversation with you.Tiffany Wong,
Surface Designer & Graphic Designer from Toronto, Canada
Utilized the 5 Senses
Retail is all about the experience. What kind of experience do you want to give your customers? To answer this question, think about the 5 senses, and how you can trigger these natural sensations.
The fun part about craft fairs is looking at all the different layouts, styles, and skillsets. With so much creativity buzzing around. You need to think about how you can stand out from the crowd. Boost this experience when you find creative ways to answer the following questions.
- How will you guide your customer through your shop?
- What kind of displays will you use to best show off your work?
- What is the focal point of your shop?
- What color palette will you use?
- Will you have additional decorations?
- Where will you sit? In the back or towards the front?
The sense of smell triggers the neurons in the brain to stimulate all sorts of experiences. The smell of chocolate chip cookies may remind someone of their mother’s baking. Kettlecorn may trigger thoughts of summertime fairs with friends and family. Lilacs bring back thoughts of springtime and new beginnings.
Remember, not everyone will have the same reaction to a smell. People have different reactions to the same smells. A personal example, I LOVE the smell of a BBQ, but my husband, being a vegetarian his whole life, doesn’t have the same reaction.
However, research shows how aromatherapy influences someone’s reaction.
Here are a few popular ones:
- Eucalyptus – helps promote feelings of relaxation and clear breathing
- Lemon – invigorating properties for an uplifting, positive boost throughout the day
- Lavender – calming & relaxing
- Orange – uplifting, energizing
- Lemongrass – refreshing feeling
- Lime – encourages a balanced and energizing atmosphere
- Frankincense – soothing experience
- Copaiba – soothe anxious feelings
- Rosemary – energizing scent
- Cedarwood – soothe the mind and body, promotes a relaxing environment
Learn more from https://www.doterra.com/US/en
Consider utilizing these scents to enhance the experience. Do you sell body care products? Than maybe cedarwood would be appealing. Do you sell handmade bags and accessories? Try a diffuser with orange to inspire your customers.
Sound can be very tricky given the environment. You don’t want to play loud music if the scene is already busy with all the commotion of the event. It will only make it hard for you to talk with your customers, and if the music doesn’t jive with their personal taste, they may not be drawn to your shop.
However, if the event isn’t too loud, consider playing ambient music to set the tone for your shop. If you sell bath bombs, don’t play rock and roll music. (Unless your bath bombs are specifically branded to be associated with the rock-and-roll lifestyle.) play soothing medication music or a gentle rain or ocean waves to give a relaxing sensation that you want people to have when using your product.
If you sell wood craving, maybe some woodland creatures or forest background music to give the impression that the client is on a walk in the woods with you. You can use sound to set a scene.
Touch can be a bit nerve-racking as you may not want everyone who passes through to touch your inventory. However, you can add a “hands-on” portion to the booth. If you use different fabrics, maybe you have some test strips so for people to understand the different fabrics. If you are a jeweler, maybe you have a touch collection of the different stones and wires you use. People love to see the artistic process, so showing a snapshot of your process will be engaging. Just be sure to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby.
If you’re selling baked goods and food, then free samples are nothing new. For other booths who don’t sell edible items, you can still take advantage of the sense of taste.
Individually wrapped candies may draw someone into your shop to discover an item they want to purchase. You can get really creative, or keep it simple.
You could get branded candies, honey sticks, or for hot summer days, popsicles. If you prefer to have healthier options offer branded baggies of granola, pretzels portioned out in branded cupcake wrappers or mini-muffins.
Even having free water can be great, as these events don’t often have drinking fountains and a bottle of water from a vendor can be expensive. Though, you may need to have special permission from the managers. Be sure to check.
Spread the Word
Be sure to let your friends, family, and followers know that you will be attending an event and to come out to support you! Because only 3% of your total amount of followers will actually see your posts, be sure to tell your followers lots of times about the details!
Generally, once you are absolutely exhausted from telling people and think that you mentioned your booth at the event enough, most people will JUST be catching on. This is a hard reality of the difficulty to get follower’s attention, but that’s been my experience.
When a friend, family member or follower comes to visit, ask them if they would be willing to take a picture and share it. This will help spread the word, and let people know that you’re active in the community, what you sell, and that people enjoy you and your work.
Don’t be afraid to ask people to sign up for your email list. I know when I’m shopping at craft stores, I don’t always have the money to purchase something at that moment, but I want to! So, I’ll ask for a business card or if they have an email list I can subscribe to so I can support their work later.
I’m not sure how many other people relate to my experience, but it doesn’t hurt to ask people to subscribe if you can tell they appreciate your work.
You can even set up a special automation email specifically for people who signed up at your booth. This way you have the control to offer a “special” discount and send them details to your next event. You can send follow up emails about new products, discounts, and links to your social media channels too. Gaining email subscribers is very beneficial.
After a long, busy, and tiring event, you may feel like this is the time to crash and not think about the event anymore, but this is actually the best time for you to evaluate your shop and see what changes you need to make to be more effective in the future. Focus on how people respond to the environment you create, and what kind of comments they say. Learn to gauge what’s working, what’s not working and be willing to adapt.
Here are some great questions for some self-evaluation:
- What were they drawn too first?
- Did they notice the focal point?
- Did they like the scent?
- Did they comment on the music?
- What kind of demographic is coming into your shop most often?
- Did you get their email address?
- What went well?
- What could be improved?
Also, bonus points if you can get feedback from people who were actually at the event by doing a survey of the new emails you acquired during the event and friends and family who were there.
Also, don’t forget to build up your inventory again for the next event. Always make sure to have enough inventory to cover your costs of the next event and look for new and creative ways to utilize the 5 senses to create the best shopping experience for your customers. Creating awareness is a continual process, so keep spreading the word about your shop and keep your subscribers informed with all that’s happening. Always encourage your friends and family to share to reach a wider audience!
I sincerely hope you found some concepts in this post that will help you find greater success in your shop. Leave a comment below to let me know what you found most interesting, your thoughts and experiences, and questions or concerns.
If your next project needs fabric, consider some of my designs featured on Spoonflower! You can also contact me for a licensing plan.
Thanks for reading and keep on crafting!