I’m breathing a big sigh of relief this week, I made it through my first craft fair. Actually, it went really well and I was surprised at how stress free the actual event ended up being. I tried to be as organized as possible which I think helped a lot. In the days leading up to the fair I started putting together a list of supplies I wanted to take with me. Then the day before, I put everything on the list in a big plastic container along with my smaller items. The day before was also spent making sure all my product was ironed and lint brushed. With everything packed and ready to go I was able to spend the morning before the show having a leisurely breakfast and picking up change.
I had an idea of how I wanted my table to look before the show, but hadn’t done a dry run. It took Matt and I about 45 minutes to get the table to look the way we wanted. I’m so glad I asked for the biggest table! For the bigger items, we put one out and kept extras under the table, out of the way. We ended up using bookends taped to the table to help the pillows stand up.
The small Christmas trees were perfect for getting the toques and gnomes off the table, plus added a nice verticalness. Soap bags were displayed under the tree. I brought a small bowl to hold my cards.
All my signs were simply tentcards printed off my computer onto card stock. They were taped to the table to keep them in place. I did discover though that no matter how big a sign you have saying what an item is and how much it costs, people will still completely miss them.
I’m so glad Matt had me get a Square reader for the fair. At least one half of all my sales were paid for with credit or debit cards. I had set the reader up to figure out the sales tax for me, so there was no fiddling with a calculator. The reader also lets you keep track of all your cash sales on it (it’ll figure out the tax and change for you on those too), so at the end of the fair I have a complete record of what I took in and how much sales tax I owe. We actually had two readers with us and ended up giving one to another vendor at the show. They were thrilled at how much easier it made selling for them as well.
Here’s what else I learned at my first fair. Make sure to have a chair, you’ll be standing a lot, but it is nice to have a place to rest from time to time. Bring lots of water, our fair provided water, coffee, champagne and beer, but I also emptied my own water bottle a couple to times. Packing tape is your friend for holding the cover on your table, keeping signs in place and taking down power cords. Almost no one wants a paper receipt, I had a receipt book with me, but never used it. Many people though, did want an email or texted receipt through Square. Having someone to help you, even for part of the time, is wonderful for bathroom breaks and food runs (I think my experience would have been a lot different if Matt hadn’t been with me all weekend).
I think I big part of my good experience was thanks to how well organized the fair was as a whole, Jennifer at Radar did an amazing job with what has her first fair too. The venue was warm and welcoming. Guests were greeted with free beverages and snacks. In some ways it felt more like a holiday party that just happened to also have things for sale, especially on Saturday evening. The fair was on the small side, but there was a good variety of items. I saw most people leaving with a shopping bag in hand. Turn out was three times what was expected despite the fact we had our first significant snowfall on Saturday.
Will I do another fair? I don’t think I’ll ever end up on the craft fair circuit, but I can see myself doing a few small ones like this a year.
© 2005 – 2011 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish