10 Must Haves for Every Craft Show or Handmade Market
Posted on November 22, 2019
If you’ve been following along with my Handmade Markets 101 series I’ve been covering some of my top tips for selling what you make at local events. Whether you sell crochet/knit pieces, or something else entirely, here are a few of my must haves for any handmade selling event!
*note: Bella’s Custom Crochets rebranded as Fiber & Fox in March of 2021. While now my focus is on designing patterns, for a long time I was a finished items/market maven!
For more tips regarding selling your crochet and knit items at craft fairs and handmade markets, check out my Handmade Markets 101 series on the blog! I talk how to find the perfect shows to sell at, things to consider before applying to a market, more tips on setting up your display to be tip top, BIG no- no’s to avoid , and must haves for every craft show or handmade market! Oh, and if you’re a market hat maker like me, you might want to check out how I make my own faux fur pom poms and save alllllll the $$$! And if you’re into saving money, this post on how to get all your yarn + supplies for cheap might be helpful too! And you can also find videos on how I set up my booth for an outdoor tent space, and indoor table space, and a tinnnyy indoor space on my YouTube Channel!
Now let’s talk must haves for any craft fair, farmers market or handmade market:
1. Snacks & Water: No one wants to do business with a hangry lady. Make sure you remember to take care of yourself so you can take the best possible care of your customers! It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of the day, but make sure you have some healthy snacks to munch on throughout the event! And don’t just remember to pack them, you have to remember to eat them too! Even if you have to set a reminder for yourself! Think high calorie, mess-free snacks, like maybe some nuts and dried fruits or a protein bar or two! Something that won’t take long to eat, will keep you feeling full, and won’t leave your products covered in Cheeto dust! And along with snacks, make sure you’re chugging something other than coffee! Bring along some water and make sure your actually drink it! Most of my events are in the cooler months of the year, but this is especially important if you will be outdoors in the summer months! A hydrated business lady is a happy business lady.
2. Safety pins/tape/rope/scissors: Chances are, you will have to Macgyver something during the day. Windy? Tie that standing mirror to your tent (been there, done that!). Signage falling over when people reach over the table? Tape it to part of your display. Need that table cloth to stay in place so no one will trip on it? Pin it. Scissors? I don’t know why you will need them, but chances are you will! Another thing I have found really handy is lint roller – those faux fur pom poms, they like to shed and you don’t want your booth looking like a polar bear rolled around on all your wares!
3. Towel/rag: this is more so if you’re doing outdoor events, like farmer’s markets! Often set up is in the early morning and tables and displays might get grassy, muddy or dewy in the set up process. Having something to wipe down or dry with is super helpful to keeping your items and booth in tip top shape!
4. Business cards: Hand those babies out like candy. You can get them printed up by the hundreds for relatively cheap from sites like Staples or Vistaprint, or you can get fancy with some place like Moo. Where ever you get them from, make sure they have your name, your website/online presence, and a way of contacting you. If people love your work, they will want to keep in touch with you! Not having business cards could potentially cost you future sales! Another item I like to have printed is a postcard sized list of all the events I will be at for the season, so if people want to shop my items in person again they will know where to find me. I drop one of my cards and one of the event print ups in a bag (stamped with my logo) with every purchase!
5. Clear pricing system: I touch on this topic a little bit more in this post and this one as well, but having clearly displayed pricing is absolutely crucial. Walking into a store and not being able to find the prices is a feeling that no one enjoys, and you may lose sales if people don’t feel comfortable asking you for each price. Make sure you either have a list of all your prices printed up somewhere in your display, some sort of signage for each item, like a chalkboard or letter board, or securely individually tag each item (the Knotty Boss has some great printable tags!)
6. Extension cords & chargers: If you happen to be in a venue that you have access to an outlet, definitely take advantage of it! Spruce up your booth with some cool lighting, or maybe get one of those slide show photo frames to display some of your past work or satisfied customers! At the very least make sure you bring along a phone charger, especially if you are running a card reader, or using it as a calculator! We also have a back up battery pack we charge up and bring along- just in case! And always make sure your cords of any kind are out of the way or taped down (if allowed) so that no one trips- you included!
7. A card reader: Cash used to be king, but plastic has definitely dethroned it! I personally use a Square card reader (post on all the why I love it coming soon!). I prefer the chip one (roughly $50), because it offers a lot more protection for the seller as far as fraudulent charges and it offers an offline mode if you happen to find yourself in an area with poor internet connection. However there is a free swipe version available as well. Square has a really great point of sale set up and I highly recommend it for your business. PayPal offers a similar free card reader & there are other options out there as well. Whichever reader you choose, make sure you bring one along! And while you are at it, make sure you have the necessary hardware to connect it to your phone, and also, make sure that phone is charged up!
8. Plenty of cash: Okay, I did just say it was all about card readers. However, some people still do carry cash! Plus cash transactions that mean you won’t have any card fees cutting into your profit! Make sure you have a bundle of $1s and $5 mainly, but some $10s and $20s as well for the larger bills. A couple rolls of coins, as well, if you haven’t factored tax into your prices (I don’t)! You don’t want to miss out on a sale because you can’t make proper change! And if you happen to not be using a card reader, a calculator is a good thing to bring along too!
9. A wingman: Aka, someone for bathroom breaks. This isn’t a necessity (although last year when I was doing events 8.75 months pregnant, it kinda was!) , but it sure is helpful on long days! You don’t want to be walking away from your table and leaving merchandise and cash unattended! My husband is fantastic and usually does most of my events with me and runs my “check out” for me (and actually likes it, believe it or not!). It’s really nice to have the company and extra hands. But if you don’t have a yarn husband (or a mom, or a really nice friend) who wants to sit in your booth all day with you, perhaps schedule someone trustworthy to stop by at a certain time just so you can take a quick break! Bonus points if they can help with set up or break down too!
10. A smile & positive attitude: So yes, that sounds really corny, but it’s so true! Even if you have the most beautiful products, you need to make sure your face matches your pretty items if you want to make sales and be memorable! An inviting smile, confident eye contact, a welcoming phrase or two, and a sense of pride in your work and the event go a long way! Represent yourself, your brand, and the event well by being the best shiny, personable, wonderful you that you can be.
Hope you have a wonderful market season! If you have any additional tips, we’d love to hear them!