Calling all crafters! Vending at craft fairs and festivals can be a lucrative and fun experience for artists and makers of all kinds. Preparing well in advance of the event will ensure that you have a successful day, and you’ll be better prepared for future craft fairs as well. Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing to sell your work at a craft fair.
Take Credit Cards
Many vendors don’t know how to accept credit cards, and it ends up being a detriment to their business. Make sure to do your research and get a card scanner, which can typically be connected to your smartphone, in order to accept cards. It can’t hurt to advertise the fact that you accept cards, so you may want to make or purchase a sign that lets customers know what types of payment you accept. You’ll most likely make more sales if you let them know this information up front!
You can also be prepared to take payments through an app like Paypal or Venmo. Many customers already have these apps, so if they’re out of cash or don’t have their cards on them, it’s helpful to have the option.
Gather All Your Supplies
This is an important step to make sure you have a positive vending experience! While this list will vary based on the event and on the goods that you are selling, here’s a list of the basics you’ll need:
- A folding table
- A tablecloth
- Your inventory
- Signage (Signage should include the name of your business, what payments you accept, and price labels)
- Business cards
- Somewhere safe to keep cash
- Water (Don’t forget to hydrate!)
- A folding tent (optional, for outdoor events)
Some fairs and festivals can provide a table and tent, but many cannot provide these items for you, so be sure you know exactly what you’ll need to bring for each event. Get in touch with the coordinator of the event if you aren’t sure.
Make Sure You Have Enough
Whether you’re a ceramicist, an embroidery artist, a painter, or a woodworker, your work will probably be in high demand at certain fairs, and you’ll need to make sure that you have enough inventory to meet it. Imagine how frustrating it would be to sell out while the fair continues and you’re missing out on sales. Of course, it’s frustrating not to sell enough as well. This will happen sometimes, it’s the nature of vending at events. However, it’s always better to have too much inventory rather than too little. You can save the rest of the goods for future events, or sell them online!
Check The Weather
Imagine getting ready to sell your beautiful handmade items at an outdoor fair. You show up with all your handmade goods, your table, and your signage, and then…it starts raining, and you didn’t bring a tent! This is a regrettable scenario that happens to plenty of vendors, so make sure that you check the weather prior to each event even if it looks like it will be smooth sailing when you check the day before. You can never be too careful! Unfortunately, it’s possible that some events will be rained out so check their social media channels and your email. Typically, event coordinators are careful to keep vendors informed of any changes.
Prepare To Socialize
Some vendors are surprised by how much event guests want to speak with them. Customers will probably be curious about your process, how long you’ve been working on your business, and whether you sell your goods in stores or online in addition to in-person vending. You also may meet fellow vendors who are curious about your work! Be open and friendly; You’ll attract customers this way, and potentially make friends too!
If you’re just starting out vending at craft fairs, keep pushing forward! With experience, crafters and artists can turn their vending side hustle into a full-time career. Just as you hone your craft, you’ll also hone your vending skills and become better at it as you go.