Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Craft Fair Selling--"Don'ts and Do's"

Selling your handcrafted jewelry on line sucks big time! Why??? Because of all the time and effort that's needed to promote your wares to an unseen population of potential customers. And, because anyone else selling jewelry on line is doing exactly what you are doing. Competition is positively enormous. So, where else do we sell our creations? Well, private jewelry parties are great, but hard to come by. So, we turn to the "craft fairs", "handmade fairs", and the holiday fairs.Yes, the "fairs" they are a fabulous selling venue. The promoting for the event is not in your hands--ahhhhh, what a joy. And, a joy it is to be able to see your potential customers, to promote your creations in the "Flesh". Who better to promote your jewels than you, the designer.

Here's some "Don'ts" when selling at a craft fair:
1. Don't appear to be bored, negative, or unhappy--when you go to the fair with the attitude that you are going to have a good time no matter what.

2.Don't eat, read, or chat in your booth or behind your table when potential customers are around. Most likely a customer will walk right past you because they don't want to interrupt your activity. Hey, you're there to sell and to foster a relationship with new or repeat customers. Not possible when doing some other activity.
3. Don't create a display that is "over done"--placing everything you have on your table is too overwhelming--you know the saying--"less is better"--try to use your vertical space to your advantage.

4. Don't be controlled by your weaknesses--if you are not good at selling then challenge yourself in this area and if you are shy, use this opportunity to be more outgoing. Don't let anything be an obstacle to your success.

5. Don't sell the same old stuff. How boring for a repeat customer to see the same things on your table.
6. Don't purchase new things unnecessarily. You can reduce your costs and keep your inventory more streamlined if you save your extra beads, scraps from wire, and use them in a piece of jewelry.

7. Don't sell yourself short. Develop a pricing strategy that takes in account your material costs, your time, your overhead, and a percentage of profit. I a customer doesn't appreciated how much skill it took to made a piece, avoid being defensive--educate them.

Now, here's some "Do's" when selling at craft fairs:
1. Do choose your fairs carefully. If you haven't participated in a fair research it to make sure it is the type of fair for you. Check out "The Crafts Report" on line--craftsreport.com. You will get lots of info here.

2.Do have a mailing list and a marketing plan. Let past and potential customers know about your fair schedules. Success happens when you get the word out about your fair.

3. Do act pleasantly to potential customers and the "Fair Producers". If you are unpleasant when selling you will most certainly turn customers away. If you are unpleasant with the fair's producers then you might find that you will not be able to return to sell at that fair again.
4. Do think creatively about displays sales, raffles, coupons, and payment plans for your customers especially during these dificult economic times. If the overhead is too high then try to get a friend to share a booth with.

5. Do take a long view on success. If you have a less than successful fair--learn from it, try to improve. It is important to work to establish long-term relationships with your customers. One smart tactic is to set up a future sale.

6. Do have a next step strategy. When you make a sale let the customer know that you gaurantee your work. If customers need any adjustments or repairs let them know that they can call you to do the work. Also let them know that special orders are welcomed.

7. Do protect yourself from theft. Have a strategy to safeguard your work and your money. Be attentive to what is going on at your table or booth.

Hey guys, by no means is this a full list of the "Don'ts and Do's" for being successful at Craft Fairs. But it's certainly a good beginning!

Good Luck selling in the "FLESH"!!!

Okay--I'm finished for now...


  1. guess you had a busy day. you still make me laugh, and that is a good thing!!!!!

  2. Selling my jewelry at fairs brings me great pleasure. I get to meet the people the people that buy my jewelry and talk with them about how it is made. I get to promote in person--that is a total joy for me.

  3. I've never done a fair. This is great information. Thanks Margo!

  4. A nicely compiled list of do's and don'ts

  5. Thank you so much for writing this article. It sure has lots of helpful tips. libertydoll

  6. Nice article with great tips for selling in-person.

  7. This is great and very well written - I love the pictures of displays- this is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much.