Friday, May 13, 2011

Craft Fair Tips & Tricks : Guest Blog

A have another guest blogger today! Last Friday Claudia taught us about all things steampunk.  This Friday, Courtney has lots of tips and tricks to share with us about being in a craft fair.

Courtney of CMMJewelry has been crafting and making jewelry since she was little.  Along with a successful Etsy shop, Courtney also participates in local craft fairs.  I’ve helped my mom at fairs before but have never done it myself.  I was so glad when Courtney volunteered her expertise.  I hadn’t known Courtney or CMM jewelry at all before this post started – but turns out we graduated from college together! Small World! Courtney, please take it away!

Being part of a craft fair is an exciting part of my jewelry business. Not only is it an opportunity to make some cash, but it is great publicity and an excellent way to meet other artists.
Through online research I have found a lot of information on how to set up your booth to attract customers but nothing really about how to get ready for a show. I am a natural born planner and organizer, almost to a fault. Here is some information that can help you with the planning process:

When you're accepted to the show:
·         Start advertising! Use the shows brochures and fliers – many of them provide these, and don’t forget to keep repeating! Remind your Facebook fans weekly
·         Get a fan club! - It’s nice to have friends and family stop by throughout the day
·         Book a hotel - if the show is far away and packed with vendors, you don’t want to be caught without a place to stay.  Or just stay local, I typically stick with shows that are within driving distance.

Eight Weeks Prior to the show:
·         Get a helper!  I like to have an extra body or two at my booth. That way I can get lunch, take a bathroom break or just sit down and get off my feet for a second. I usually ask my aunt, mom and sister.  I usually thank them with breakfast or jewelry  
·         Is all about inventory!  I start creating pieces in bulk about two months prior so that I have enough pieces in stock. This grace period will also give you enough time to order more supplies if needed.  I also keep my inventory in its own special box away from everything else. It protects my jewelry and keeps me organized.
·         Make a detailed list of EVERYTHING!  I find that a basic spreadsheet is most helpful.
You want to capture descriptions, quantity, and selling price. Leave a few columns blank so you can check off if it sold or not.
·         Make a few order forms for custom or bulk orders

Four – Two Weeks Prior to the show:
·         Pack! I keep all my display stuff in a big Rubbermaid container, I’m always ready.  The best advice I can give about a show is to be prepared for anything. I did a bridal show recently and my table was placed in front of a large column. This was a great opportunity to hang my sign with the tape I had packed.
·         Read your registration info:  What is included at the show? Do you need to bring your own table and chairs? How much space will you have? Outdoors or indoors? Will you need a tent?
·         Business cards and packing supplies: such as bags, boxes, ribbons

Courtney’s Packing list
·         Tacks
·         Tape
·         String
·         Scissors
·         White tablecloth -  it won’t take away from the display
·         Six foot table
·         Two folding chairs
·         My jewelry making supplies -  then I can do a live demo, or if the show is slow I can make good use of my time

Use this time before the show to go out and buy whatever you think you need.

One Week Prior to the show:
·         Clean your car! Make room for your boxes, table and chairs. It is aggravating when you are trying to hustle into a show to set up and your car is a disaster area.

The Day before the show:
·         Go to the bank - I usually withdraw $60 because. Ask for small bills.

Morning of the Show:
·         Eat breakfast! A big one. You never really know how busy the show will be so it can be uncertain if you’ll get a lunch break. Also, get some bottled water.

During the show:
·         Enjoy! And observe customer behavior.

After the show:  At the end be sure to break down your booth in an organized way to that everything fits back into your boxes and in your car.

WOW – That was a ton of very useful information.  Courtney – thank you so much for sharing.  If you have questions for Courtney she can be emailed at  And if you want to see her in action, CMM Jewelry will be at the Dedham Open Studios this Sunday!

If you aren’t local – please be sure to check out all of Courtney’s hard work in her shop!

1 comment:

  1. Great advice! I especially like the tip to clean your car and make room for everything in advance. Anything like that that you can do beforehand makes the process go much more smoothly when you're rushed at the last minute.



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