It’s getting to be that time of year again where we are preparing for craft fairs and upcoming festivals. My husband Chris, with his henna art and myself with antinqued and refurbished items that I buy, make-over and flip. (which I didn’t do any of this year so all I have is what’s left over from last year). I am however hoping to get a couple aprons done between now and then and possibly a quick throw quilt or two.
I really dislike feeling rushed to get things done especially when I’m the one who’s procrastination is the reason for rushing in late in the game. I signed us up to do a festival with my friend Sicily in June for more of a Dad’s craft fair that’s Rockabilly themed and so I want to make some work aprons and men’s bbq aprons. I know I can get some things done in time to add them plus all the stuff I have from last year. Chris and I will be dressed up in Rockabilly style, (which is a pretty regular day for me, I dress rockabilly style frequently) it’s going to be a lot of fun, I’m really looking forward to it. Chris is going to make some things that the men might want to buy or that their wives might want to buy for them for Father’s Day.
We still have the white washed pallet coffee table and the bandana rag throw that I made which will brighten up and spruce up our space quite a bit plus our curtains and back drop curtains will add to the decor and set up we’re trying to achieve. When I’m planning large events like this I really try to focus on how my booth set up is going to generate not only the most amount of visitors and income it can for me but that people feel comfortable, can find what they’re looking for and don’t feel pressured.
TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR BOOTH AT A CRAFT FAIR
1. Organization: your booth must be organized in a manor that makes sense to customers, that is pleasing to the eye and is also easy for you to run. By this I mean you should be able to see everything in your booth so that you can keep an eye on your customers to make sure you are meeting their needs and your products to ensure their safety as you’ve worked hard to make them.
2. Inventory: you need just the right amount of inventory and the right kinds of inventory for a good booth. Your inventory should be different enough that you have a good selection of items, yet the items should compliment each other as well. The order you set your inventory up in matters as we go back to that organization area again, it’s important to have the right amount of inventory so that you have enough yet don’t have a cluttered over abundance of things. Know your inventory and also shop around with the other vendors and get to know their inventory a little bit, maybe you can help a customer find something that you don’t have. They will often cone back and shop with you because they were pleased with your customer service. By knowing your own inventory you will know right away if you have something or not and because you’re organized you’ll know right where to find it. This could bring in quite a bit more revenue by not losing sales and by finding the itens they’re looking for in a timely, organized manor.
3. Props: I noticed a huge difference in our sales once we took the time to really decorate up our booth and have fun with it. We used pretty sheets for back curtains, and burlap and lace as our front curtains that tied up to the sides of the tent. I use items I’m selling to create little areas as you would when decorating your own home so my customers can picure it in their home. If I’m setting things out on tables I use boxes or books under table cloths to put things at different hights, we use a lattice wall that my Father in Law built to hang things up on for display. We hang up lights and add decorations that we make.
4. Customer Service: knowing where to draw the line between good customer service and being a pushy sales person is very valuable knowledge. Many people don’t understand why their customers leave their booth so quickly. They are there to shop, get ideas for their own DIY projects, and spend time with who they came with. My experience not only in craft fairs but work and education experience as well has provided me with a range that works well for me. You have to find that right area that works well for you. For example: I’m a very high energy and loud person by nature and I’m a social butterfly, so I being my bubbly self say something like “Hi, I really hope you’re enjoying your day with us. My name is Elle (and if Chris is right there he usually introduces himself) and I say well please look around, ask questions, we do custom orders so just let us know if there’s anything we can help you with or anything you’re in the market for that you don’t see here, maybe one of the other vendors here have something that matches what you’re looking for.” Chris usually will say something about his henna tattoo art that he does and he has a binder of ideas and prices out so people can look and get ideas first. He also has a nice area set up to make his customers comfortable while getting henna work done. I might say more if they seem interested in conversation but I usually wait until they ask me something so I’m not the pushy sales person. Also if they offer up information about their life don’t try to ‘one up’ their story, even if you do have a similar story keep it to yourself or at least don’t try to make it sound like you are competing with them but more that you share something in common (many times when people have a common interest they are going to feel more connected to you but if they feel you are over powering them or competing against them they feel threatened or offended and will leave so nows not the time for that). Don’t talk about drama in your life, if you talk about anything talk about your business. Make sure you are not gossiping or complaining about anything or anyone when someone is within ear range of your booth. (Don’t say I don’t do that either folks! We are all guilty of it at least a time or two…even me). That being said, nothing turns me away from a booth faster than when the person running it is gossiping or complaining about anything or anyone, I will turn around and leave their booth even if I was interested in buying something. Try not to look bored, looking bored is a sign that you’re not enjoying yourself which gives off a vibe that you don’t care about your products, your time or your customers.
5. Have fun!: Pretty self explanitory one would think…however, many times we get wrapped up in the stress of getting everything ready and having it all just right that we forget to unwind that mantality to kick back and actually enjoy ourselves for a well deserved little bit. (Notice I say “little bit” here, I know as well as the next person we deserve one hell of a break with everything we put ourselves through, however I know it’s not feasible…the jobs not done yet). Whether you’re doing this just for fun or this is your fulltime job you really do need to make sure you’re enjoying yourself or you will come to resent it, don’t forget the reasons you started doing this and how much you enjoyed it in the beginning. The networking you did, all the new people you’ve met and new friendships you’ve made along the way, the goals you’ve reached and the things you’ve accomplished on this journey have been well worth those moments of choas we go through to get here!!!
Staying busy, happy, smiling, without complaining or gossiping, with a pretty organized and decorated booth will bring you monetary gain along with a fun day/event to remember forever, and if you listened and stayed organized packing up will be a beeze. Here’s where we are at with 2016’s Craft Fairs, Festivals and Events that we are signed up to do. I’m getting more and more excited for the Rockabilly Themed one we’re doing this summer!
Last year we did the Lavender + Vintage Festival, which was a weekend event during the Lavender Farms Festival Tour and we set up at one of the Lavender Farms in Newberg, Oregon for the weekend and also camped there. We had a blast and did pretty decent in sales as well. We also did a weekend Craft Fair camp out up McDowell Creek that was a lot of fun. We plan on doing both of these events again this year again. There is also one we are planning on doing Memorial Day. All of the Craft Fairs we are doing are with my friend Sicily from The Fancy Flea. She is amazing and inspiring! She has a shop in Lebanon, Oregon where she sells antinques, refurbished items, shabby chic and so much more; it is called the Antiquery. She is also an amazing Mother, wife and works full-time. She is a fearless leader when it comes to putting these events together, I can’t give enough praise and appriciation for all that she does! Thank you Sicily!
I’m also in the middle of making some gifts right now. I’m currently working on a quilt face for a queen size quilt. I have all of the squares sewn into strips and I’m about a third of the way done sewing the strips into rows to complete the front of the quilt. I’m making several aprons for gifts right now and I have a couple baby blankets to work on. Some of these items aren’t needed right away so that’s helpful.
We also needed a light in our entry way area (the area used to be our living room until my hubby rearranged the house and now it’s a lot more open, at least when my sewing mess isn’t right there of course). A friend of mine had an old baby crib spring board still connected to one of the wooden crib sides, but when I saw it I knew I had to have it! I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it and so she let me take it. When Chris took the wooden side off for me I spray painted the spring board heirloom white, then I wove burlap through each square, lace through each square of every other row and every other column and white Christmas lights along each row attaching them at the corner of each square with small pieces of lace. I picked up the large silicone coated ceiling hooks from Wal Mart (the boys painted them heirloom white to match the spring board for me) and Chris hung it where a light would normally be if centered in that room. It turned out so beautiful and shabby chic! It goes perfect with our rustic shoe rack made out of our repurposed wooden fence from the front yard.
I have that wooden side piece to that crib, the one that was attached to the side of the spring board; it would be perfect to sand down and paint the outsides, frame & legs with chalk paint and the inner square with chalkboard paint. It has two legs and is framed in, I could attach a folding leg in the back so it folds closed yet is able to stand on it’s own like an eisel. What do you guys think?
Thank you all for your love and support! Check out The Fancy Flea on my friends FB page Sicily Scott. Hope you all have a wonderful day and that you enjoy this post. As always I look forward to hearing back from you with feedback, questions and answers to my questions. Thank you all for following my blog, and sharing to get my name out there. Your support is much appreciated!