1 – Clear, branded signage
Many people dislike having to ask the price of something, so ensuring that your items are clearly priced could well help sales. It is one of the biggest reasons for losing sales (see my article 8 Things NOT to do at a craft fair to find out some others!)
It is worth taking the time to create proper pricing signage to use at your craft fair. Obviously some items will be individually priced but other times it is convenient to have a small stand-up sign indicating the price of a group of items.
You may want to consider having a sign with the name of your business on it. Options to consider are banners, to hang behind or along the front of your store, signs that stand-up either on a stake in the ground or smaller signs that go on a small stand on the stall itself . Companies like Vistaprint are able to make this sort of signage very professionally, and economically. Or you may be able to make your own.
2 – Dress smartly, be well presented
I strongly recommend giving a little bit of attention to your personal presentation when selling in person.
Dress in a manner that suits the location you are selling in, so a smart outfit is probably best for a high end craft show or art gallery, but (clean) jeans and sweater is usually fine for a farmers’ market or local craft fair.
The priority here is to look clean and professional. I know that I have personally been turned off buying from a stall holder because they looked dirty: which did not reflect well on their products, or basic standards, at all.
Ensure your hands and fingernails are clean!
If you sell jewellery then wearing a few samples of your work not only shows confidence in your products but can often be a talking point and conversation starter. By the same logic, it may be best not to wear prominent pieces of jewellery by other creators.
3 – Have business cards or literature on hand, plus pen and paper
Sometimes a visitor to your stall may wish to buy something but has not got the necessary funds on them right that moment. Therefore if they can take your business card or a leaflet about your products they can visit your shop online and order from there.
Some sellers like to create little flyers with details of some of their items, for customers to take away for later reading. This can work very well if you offer personalized items via your website. The stall visitor is made aware of the service and takes the flyer to read about the options. They then log in and follow your instructions to order their personalized item.
Also ensure you have a notebook and pen available. Trust me, if you don’t have one.. you will wish you did!
4 – Have appropriate float
It is very frustrating to lose a sale because you don’t have adequate change to give to the customer. Always try to bring a decent quantity of float (change), customised to reflect your pricing structure. If you can’t give the right change you may have to give extra or lose the sale. Asking a visitor to come back later when they/you have the right money is not only annoying for the visitor but also often going to result in their simply going away and never coming back.
So if you have a lot of very low priced items (under £1 / $1) then you will need plenty of coins to give changes for the inevitable notes you will receive. If your items are higher priced then you may need larger notes for change.
It seems to be something of a fact of life that the first person to visit your stall will probably hand over a £20 note and be buying an item costing £1!
Be sure you have made a note of how much float you start off with. If you have to add any more during the day then note this too. Then you will be able to take the float from the final takings to know just how much you actually made.
Remember to keep money to one side if you need to pay for your stall on the day! See my article on Paying for your craft stall for more on that subject.
5 – Use all your area
Take time to plan your stall so that you use the space as well as you can. If your stall looks attractive and all the items are clearly visible then it is more inviting to encourage people to come over and have a look, plus they are more likely to spot what they want to buy!
Consider things like not having delicate items at the front of the stall, where small hands can reach them. Sometimes it is possible to group items next to things that compliment them to boost sales, such as having necklaces near to matching earrings.
There are loads of brilliant ideas available for ways to display different types of items. Try searching online for display ideas for your particular type of products.
I use a mixture of commercial display stands (such as the greetings card rack in the picture below) and home made solutions (using my mum’s brass fireguard to display magnets and earrings).
Have a look at my article on A stall dress rehearsal for more ideas.
6 – Be prepared!
If your stall is going to be outside and there is even a tiny chance of rain, make sure you have a plastic sheet or similar to cover your products before they are damaged! I have seen many very upset stall holders who have been caught in a sudden heavy downfall and have not had anything to protect their stock. They hastily start gathering stuff into boxes, but even with the help of other stall holders some things invariably get sodden.
I have a simple, thin plastic sheet and I also bring some clothes pegs (clothes pins) so I can easily fix it around my stall. Because it is quite thin plastic visitors can still see the items through it so I can actually continue to make sales during rain. I just have to grab the item out when a customer wants it. Once the rain has stopped it is quick and easy to flick it off again and roll it up for next time.
Here is a link to my free, printable Craft Stall Checklist, to help you remember everything you need on the day.