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Tips for crafty vendors this season!

After doing two festivals last weekend, I picked up some tips for future shows. Here are some Crafty Chica tips for vending this holiday season! Please add your own to the comments section!

1. Adapt your items and prices to what fits best with the crowd. Right now, people do want to buy, but they are choosing wisely. Just because your crystal sculpture has always sold for $200, doesn’t mean it will this year. So revamp it. Make a mini-version at a lower price point.

2. Have a good variety of prices. Our items range from $5 up to $100. This worked out really good because everyone could afford to buy something. Our $5 items are our wood magnets, they were a great takeaway for those who couldn’t afford to spend more. Average shopper spent about $25., but we did get a several whopper sales too!

3. Take credit cards. It’s OK if you don’t have a merchant account or machine. PayPal now has a virtual terminal, and there are several iPhone apps you can sign up for, like iSwipe.

4. Mash it up! One day I sold my ornaments four to a set and wrapped in cellophane. They had a higher price because I wrapped them all pretty in a gift box. Another day, I ditched the cellophane and allowed people to pick their own set, and I gave the option of only buying one (as opposed to a set of four). Same with the magnets. People handpicked not just one, but often three, four and five ornaments. For my $5 magnets, I offered “5 for $20”. This worked really well!

5. Surprise your repeat customers! If you are vending at a local show you do every year, come up with some NEW offerings. Competition is fierce, if people bought something from you last year and see the same things, they won’t buy again. But if you have all new designs – not just new colors, but totally unexpected items, you’ll keep their interest. That doesn’t mean to copy what other vendors are making, push yourself to be inventive and come up with something totally YOU.

6. Bring tools. I brought my tools to make my bracelets larger or smaller on the spot for customers with skinny or thicker wrists. I also brought clip earrings to switch out the pierced ones.
7. Visit the dollar store for small frames and stands. Use these to display prices or features of your work.
8. Do mind control over your customers! Great each person by looking them in the eye and saying hi. While you are saying hi with your mouth, send them an ESP message of “Buy something!” Hey, every little bit helps! 🙂

9. Don’t just sit there, share your story! You worked very hard making your art. The big event arrives and you just sit there and softly smile at your potential shoppers? No! Stand up, greet people, throw out a factoid about yourself or your work. For example :”We came up with that idea from a friend of our who loved cats…” or “My designs were featured in XYZ magazine this month…” or my favorite – “I watched two movies while I made that shadow box!” People love to hear the behind-the-scenes. Don’t go into overshare – “See this scar on my arm? I got it from making that item!” Keep it light and happy. Many times that is all it takes to make them say “Oh, I want it even more now!”

10. Don’t unnecessarily overspend. I used to spend a lot of time and money on packaging, and I skipped it this year (except for the ornaments at first). I put the focus on the pieces themselves. Lower your costs (and your customer’s!) by passing up the pretty printed bags, tags, cello wrapping, tissue paper, the color-printed backing cards. You are not Bloomingdales. You are an artist trying to make a living from your work. Skip the foo-foo details to save time and money. People are buying your art for the craftsmanship, not the packaging.
11. Bring a care kit. Pack a cello bag with pain reliever, antacid, band-aids, etc.

12. Come up with special offers. Offer coupons for your online store. Think like Sprinkles cupcakes and Twitter a secret word for a discount or free gift. Have a raffle.

13. Support fellow vendors. Make a swoop around to say hi and introduce yourself. Sometimes you can even do a trade. Remember, we are all part of one big community. The more that ALL of us succeed, the more opportunities there will be, and the longer we will all be able to make and sell our art!

14. Always be thankful. Even if people don’t buy something, thank them for stopping by your booth and let them know about your web site. You want them to remember you fondly to make them a loyal customer!

15. Bring a notepad. Take notes of comments and questions your customers make or ask. Jot down problems and how you solved them. That way you won’t forget at the end of the show.

– Bring plenty of change, lots of ones, fives and tens.
– Allow yourself a certain amount to spend on other booths. I always give myself $20. That way I don’t overspend!
– Always have a mirror if you sell jewelry.
– Make sure all your work is signed, bring a permanent marker just in case you forget.


Clever Halloween Costume Ideas



21 thoughts on “Tips for crafty vendors this season!”

  1. Great post, Kathy!
    I’ve done a few art fairs myself and you have given some wonderful tips! It’s always very helpful and so much fun learning new ideas!
    Christina 🙂

  2. Well, you’ve done it again! This article is so relevant and useful to me, a Market Coordinator and to my vendors! Thank you! I am putting the link up right now at http:??www.peterboroughdowntowncraftmarket.nning.com
    Thank you squared a million! lol


  3. Phoenix is very lucky to have you right there in their city. They must be knocking down your doors to connect. You make me want to move to your community, crafty chica. I hope to meet you some day!

  4. I tend to trade with other vendors a lot to avoid over spending. If others want to trade for something I have great if not that is ok. No preasure. At my last show I came home with lots of trades I will be giving as gifts this year 🙂

  5. Great post, great ideas. People are definitely still spending, but are more guarded so the lower price points are doing well. I’ve added many to my line.

    Also, the Jedi mind trick is golden.

  6. thanks for the information!!! I have a question for one and all…how do i go about finding crafting shows and events? i live in los angeles and evertime i google this, i get very minimal information…? help fellow crafters…

  7. I really enjoyed reading these tips. I have been a vendor for a few years now, but never stop learning. I agree about excepting credit cards, it has really increased my sales, I went with Propay that offers a yearly fee instead of a monthly, which is great for people like me who only get in credit card sales every so often.

    Eli commented about finding local craft shows, I like http://www.indiecraftshows.com/index.php! :]

  8. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing them!

    I like the idea of trades, but I’m not in a financial position, nor do I have enough inventory yet, to do it. Maybe in 2010, when I plan to kick things into a higher gear!

    Definitely agree with you on foregoing the foo-foo packaging to cut costs. I find that as long as the packaging is neat and consistent, it’s fine, generally. I make my price tags from old business cards so that, while they are not necessarily my BRAND, they at least give my items a consistent look. (Plus, recycling! YAY!)

    Jennifer Moore
    JenniferLynn Productions, LLC

  9. found the link to your blog article in a forum on etsy — thank you for the wonderful tips! i have a few bazaars coming up and i do them so seldom… that a brush up was just what i needed! i love the encouragement to quit “softly smiling”! oh, such good advice!

  10. My friend Classy Chica told me about you and I’m so glad and thankful that she did. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog! You are definitely my craft Hero! I am starting my crafting business and is working on a book as well. I think I found a new role model!!!! Thank you for your wonderful blog!!! I feel like a lost kid in a candy store…haahaa 🙂



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