The Etsy Blog

Rocking Holiday Craft Shows handmade and vintage goods


Dear Sellers,

Julieincharge and I are off to spread the word about Etsy at Renegade Chicago this weekend, so we have craft shows on the brain. Before we depart for Chicago, we want to help you, dear sellers, get ready for your Fall and Winter craft shows too! Read on and join us September 11th, 2008 at 4pm Eastern in the Online Labs for a live discussion on this topic.

First of all, if you haven’t done a craft show before, talk to someone who has. The Forums are a great place to start. This 19 page forum post was chock full of great tips that I’m going to reference in this article!

Your Booth

There are many things to consider when planning out your booth set up. First let’s touch on display.

littleputbooks says: Use height to fill your booth and attract attention.

I could not agree more! Use risers (how about the boxes you’ve packed your merchandise in, covered with the same cloth you use for your table?) to create different heights. If you have all your work lying on the table, only a few people can hover over your items at a time. Having different levels allows you to be seen from further away and by more people at once. One little trick?  Use magnetic clips or hooks to attach to your tent’s legs and hang packaged merchandise from them. I’ve also spruced up these metal legs with flat magnets with my business logo printed on them. Then people can easily grab your info on the way out — and a magnet is something they are less likely to just toss in the trash.

Now what about you? Does it matter how you put yourself on display? YES! Here are some tips from the Etsy Forums:

molecularmuse says: Oh, and… have an opening line/greeting. (I usually ask if the person wants a free molecule temporary tattoo…)

LittleBirdhouseStore says: Be happy regardless if you are selling or not. I just did a show this weekend and the lady across from me was not doing so well and you could tell it on her face. NO ONE went in her booth because she looked grumpy. So smile, smile, smile. Also know what you are selling, be able to answer questions. “I don’t know” doesn’t cut it when someone is asking about something you made.

ktracton says: When someone compliments your work, do NOT say “Thank you”! That is a conversation stopper right there. Say, “yes, these are great because…(insert reason here)”. This keeps the conversation going and you may make the sale on issues they were initially unaware of.

countrywindows says: I use a director’s chair if I do sit down. People can come up to you and talk to you eye to eye, because the chair sits up so high. A lot of people slump down in a lawn chair, and to me, a customer may think that you don’t want to get up and [therefore] don’t [want to] bother you; I can almost be standing up in a director’s chair.

One last tip for your booth: hide your junk!

hairflair says: Have your table covers go all the way to the floor, so you can use underneath for storage.

Want to see what other people are doing with their craft show booths?  Check out this Flickr group, Show Me Your Booths. You can also look up the photos from previous year’s shows to get some inspiration.

What to Pack

If you are doing an indoor craft show, first of all, thank your lucky stars! You’re only going to need to pack a small percentage of the following:

  • Pens, markers
  • Paper (scrap and nice paper for signs)
  • Invoice book
  • Scissors
  • Labels and price tags
  • Tape (EVERY KIND YOU CAN THINK OF: double sided, duct, scotch, packaging. If they make it, bring it.)
  • Mini-first aid kit (band aids, pain relievers, eye drops, antacids, etc)
  • Tools (screwdriver, hammer, pliers, wire, zip ties, aka The Crafters Need to Have Supply!)
  • Weights and tarps for your tent (Tip: bring milk jugs and fill them with water to use as weights)
  • Apron or waist pouch for change
  • Plenty of change to put in your apron or waist pouch
  • Wet naps and hand sanitizer
  • Water and snacks

Here’s my personal tip: Leave your dog at home. I brought mine once to an outdoor show and shoppers would come to my booth and start looking at my work until…they realized I had the cutest dog on earth sitting at the booth.  And then they would forget about how much they wanted that bunny necklace and pet my dog instead! Rover can be a serious hindrance to your sales. (I would think a really cute baby would be the same way.) So if you have to bring your baby, child or pet, try to make them look less cute! Unless you sell clothing or accessories for these little creatures, in which case:

littlehanddesign says: I design children’s clothes so I TAKE ORDERS! I bring a fabric sample book for ideas & a BIG photo album of past sets & I take orders, hand out tons of cards AND parade cute girls around with cards in my sets to mingle :)

Cash or Credit?

You are going to want to have lots of change on you, especially if you only take cash. Also, decide before you go if you are going to accept checks. It can be awkward to think about this while you have the customer and their checkbook right in front of you.

What about credit cards? Is this your first craft show? You might not want to invest in a credit card service this early. If you’ve done a few shows and know this is the right route for you, think about using a service through Paypal or Propay to accept credit cards.

AliciaBock says: At my last show 80% of my orders were paid for by credit card. I never had to make change.

Have another service you use to collect credit cards?  Let us know in the comments below!  This is a hot topic in the among craft show discussions.

Your Inventory

I found some really great tips in the previously mentioned Forum post about inventory. I’m telling you, your fellow crafters are the best resource there is!

madebycarashop says: Don’t put WAY too many things on your table—it overwhelms. (I did that my first craft fair—people don’t know where to look.)

yippihippi says: madebycara, this is also something I’m learning (don’t put too many things on your table at once). I had some bottle cap magnets at a show in July, and people were crazy over them. So what did I do? Run home and make tons more, and filled up my magnet board for my August show. Not a single one sold. I think it was too crowded and there were too many choices. I also wonder if your items look a little more “exclusive” if you find the right balance of amount of product to display.

gentryart says: I sell my gourd art at a reenactment festival. Last year I had 3 or 4 gourds that I was working on, coiling on a pine needle rim. It takes about 30 un-interrupted minutes for a small one. Thank goodness I had helpers. Three different people stopped to watch and asked if they could buy the one I was working on—and later came back after visiting the rest of the show. It took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting to sell these. From now on I ALWAYS demonstrate.

bexcaliber says: Price everything and have lots of signs or information out and visible; people are shy [about] asking sometimes.

DawnLewisImagery says: The best tip I ever read was to have a draw card … like a giant crocheted squid!!! Something that’s not necessarily for sale, but is big and interesting to draw people to your booth. It’s a great conversation starter! You know people will ask if it’s for sale (even if they don’t intend to buy it), which gives a great opportunity to say “No, but his baby brother is.” 😀


Drop The Hint

If you’re doing a show after October 1st, I’d say it’s safe to start dropping the Winter Holiday hints. For one show I bought a mini-Christmas tree and tied my earring cards with ribbon and hung them all over the tree like ornaments. Little wintery touches can remind your shoppers that even if this might not be the perfect item for them to purchase for themselves, that it might be just right for their friends or family! I would also think about some great packaging and display one of your wrapped up items. That way it’s easy as pie to give an item from your booth as a gift!

If you want more tips and tricks for doing those Holiday Craft shows remember to come out to the Online Labs September 11th at 4pm Eastern! See you there!

Find More Craft Show Tips Here:

Penny-wise Product Pushing: Do a Craft Show without Breaking the Bank | How-to Get Ready for a Big Show with the New New Team | Find Your Local Holiday Craft Fair

  • funnyfinn

    funnyfinn says:

    great advice, since this will be my first holiday season doing some shows. Thanks for the tips and have fun in Chicago!

    7 years ago

  • barkingbirdart

    barkingbirdart says:

    Thanks so much for this article. My very first show is this weekend and I can use lots of these tips!

    7 years ago

  • OceanGrrl

    OceanGrrl says:

    i can't wait for my first show this year, thanks for all the advice!!!

    7 years ago

  • SnuggleHerd

    SnuggleHerd says:

    Just realized that I always just say "thank you" when someone compliments my work - and it IS a conversation stopper! Thanks, ktracton for the selling tip!

    7 years ago

  • Mimiandlola

    Mimiandlola says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful article! I found it to be very informative! Can't wait for the upcoming season!

    7 years ago

  • Hatdiva

    Hatdiva says:

    Lighting! Hampton Bay (Home Cheepo) has some great track lighting with individual 50 watt halogen. It works great if you can zip tie it to a booth structure indoors. Don't forget your extension cord! Make your tables taller by using pvc pipe 'extenders'.Introduce color to your booth, a colorful backdrop draws people. My booth is off white,pink and black. Don't forget flooring. A colorful rug makes all the difference. There are many choices. Try an inexpensive indoor/outdoor rug. The Crafts Report ( has great articles on this. Sept. 08 issue (pg 18) has a great article from a buyers point of view titled "Why I Didn't Buy Your Work". Savvy tips like "you were too busy to talk to me" and "you couldn't stop eating long enough to talk to me" will have you paying attention and incorporating many other tips. Page 50 has a great article called: "Booth Layout at a Craft Show". Some of these articles are sometimes offered on the Crafts Report site. So check it out! Mainly smile, and make people feel welcome. My goal is to have everyone leaving with a smile on their face. I've been doing shows since 1991, and routinely make over my booth. Find my show booth in the Flikr booth pool!

    7 years ago

  • PickalaPoopa

    PickalaPoopa says:

    to take credit cards i set-up a merchant account at my bank (need both state and fed tax id #'s). it was quick and easy and only $7.50 a month fee.

    7 years ago

  • Hatdiva

    Hatdiva says:

    I forgot to add, babies are very distracting! I took mine to a few shows when she was 3 and 4 months old. One customer was very understanding and waited 10 minutes (for a big purchase!) while I changed a monumentally poopy diaper behind the booth! I did get somewhat overprotective. At one point I snapped at a well meaning grandma-y lady. It was a bad, low moment! Overall though people loved that I had a pack n' play travel bassinet in there. They all wanted to hold her....and many fellow artists comisserated thast they had "been there" years before.

    7 years ago

  • EyePopArt

    EyePopArt says:

    Great article! Thanks for the link to the flickr group. I love looking at other people's booths.

    7 years ago

  • petalandpink

    petalandpink says:

    Great information here, thanks!

    7 years ago

  • FluffyFlowers

    FluffyFlowers says:

    Totally groovy info. The Plush Team will be at booth #70 this weekend at Renegade. Stop by and say hey :)

    7 years ago

  • moogancreations

    moogancreations says:

    please stop by and see us at the plushteam booth! we have over 30 fabulous etsy plush designers contributing to make our booth the coolest tent in chicago!!! there will be ten of us on hand to meet and greet you personally!

    7 years ago

  • smashgirl

    smashgirl says:

    This is a great article! I'm planning on doing a show soon so these are very helpful tips, and I love the flickr pool for booth ideas!

    7 years ago

  • loveoneworldzero

    loveoneworldzero says:

    Thanks for writing this article, I'll have to file it. I can't wait until we do a craft show, they look like so much fun!

    7 years ago

  • CircaCeramics

    CircaCeramics says:

    Yay Renegade Chicago!!!!! smashgirl is right - that Flickr group is awesome! If you have a shot of your booth setup, please join & add it to the pool: Sometimes that bit of visual aid helps tremendously. See you all this weekend! -Nancy

    7 years ago

  • wartpiggydesigns

    wartpiggydesigns says:

    Fantastic tips. Thanks so much!!!

    7 years ago

  • amypanda

    amypanda says:

    Great advice and perfect timing for me...I'm doing my first real craft fair this sunday and now I feel really prepared!

    7 years ago

  • kittycrossbones

    kittycrossbones says:

    How do you take credit cards by paypal at a show??

    7 years ago

  • neawear

    neawear says:

    Ohhhh nice article!! I wish I knew the "do NOT say "Thank you"" thing last year! But i'll make sure to try to apply it this year :) Thanks so much!

    7 years ago

  • hadleygetscrafty

    hadleygetscrafty says:

    Great tips. Thanks for the gentle nudge that it's time to start thinking about getting our shops ready for the holiday season, too!

    7 years ago

  • neawear

    neawear says:

    I'd like to know that too, Kitty! :)

    7 years ago

  • smurffmouse

    smurffmouse says:

    How do you outsell like 7 other people that sell the same items you do. Like soy candles and then they put you right next to one booth that sells the same thing.

    7 years ago

  • hopestreetdesigns

    hopestreetdesigns says:

    Great advice. I did one show in the past and wish I had some of this information ahead of time!

    7 years ago

  • penguinandfish

    penguinandfish says:

    Great advice. I've never done a show before because it always seemed overwhelming. This article was a great read.

    7 years ago

  • misscourageous

    misscourageous says:

    I second the raising your tables with pvc, and having the tablecloth all the way to the ground, and I now swear by my cash apron. I went through Costco for my credit cards, I process them on line as soon as I get home. You forgot to mention the all important guest book, have people give you their e-mail so you can notify them of future events! I just finished doing Boise Art Museums "Art in the Park" and I'll be doing a local street fair with my street team starting tomorrow, can't wait to share the team pics with everyone!

    7 years ago

  • MissEmmasCloset

    MissEmmasCloset says:

    great information. i am doing my first craft show in about 12 years. i am a little out of practice, the refresher course was great! thanks so much, and for the links as well.

    7 years ago

  • myelegantmuse

    myelegantmuse says:

    to take a credit card through paypal at the booth, you need to get all the credit card information and enter it online when you get home. You need address, phone number, (you'd want these anyway just in case) the full card number, expiration date and the verification code on the back (just the last three digits, or 4 if it's AmExpress). I used to do this a lot, and it works great but make sure to get all the contact info in case something happens and the card wont go through. A lot of people use their debit card, and sometimes when they've been out at the show shopping all day there just isnt quite enough cash in the account. hope that helps! Sorry I missed the show!

    7 years ago

  • thepaperplayground

    thepaperplayground says:

    thanks for the great tips... i will be doing my second craft fair in november. Must get busy :)

    7 years ago

  • ArleenDesign

    ArleenDesign says:

    Great tips! I will definitely get ready for the craft show i'll attend this Oct. and Nov. Thanks etsy!

    7 years ago

  • popsiclestick

    popsiclestick says:

    As far as credit cards go - if you have to enter info later, take the time to type up a "form" for yourself to fill out - several of these to a page. Three hole punch them into a 3-ring binder or other official looking something (so people don't fret) and you're set. No forgetting a number. If something goes wrong, you have the contact info at your fingertips. Same with a guest book - whenever you have time, make a note about what that person bought. Take it home and use it. There are all kinds of free relationship management(!) databases online. Use these to build customer profiles and also to keep track in case there's a quality issue, you have an upcoming event, etc.

    7 years ago

  • VintageMafia

    VintageMafia says:

    great article! I'm hoping to enter into my first craft fair this year and i'll definitely be referring to this page for tips.

    7 years ago

  • tanisalexis

    tanisalexis says:

    I'm loving popsiclestick's note above - Thank you! the directors chair, the 'do not say thank you' ALL GREAT! I did notice that if I stood behind my table people felt on more equal connection with me and I made many more sales than when I sat down in a wee chair hiding behind my table. best advice I have is... When being a Buyer at a craft sale, observe everything! Who has traffic? why do think they have traffic? what makes you uncomfortable (like frowns or grumpy people) and what makes you focus on certain artists? (is it their art? or is it their smile and friendliness?) These things all lead to your own performance as a Seller. best wishes to everyone!! xo!

    7 years ago

  • ModFarmgirl

    ModFarmgirl says:

    What a great article! My mind is FULL of ideas I want to try at my next craft show. Thank you so much!!!

    7 years ago

  • GMIstudio

    GMIstudio says:

    Great advice !! thank you for the info , its hard when you do not have an idea of what you need to do !!

    7 years ago

  • MagnoliaFern

    MagnoliaFern says:

    Thanks, my first craft show is in a week! I'm going to keep smiling and hope I learn from the event. Selling is just a bonus for my first show ever.

    7 years ago

  • NaturalUniqueJewelry

    NaturalUniqueJewelry says:

    Excellent tips, thank-you! I enjoyed reading about making contacts and lists and keeping in contact with them by sending 'thankyou cards' and invites for other shows!!

    7 years ago

  • lorilooms

    lorilooms says:

    Wow! Such great stuff! My next show isn't until Thanksgiving weekend and I"m dying to try all of this great info out!!

    7 years ago

  • alwaysadorable

    alwaysadorable says:

    so much help in the nick of time. I have a show in three weeks and feel much more prepared now. Especially on the customer service end!!! Thank you, thank you!

    7 years ago

  • girlmeetscraft

    girlmeetscraft says:

    Excellent tips! Very true about not looking grumpy or tired. Its amazing what a smile and a greeting will do. In regards to the "do not say thank you" to a compliment: What I've learned from working in retail and sales for 14 years is to instead, take the compliment, say "thank you", then ask an open ended question like "Is this a gift or for yourself?" and/or add a great feature or benefit of the product. example, this bag is machine washable, so it's great for a busy lifestyle!

    7 years ago

  • bobetsy

    bobetsy says:

    yay - very helpful article! getting ready for my first bazaar (yikes) -- and so so helpful. i'd never even thought about being able to use paypal to take cards at the show... great help. thanks!

    7 years ago

  • BubbleyBoutique

    BubbleyBoutique says:

    I do craft shows all year long! The next one will be the sonora cheer holiday Boutique Sat 12-6-2008 9am-3pm Sonora High School 401 S. Palm St. La Habra, Ca Rain or shine completely indoors- Free admission I do take my pet along,only to the park Boutiques when I sell "COZMOS KANINE KRUNCHIES" Take a friend along with you to watch your things in case you have mother nature call.Make your self an apron or T-shit with an Iron-on with your Shop name and web site for ETSY shoppers.with every purchase have pre-filled bags that have a flyer and thank you stamp on them and maybe a little flower or a sticker with your shop label!E-mail all your friends and invite them to go!send them an e-vite!Make friends,be kind and curtious with your neighbor vendor,you may see them again at another show or they may know someone in your circle and you don't wan't to burn any bridges!

    7 years ago

  • craftyfolk

    craftyfolk says:

    oh my, I'm so guilty of the "thank you"! hmmm. that's a tough one.

    6 years ago

  • strawberryjayne

    strawberryjayne says:

    Awesome tips, thanks!

    6 years ago

  • dsenyo

    dsenyo says:

    I like the tip "don't respond THANK YOU when someone compliments your work". It's so important to engage in conversation with the customer.

    6 years ago

  • QuiltFinger

    QuiltFinger says:

    Great tips here! Now I know what pitfalls to avoid and how to make sure everything goes smoothly!

    6 years ago

  • CreateInPaper

    CreateInPaper says:

    I have been doing craft and trade shows for more years than I like to admit on most days. One of the most important things is lights. Many exhibitors at some craft shows never bring lights. Their booths just look tired. Find creative ways to display your items - jewelry such as earrings, pendants, etc., frame a piece of screen to hang your items from or black velvet with a cushion to backing to pin the items to for display. I agree with the use of a directors chair or even a stool that helps you during the day and gives you height.

    6 years ago

  • LondonParticulars

    LondonParticulars says:

    Great article, lots of important points!

    6 years ago

  • stampsstitchesnthing

    stampsstitchesnthing says:

    Thanks for the great info . . .as i am getting started, this has been a wonderful resource!

    5 years ago

  • simplytess

    simplytess says:

    such helpful info!

    5 years ago

  • alankarshilpa

    alankarshilpa says:

    So many great tips for Craft fairs. I am going to have one tomorrow:-)in Orinda Community Center. I use Pro Pay for credit card. Worked fine so far. Did any one use solar lights for display yet? I had seen they have out in the market. Would be great for those tents that do not have electricity.

    5 years ago

  • HazelnutDesigns

    HazelnutDesigns says:

    Sweetttt!!! I'm doing my FIRST craft show on Dec 4th and I'm kinda freaking out! I love the idea of going vertical and I may have to figure out a way to do that!!! GREAT TIPS!!! Need to read all the comments too :-) THANKS SO MUCH!

    5 years ago

  • creationsbyingrid

    creationsbyingrid says:

    Great Article, can use some of these tips. thanks

    5 years ago

  • PLJohnsonGlassArt

    PLJohnsonGlassArt says:

    Good Article with lot's of helpful information!!

    5 years ago

  • ikabags

    ikabags says:

    Great advice , thanks so much !

    5 years ago

  • DaniCalve

    DaniCalve says:

    Thank you for the info on the credit cards. I just did a craft fair and I took cash and check only and want to get a portable device to take credit cards for more sales in the future. Good luck to everyone doing a show!!! They are fun and a great way to sell. :)

    5 years ago

  • amysfunkyfibers

    amysfunkyfibers says:

    Thanks for the tips. Also if you sell something that is wearable, make sure you are wearing it!Bring a mirror too,people really want to know what something looks like on them.

    5 years ago

  • fatdogbeads

    fatdogbeads says:

    that was simply outstanding! Clear, concise and whetted my appetite for info to look further into some of the links you suggested. Great job! And THANKS!!!!!

    5 years ago

  • jguilddesigns

    jguilddesigns says:

    Some great tips, thanks for sharing!!

    5 years ago

  • deepfried

    deepfried says:

    Great stuff! And don't forget attractive / fun lighting! :)

    5 years ago

  • HandmadeByKat

    HandmadeByKat says:

    Some great advice. I will try not to clutter my table next time. I always worry that I won't have enough inventory and then each year have more than I can comfortably display. At my last show I had hats in a bin on the floor next to my table. Not good. You're right, too much is overwhelming.

    5 years ago

  • WATTOonline

    WATTOonline says:

    Great article! One of the most important things I've found is to have a beautiful or interesting booth. Your items can be great, but if your booth isnt' inviting you won't get anyone to come in. We hang curtains on both sides of our front tent. We have gotten people to come into our booth (like the senior crowd) who never would have since our booth is full of skulls and big metal belt buckles, but they are drawn in because of our curtains and our table skirts. We don't just use sheets to cover the table we made actual form fitting coverings with different textures and fabrics to make it interesting. Also, can't stress having postcards with pictures of your work, and business cards. We also have mini catalogs. WE give away a ton at shows and often get sales after the show due to this. WE also have a large book full of other metal creations that JOn makes as well as postcards and business cards set out on it's own coffee table and have gotten large custom jobs from this. Much easier than bringing his large pieces to the show. Also, blow up pictures of your items in use and hang them around your booth. Plus we have a scratch and dent section. Our items are made of metal and get scratched up if dropped on cement which occassionally happens at shows. WE put those in a special section and make a sign that says Scratch and Dent and charge up to 75% off. We've made a ton of money on items that otherwise would be useless and lots of people don't care if an item isn't perfect.

    5 years ago

  • divacraze

    divacraze says:

    thank you so much!!! I am doing my first show next weekend and need all the help i can get:)

    5 years ago

  • kindersoaps

    kindersoaps says:

    These are so helpful, thanks to everyone for all your ideas! I'm bringing my 6-month-old along with me to a craft fair this weekend and after reading your suggestions to NOT do that (I'm still breastfeeding and Reuben may not have enough milk in the freezer stored for him if I stay apart from him all day), I was thinking: I could make a sign and stick it on his playpen on the market day that says, "Baby is not for sale!" It could add a bit of a laugh and (hopefully) get potential buyers to pay attention to my soap again.

    5 years ago

  • carleeglass

    carleeglass says:

    Love your suggestions. I am doing most of them after help from my son who does window displays in New York. I also add small, colorful signs at Christmas shows reminding folks that their in-laws, babysitter, mailman, teachers and others who might like a piece of my stained glass. Many people remark about the reminders and buy.

    5 years ago

  • NewBagsByAnOldBag

    NewBagsByAnOldBag says:

    marking to read later, thanks!

    5 years ago

  • summersunjewelry

    summersunjewelry says:

    I wish I'd read this article last week! I did a craft fair a few days ago and used the "thank you" conversation killer a lot. However, most people said the pieces were pretty as they kept on walking--kind of like an "it's nice, but don't talk to me" defense. Anyway, I use Square to take credit cards. It works on smart phones and the iPad. There's no monthly fee and it makes for a really convenient cash register since you can also input cash/check sales and your client can have a receipt emailed to them.

    5 years ago

  • KingOldham

    KingOldham says:

    Great article- Thanks for the tips. I'm attending my first craft fair Renegade Los Angeles on Dec 11th & 12th 2010

    5 years ago

  • remaker

    remaker says:

    For credit cards... If you have an iPhone look into iSwipe by appninjas. A .99cent app and a few minutes to set up allows you to take credit cards using your existing merchant, Paypal included! Cards are approved (or not!) on the spot with no fees. Sweet!

    5 years ago

  • AlikiBags

    AlikiBags says:

    Sooo many super tips, THANK YOU! I will especially take the tip about overloading the display to heart! x

    5 years ago

  • ksjewelrycreations

    ksjewelrycreations says:

    In the age of smartphone, you should know about Square. This app is available for Android and iPhone/Pad, and allows you to accept credit cards via your phone with NO monthly fees. You just need to apply like you would to any service and once you are approved they even send you a free card reader that plugs into the headphone jack. Now that being said, the one charge I've processed so far wouldn't read with the swiper, but I typed the number in manually and taking credit allowed us to snag a multiple item sale at a holiday show where sales were scarce! No electric outlet or internet connection required either! Highly recommend Square (see your app store or for sure for the hobbyist, when paying a monthly fee to accept credit just doesn't make sense.

    5 years ago

  • Girlontherocks

    Girlontherocks says:

    The absolute best tool for processing credit cards at craft fairs is Square. It is a credit card swiper that plus into smart phones and ipads. The fee structure is a really great deal (better than propay and paypal), and you get real-time approval.

    5 years ago

  • MakingHappy

    MakingHappy says:

    I just started doing shows this fall, and on the advice of a friend, bored a pair of old, weathered, shabby-chic-ish shutters to hang things from with S hooks. Worked beautifully and gave me extra display space and height! Thanks for all the tips! Great for a newbie like me!

    5 years ago

  • looploft

    looploft says:

    squareup i dont know if it has been mentioned yet...i just heard about this service for credit cards. they give you a gizmo that attaches to your IPHONE or swipe the card through the gizmo and then the transaction goes kind of like it does when you buy something from the apple store...transaction fees are cheaper than paypal i think + no monthly fee! my next show does all the transactions for the venders so i will look into squareup after the holidays :)

    5 years ago

  • ClayLickCreekPottery

    ClayLickCreekPottery says:

    Been doing shows for about 10 years my last one for the year coming up in 2 weekends. Thank you, Kraction! love the tip of: When someone compliments your work, do NOT say "Thank you"! That is a conversation stopper right there. Say, "yes, these are great because...(insert reason here)". This keeps the conversation going and you may make the sale on issues they were initially unaware of. I WILL have to come up with more lines to say!

    5 years ago

  • DunHorseDesigns

    DunHorseDesigns says:

    I've never been a vendor, but as a shopper/artist (who always wanted to go take a stab at selling at a show!) I have noticed the thing that keeps me interested in a shop are uniformity and price. your items don't have to be the same but should look like they all "belong" together. And as far as pricing, I think a variety is nice. sometimes I have money to spend, sometimes I'm looking for a bargain, so having some of each is definitely nice. The thing I have noticed that drives me away from a booth is inaccessibility-- too many people hovering and I can't even get there to see anything so I don't bother. I think if these booths had used the higher tables or some creative displays that people in the "back row" could see, it would have been easier. just my 2 cents. also I've seen a lot of teenagers/husbands helping man the booth who you can tell just DON'T want to be there. That's discouraging too. maybe they need a pep-talk or some other incentive. thinking of trying a couple shows this year, need to get my inventory up first, and this article is very inspiring! :) good luck all!

    5 years ago

  • BonTons

    BonTons says:

    Great advice for markets at any time of the year!

    5 years ago

  • InspiringInterludes

    InspiringInterludes says:

    Thanks for the great article and links. I plan to start doing shows this year so the timing and info is priceless!

    5 years ago

  • knockknockstudio

    knockknockstudio says:

    Thanks for putting this all together! I agree - have something big to draw people in. You'll sell less of your most expensive or bigger items, but it's always what people ask about first.

    5 years ago

  • atomicblue

    atomicblue says:

    Traveling Rhinos! My fiber hero...that girl goes to every craft show. Good for her, representing yarn & all.

    5 years ago

  • atomicblue

    atomicblue says:

    VIRTUAL TERMINAL via paypal. It works with your phone, though I've heard of other apps.

    5 years ago

  • Alexavier1

    Alexavier1 says:

    I love this tips. I am getting ready to do a craftshow too..: D

    5 years ago

  • spoolandsparrowshop

    spoolandsparrowshop says:

    I recently received my Square card reader to use with my iphone for credit cards transactions at my first show in about 2 weeks. Haven't tried it out yet, but the apparent ease of use and the rates made sense to me. I'll have a tiny space and had planned to fit as much as possible. I appreciate the advice to not stuff in all I can. Makes sense. Thanks!

    5 years ago

  • WhenGuineaPigsFly

    WhenGuineaPigsFly says:

    ooh this is awesome! I wish I had seen this sooner. I just did my first very small-scale craft fair this past weekend and it was a success! I just wanted to add on the whole credit card thing, I got a credit card reader from Square ( that plugs right into my iPhone. I don't know if it works with other phones or not, but it is the coolest thing EVER. I got to try it out on one customer and she was so tickled when I had her sign my phone with her finger hahah. So for people who are just starting out that want to try the credit card thing without a lot of fees.... ohhh lordy I JUST looked at the comment above mine and they are saying exactly what I just said. hahaha Well, here's another testimonial to how awesome it is!

    5 years ago

  • TheCallingBird

    TheCallingBird says:

    Awesome article! Can't wait to incorporate some of these tips into our first craft show in early December!

    5 years ago

  • jacklack

    jacklack says:

    Thanks so much for the tips. I will be doing my second show next weekend. I learned so many things from my first show and your tips. I figured out that people really like to touch and feel the items you are selling. I had all my items just on the table and not at different heights. Kneedle Pet is a fun, effective way to organize knitting needles and crochet hooks. I think I have found a creative way to display my items.

    5 years ago

  • missruthieb

    missruthieb says:

    Love the advice! Gotta get creative about displaying TONS of headbands. I think I'll go with the shutter and S hook idea. Maybe frame a screen and set on a tall easel. Now off to research Square for credit cards. Thanks!

    5 years ago

  • missruthieb

    missruthieb says:

    Sounds great! Gotta figure out a way to display TONS of headbands. I think I'll go with the shutter and S hook idea or frame a screen and place it on a tall easel. Now off to investigate the Square app for credit cards! Thanks everyone for sharing tips.

    5 years ago

  • WATTOonline

    WATTOonline says:

    Thanks for the tips on SQUARE and ISwipe. I'm looking for an excuse to get an Iphone. This may b just what I needed.:)

    5 years ago

  • RaskolInkLLC

    RaskolInkLLC says:

    Square is awesome! I just got it for my Iphone and it is a great deal and convenient. Being able to send your customers receipts for cash and card is definite pro. ClayLickCreekPotter: I also think not saying "Thank you" is a good tip. It is so automatic a reply from me, but having something to add to their complement instead I think is better.

    5 years ago

  • zehland

    zehland says:

    Thanks for the advice. I've done so many shows, but some of these things I had not thought of! Great tip about not saying "thank you" when your work is complemented.

    5 years ago

  • VintageNook

    VintageNook says:

    Thank you for the most informative advice. I will be attending a show in two weeks. I will try to follow all the tips you outlined.

    5 years ago

  • VintageNook

    VintageNook says:

    Thank you for the great advice.

    5 years ago

  • strawberryoaks

    strawberryoaks says:

    thank you for all the great ideas. my sister and i (teaandwhimsy) are going our first show next week and any and all information is helpful. i love the guest book idea.. and open ended questions in response to compliments.

    5 years ago

  • RingsofDesire

    RingsofDesire says:

    Excellent ideas...especially the Squareup info for credit cards...the tube idea to raise the table is really effective...I know I don't like to bend over for anything! Not saying "thankyou" will be difficult when you are trying to be polite, but I do understand the rationale..changing behavior takes time and practice!

    5 years ago

  • retroelegantjewelry

    retroelegantjewelry says:

    I am participating in my first craft shows next week and I loved your advice. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    5 years ago

  • FGMBoutique

    FGMBoutique says:

    I accept Paypal through my website, but how can I use it at the craft shows? I am actually getting ready to be a steady vendor at the local flea market/craft show place here local. Plus I have 3 crafts shows coming up. thanks

    5 years ago

  • twitchandwhiskers

    twitchandwhiskers says:

    The tips and advice were great. What's tricky is deciding how much to invest for first timers (time, money, promotion). What do people do for signs besides banners?

    5 years ago

  • Tchoupuce

    Tchoupuce says:

    Thank you...oh oh I should not say that !! good advice, I use the Thank you ... always :( I just checked the Square app...that is just what I need ! thank you all for the tip. Only problem, I don't have ipad, ipod or iphone, but my hubby has one, do you think I can use his just for my shows? Couldn't find any answer on their website. Same name, same account, but it's MY business. Does somebody has an answer for me? Thank you all.

    5 years ago

  • GreenGrin

    GreenGrin says:

    It is tricky knowing how much to invest in the booth display and promo items. I just keep slowly adding items every few shows; that way I have an idea what I NEED or what would look good or make things easier. A recent excellent addition was a tall, narrow, open shelf. The added height allows me to display items at different levels and looks great! As one kid exclaimed, "Look, Mom...a tower of Stuffies!" For the next show, I plan on attaching a small flag to it, hoping to catch shopper's eyes from a distance. I just keep improving my display bit by bit. Also, smiles and genuine warmth towards the customers go a looooong way!

    5 years ago

  • SaharaAmaya

    SaharaAmaya says:

    Very helpful article, I always say thank yo uand that is definately not helping me sell! twitchandwhiskers : I did an iron-on transfer to my white table cloths with my logo, name and "Handmade in Salt Lake City" to drive it home that I'm offering handmade items, not the same imported crap everyone else is selling. FGMBoutique : Paypal has a terminal thing you can apply for to run your sales online without a terminal. It does have a 2-3.5% fee and $30/month but if you are doing shows a lot, with internet connections, this is a really great way to take payments and not loose out on sales.

    5 years ago

  • EnergyDrawings

    EnergyDrawings says:

    Great article. I just attended my first craft show and I used Square with an iPod Touch; just to let you all know you don't have to have an iPhone to use it! :)

    5 years ago

  • ScrapHappieAZ

    ScrapHappieAZ says:

    Thank you so much for the information

    5 years ago

  • HauteInteriorsLLC

    HauteInteriorsLLC says:

    Thank you for the great tips. Some things I never thought of. Will be putting them to use mid-December at an outdoor market.

    5 years ago

  • peonylovespink

    peonylovespink says:

    Very helpful! I'll be referring to back to this article whenever I do make it this far!

    5 years ago

  • thesoftcity

    thesoftcity says:

    Thank you so much for the helpful pieces of advise. I'm doing my first craft show in 2 weeks - yikes! Its been a crazy marathon of work preparing over the last month to have enough product available. So, one piece of advice I've learned (so far) is to chart ahead to a potential craft show and work backwards to see how much work will be required. I've been working at about triple my usual pace to get ready and its been a bit of a strain. I'll be ready and I'm excited but, whew, I'm putting the sewing machine through the paces! Poor thing....

    5 years ago

  • jubilantwares

    jubilantwares says:

    Thank you for all the advice here I just got a square and used it on my husband's ipad and it was great. I have a craft faire this weekend and so want to use it but don't have an iphone (yet!!!) can't wait to use it though

    5 years ago

  • goodnaturedonline

    goodnaturedonline says:

    Great tips, I did my first craft show a couple of weeks ago, learned a lot from fellow crafters. Our booth was the best, and I'm not just saying that...everyone told us so!! We got height with two ready-made garden trellises each side of the table, then bridged them with 1"x2"'s. I hung a jute 'washing line' and hung kids clothes with wooden pegs.

    5 years ago

  • Macaroni29

    Macaroni29 says:

    Awesome tips. I will definitely use these ideas when I do a craft show! I especially loved the idea of using height on the display table. Great idea.

    5 years ago

  • FrivolityNow

    FrivolityNow says:

    Fellow etsy craft're GENIUSES!!! I was going back and forth as to whether I should venture out as a vendor to my very first craft show next week.....and after reading this, I'M DOING IT!!! So many of my concerns were addressed here and I'm bootlegging everyone's great ideas. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

    5 years ago

  • piecemakerjewelry
  • zaumstore

    zaumstore says:

    Any advice for crafters who want to accept credit cards on the spot but DON'T have an iPhone or Android? Great article!

    4 years ago

  • shaw007

    shaw007 says:

    I use SQUAREUP on my Droid to accept credit cards. Quick, easy and free set up. minimal charge per transaction.

    4 years ago

  • mydanimonster

    mydanimonster says:

    My first street fair was last week. I prepped, fretted, and drove my honey crazy. I used all the advise given and when the day came, I was ready. The set-up was a piece of cake since we practiced and had lots of help. I had varying height and professional signage plus t-shirts with my logo. We still only broke even though. Why? I didn't check out the event before forking over the high booth cost. It was so close to my house and I heard it was popular, but we didn't get much business. After some contemplation, I realized that the venue wasn't for us. We got a lot of looks from the conservative crowd because my helper has a mohawk and tattoos. Never mind that she did half of the jewelry and all of the cute crocheted items! I mean, the women that did stop for just a moment did nothing to hide their disgust - two even had the nerve to approach my friend about her choice of hair. It was a learning experience. Now that we've got more experience, we're trying out a more liberal crowd. Remember to check out the place BEFORE going. Set a sliding goal for how much you want to make/sell at this event. Be available to answer questions and try to offer a special just for that event. It usually helps the folks seeking 'deals'. We like to use "for every $10 you spend, get a $1 off - in increments up to $200" with a QR scan code linking to my FB page - it helps with exposure.

    4 years ago

  • mydanimonster

    mydanimonster says:

    Oh, and leave some table space for you to do business. I was so concerned about table space for jewelry, that I forgot to give myself about 1x1' space to make change and write things down. DUH ME!

    4 years ago

  • GarbogeKnits

    Sharonlee from GarbogeKnits says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your great tips. It's a great reminder...... I forgot some of them. I so appreciate the fun convo's. Lots of sales and happy holidays to one and all.

    3 years ago

  • pastormomof5

    Deborah Gildart-Hanks from DebsCustomCreations says:

    I use Square for credit card purchases - use it with your smart phone, you can either use a plug in swiper, or enter the info. by great!

    3 years ago

  • brandtbraverman

    Brandt Braverman says:

    Square is great but there are arguably better, lower priced alternatives... I found that Phone Swipe has a lower rate and no addl. fees... It also has "store and send" capability. If the location you are selling in does not have cell service this feature really comes in handy. I don't believe Square has this capability... You will never lose a sale with Phone Swipe. I would highly recommend this to any business owner. To check out Phone Swipe go to

    3 years ago

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