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Team Tip: Taking Craft Shows to the Next Level

Nov 17, 2008

by sarawearsskirts handmade and vintage goods

Holiday craft show season is upon us again and we’re happy to hear of so many Etsy Teams and sellers taking part in holiday craft shows all over the world! Everyone loves a good craft show — chances to meet your favorite area artists in person, see and feel amazing handmade goodies as you buy them and opportunities to soak in the wonderful handmade community, but they’re also really great opportunities to market your Etsy shop. For tips from our wonderful community on Craft Show basics, check out “Rocking Holiday Craft Shows“.

If you’ve already got your booth set-up all figured out and you came up with a comprehensive checklist of things you don’t want to forget ages ago, here are some tips for taking shows to the next level. Below are just a sampling of way to use shows as a tool for developing a loyal customer base:

  • Reconsider your business cards. What makes your business cards stand apart from the giant stack of cards shoppers are picking up at the show? Check out the Don’t order another 1,000 business cards! article for ideas on creative promotional items. Or consider including an offer that shoppers will find valuable on the card, such as free shipping if they include the name of the craft show in their order or a small discount on multiple items ordered within a period of time. Also, be sure to include product images on your cards to make it super easy for people to remember what booth was yours. You can use the Etsy-Moo deal to get your listing photos right on the cards (more details here).
  • Collect email addresses! We’ve written Team Tips about this before, because permissions based marketing (which is when someone gives you their email address or other information, along with permission to contact them with special offers) is the best way to contact people you know are interested in what you are selling. It’s information sent directly to your target market, so it’s efficient and a good use of your limited marketing time. Be sure to follow up, sending out an email blast with links and beautiful images not too long after the event to jog people’s memory about the good stuff you have to offer.

A screenshot from Baltimore Etsy Team member JenMenkhaus‘s Etsy shop, showing a detailed item description for a felt flower head band.

  • Have information on hand! Print out nice copies of your most popular items’ Etsy listings and descriptions, or use screenshot images from your shop to have a small booklet printed up (try a service like, for example, for great professional results with little effort). This will give people something to browse at your booth, and give them great details that people often don’t think to ask at a show, such as washing instructions, tips on care, material content, etc. It’s also a great way to familiarize them with Etsy and your shop, making it more likely they’ll go visit it again when they’re online.
  • Talk it up! When you have a customer who is interested in your work, don’t be afraid to mention that if they go to your Etsy shop, they can find a wider range of colors, options, they can check out previously sold custom orders. Let them know that if they have an Etsy account, they can mark your shop (and others) as a favorite, so it’ll be easy to find again when shopping for gifts, etc. Mention that you accept many forms of payment in your Etsy shop, and they can make purchases at their convenience online.
  • Don’t forget your Etsy Team! You might let buyers know that they can find more great work from your Teammates for simple, easy one-stop shopping. For example, if you’re on a Team that makes pet items, when someone buys a collar for Fido, be sure to mention that your Teammate sells dog cookies that are perfect for obedience training. Bring Team business cards or promo items, and be sure to point out ways the buyer can find items from your Team online.

Most importantly, enjoy yourself at the show! Craft shows are a good way of getting feedback on your work, and nothing’s more fun than watching someone fall in love with your work right before your eyes. Be sure to introduce yourself to your crafty neighbors at the show, and do a little shopping and appreciating of the indie arts yourself!

For more Team Tips, please check the Teams Resource page.  Also, we discuss the Team Tips, news and ideas in the Etsy Teams email list! Keep up the great work, Etsy Teams!

Philadelphia, PA - Black Jet Set Journal and 4 Area Code Notes
Philadelphia, PA - Black Jet Set Journal and 4 Area Code Notes
The Swell Season, hand screenprinted gigposter
The Swell Season, hand screenprinted gigposter
Floating Shift Vintage Typewriter Key Ring by 19 Moons SteamPunk Industrial ECO FRIENDLY CHIC
Floating Shift Vintage Typewriter Key Ring by 19 Moons SteamPunk Industrial ECO FRIENDLY CHIC
Flirt Recycled Notebook
Flirt Recycled Notebook
Lace Collar
Lace Collar
One Inch Magnet Set - Japanese and Italian Florals
One Inch Magnet Set - Japanese and Italian Florals


  • SimpleTraditions

    SimpleTraditions said 11 years ago

    Thanks for all the great tips!

  • Valleycreations

    Valleycreations said 11 years ago

    Great tips! I'll be putting them to use this weekend!

  • hipclothing

    hipclothing said 11 years ago

    I have the OOAK Christmas show coming up November 27. Great tips to keep in mind. Thank you.

  • wildplummosaics

    wildplummosaics said 11 years ago

    I really like the tip at the end of the article of "supporting that which you are". As an artist I buy most of my gifts from other artists. And when I go to an art/craft show I try to buy at least one thing from one of the vendors. I know just how it is to sit at a fair all day long!

  • KathrynRiechert

    KathrynRiechert said 11 years ago

    Email address are indeed a wonderful thing to collect! Also you might want to offer some sort of gift wrapping, as most people will be buying for gift giving.

  • Arctida

    Arctida said 11 years ago

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing!

  • sarawearsskirts

    sarawearsskirts said 11 years ago

    KathrynRiechert, offering gift wrapping at a show is a wonderful idea!

  • dogties

    dogties said 11 years ago

    Nice tips, great items. We love craft fairs!!!

  • elisasherejewelry

    elisasherejewelry said 11 years ago

    Thanks for featuring TWO of my team members. Go B.E.S.T.! This article is a great reminder for taking it to the next level, right in time for MORE shows!!

  • HomemadeZen

    HomemadeZen said 11 years ago

    wonderful tips!

  • strawberryluna

    strawberryluna said 11 years ago

    SUPER tips Sarah & Danielle! I am always trying to do new things and mix it up at shows. Having a base-set of lists and needs are key to being able to have fun with everything else. Stress-reduction tips = a good show and time to talk with other crafters. I love the idea of a Blurb mini-book or 2 on hand for people to browse as well, you never know when something like that could come in handy. Thank you so much for the related item photo too!

  • PrettyMuchArt

    PrettyMuchArt said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the ideas! Got my 2nd show this weekend (and 4 more right after that) Love the gift wrapping idea!

  • AlloverArt

    AlloverArt said 11 years ago

    Ooooo, thanks for all the great tips! :)

  • kristensteinfineart

    kristensteinfineart said 11 years ago

    Great tips. Thanks!

  • emilybetti

    emilybetti said 11 years ago

    All great advice!

  • kristensteinfineart

    kristensteinfineart said 11 years ago

    wildplummosaics - I, too, try to buy from the other vendors/artists. Often they are willing to trade as well. This is nice...especially on days when the other foot traffic is relatively slow. :)

  • jenmenkhaus

    jenmenkhaus said 11 years ago

    thanks for using my image! i am so flattered!

  • sarawearsskirts

    sarawearsskirts said 11 years ago

    I'm so glad you all like the related items - they're each from sellers that were vendors at Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh this weekend. Enjoy!

  • Studio618

    Studio618 said 11 years ago

    Exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks.

  • mrsmaddenmakes

    mrsmaddenmakes said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the tips. I am now going to to see about doing a booklet. Great idea. I too also buy from other vendors at the shows. It is really nice to find unusual gifts and support the other crafters. Bought some lovely ear rings from Jody Dimes last week at a show in York, England. She is just setting up and has not yet listed on Etsy but you can contact her on 01904 670132. Have a great time at all your Christmas Fairs!

  • jibbyandjuna

    jibbyandjuna said 11 years ago

    "Talk it up" goes the other direction too. List the shows you will be at on your Etsy shop. Thats how I found about Holiday heap in Baltimore this past weekend.

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 11 years ago

    Great tips and that lace collar necklace is to die for!!!

  • Slowshirts

    Slowshirts said 11 years ago

    We can't say enough good things about blurb. We made a book of photos illustrating our process of the steps we take to make. It sits out for customers to look through and they really enjoy seeing how their item was created. We also have it for sale so people can give it as a gift with their hand printed item.

  • SquaresOfFlair

    SquaresOfFlair said 11 years ago

    Great advice, thanks!

  • sarawearsskirts

    sarawearsskirts said 11 years ago

    jibbyandjuna, listing your upcoming shows in your profile or your announcement is a wonderful idea! Slowshirts, what a great idea, having a book on your process available! These comments are wonderful - keep them coming!

  • AZCreativeStudio

    AZCreativeStudio said 11 years ago

    Great tips!

  • babeta

    babeta said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the ideas. I have done shows this years that range from a few hundred guests, to 110,00 yep, One hundred and ten thousand attendees. What a whirlwind of fun and excitement. This week-end I'll be at the Shopko Exhibition Hall (right next to the famous Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers). I constantly hand out my business cards, that include a mini work of my art on each one, and I also take time to explain to other women who are making handmade items how to contact etsy to become a seller. I've literally had people think that I work for etsy, that's how much I promote the site and the mission here. Well, only a few more shows until Christmas then it's...time to design. Hugs, Pam

  • HiccupApparel

    HiccupApparel said 11 years ago

    Great tips! Thank you so much!

  • HModine

    HModine said 11 years ago

    I agree with everything! Thank you!!! I have a show coming up this weekend and I am pouring over your tips!

  • crazy4wind

    crazy4wind said 11 years ago

    Great tips. I will be putting to use at next show! Thanks

  • StoryBookProductions

    StoryBookProductions said 11 years ago

    Just in time for my first show this weekend! Thank you for ideas I need to tie in my Etsy shop with the show.

  • oldworldprimitives

    oldworldprimitives said 11 years ago

    Helpful article, thank you! *bookmarked*

  • esmeraldadesigns

    esmeraldadesigns said 11 years ago

    Great tips! I do a lot of juried art and crafts shows and in addition to getting to know your customer, I find it very helpful to print out your bio and show schedule to hand out along with your business card. Also, for metalwork-jewelry which is my art I bring along tools and materials to personalize fit of necklace/earrings-this makes the difference between sale and no sale...the law of instant gratification. I also keep a journal to compare cost versus sales...a teeny show to benefit a local firehouse might cost $25 and give you $300 in sales versus an art show might cost $600 and bring in $'s very much of a risk benefit analysis

  • kaoruwerk

    kaoruwerk said 11 years ago

    great tips, thanks etsy!

  • darklingwoods

    darklingwoods said 11 years ago

    Thank you for the tips, I need to start a mailing list next!

  • hereandnowjewelry

    hereandnowjewelry said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the great ideas and tips. Just wonderful !!

  • amosaicstudio

    amosaicstudio said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the great tips! I need to get with it!

  • babycheeks

    babycheeks said 11 years ago

    These tips are all great! I even promoted my team's bloggy give-away at my last show and it was a big hit.

  • BrisStyleTeam

    BrisStyleTeam said 11 years ago

    Thank you so much for this timely Storque article. The BrisStyle etsy Street team in Brisbane Australia is hosting their very first Christmas Market on the 13th December and all these tips have come in mighty handy. I passed on this link to the 33 BrisStylettes who are taking there etsy shops to the community and we have just saoked up the information like hungry handmade sponges - he he! Thanks so much once again x x Helen

  • waisze

    waisze said 11 years ago

    i've been meaning to make a little catalog to give out at shows. thanks for the reminder, great tips!

  • SydneysDesigns

    SydneysDesigns said 11 years ago

    great tips, thanks for sharing this information

  • ItsInTheHANDBag

    ItsInTheHANDBag said 11 years ago

    Perfect timing! Thanks so much for the tips I'm going to Hermosa Beach, CA in 5 weeks

  • anadiazarte

    anadiazarte said 11 years ago

    Very nice tips!, thanks!

  • arainydaydesign

    arainydaydesign said 10 years ago

    great ideas! Thank you so much for your guidance and suggestions.

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