Selling your wares at a craft fair can be a fun, thrilling experience, as well as a wonderful opportunity to talk to your buyers directly, gauge interest for new products you’ve designed, and to connect to other sellers in person. But craft fairs are rarely of the stress-free variant, and deciding what to bring and how to get organized (on time!) can be difficult.
We’ve reached out to a couple of craft fair pro’s, and asked them what to expect and what to bring. We also want to tell you about a special offer from our partner PayPal on their brand new ‘PayPal Here’ Chip and PIN card reader which enables you to accept card payments at an event, making life at the fair that much easier.
What to expect
Rachel Law from Arbee is a full-time Etsy seller from Belfast, selling her vintage-inspired stationery and designs both online and offline. “The direct contact at fairs is fantastic, especially where people will have no hesitation to tell you what they love, as well as what they don’t! The market where I sell, St George’s Market in Belfast, is an award-winning market with a real focus on local art & craft talent. It’s a great place for designer-makers to sell and show their work to both locals and tourists, and a lot of my sales on Etsy come from people lifting my leaflets from the stall!”
Not only are fairs a great place to meet your buyers, they can also be a good opportunity to test out new products. Rachel says, “I’ll often make a very small batch of new products to sell offline to see how customers react. If it’s good, I’ll then add the products to my Etsy shop as quickly as possible!”
However, craft fairs are also a lot of work, and it’s important to keep your spirits up! Nicole Doig from dotsnstripes advises: “Don’t get disheartened if your sales are not as you expected right away. If your product is unique, the word will spread and people will get to know you. Perseverance!”
Rachel agrees; “I wish I had had more confidence in my product and brand when I had just got started. Low sales or a bad day at a fair does not mean there’s a problem! It just means it wasn’t a great day or the right fair for me.”
Which brings up an important point, as Rachel points out, “It’s always worth checking into the organiser’s experience and ability too. In the early days, I did a lot of fairs that were poorly advertised, not well set up or attended and just cost me money. I’m very picky now with which fairs I’ll sign up for!”
What to bring
The Craft Fairs… It’s a Living Etsy Team is home to craft show vendors of all types. Discussions evolve each day on topics ranging from the finer points of tall displays to the best new mobile credit card processing device. The members teamed up to compile a packing list to help prepare you for your holiday selling events. Read on to plan what to bring for your display, for making sales, for your comfort, and for the great outdoors.
- Inventory – Bring everything you have, even if you think it might not sell. It might be just what someone is looking for.
- Displays and Signage – A visually appealing display will help you sell more product. Rachel Law suggests; “Presentation of both your stall and your products is essential – you can have the most beautifully made crafts but if your stall looks like no effort has gone into it, it just won’t encourage people to stop by your stall.” Take advantage of the space you have. Consider tables, tablecloths, drapes, and stands, and brand your booth with a banner or information about your products.
- Power Strip, Extension Cords, and Lights – Just like your product photographs, you want to ensure you are accurately showcasing your items’ colours and textures. Be sure to double check beforehand whether the fair provides electricity, of course.
- Business Cards and Mailing List Sign Up Sheet –Stay in touch with your new customers! Moo.com is an excellent resource for affordable business cards.
- Change and a Card Payment System, like ‘PayPal Here’ – Don’t miss a sale because someone doesn’t have the correct change or because your buyer doesn’t have cash handy. PayPal Here launched in the UK in 2013. It’s a pocket-sized Chip and PIN card reader that allows businesses to take card payments in person, anywhere. All that is needed is an iOS or Android smartphone, or iPad. Nicole Doig says “PayPal Here is a great help for taking payments as people nowadays take for granted that you accept cards. Also – paying by card means that customers are likely to spend more than if they paid cash.”
- Rolling Carts – Make it easy to load in and out.
- Receipt or Sales Book and Pens – It’s rare, but some customers insist on having a receipt. Make sure you’re keeping track of sales manually or with your payment device.
- Packaging Materials – Sales bags, boxes and gift wrap options keep customers coming back for more.
- Water & Snacks, a Chair, and a Personal Emergency Kit – There’s no reason to not be comfortable while you’re there.
- Craft Supplies – Take advantage of downtime to work on a project or make repairs if needed.
PayPal is offering sellers in the UK a discount on the PayPal Here card reader. Instead of the normal retail price of £99, you can buy it for £49.95 from PayPal’s new online store, or via the PayPal Here app. This special price ends June 30th 2014. PayPal Here is subject to terms and application approval and fees apply.
PayPal Here is quick and easy to use, as there’s no complex set up. Simply buy the PayPal Here card reader, download the free app (from the App Store or Google Play) to your iOS or Android smartphone, or iPad. Now link the card reader to your mobile via Bluetooth and you’re ready to take payments!
“PayPal Here is very convenient and it also looks much more ‘professional’ to be able to offer card payment methods to customers” comments Rachel Law. “There have been plenty of past occasions when I lost sales at the market because I couldn’t take cards. The commission fee on Paypal Here is low enough for me to have no minimum sale amount, a lot of customers ask if I’ll take a card payment for just one greetings card, which I’m happy to do. I always get comments on how great it is from the customers – they do trust the PayPal logo and it’s so easy for both the customer and the seller to use. Often that one card ends up turning into a larger sale!”
For additional details on the offer as well as more information about PayPal Here’s fee structure, please visit PayPal Here’s website.