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Craft Fair Fever: What to expect, what to bring, and how to accept mobile payments!

May 27, 2014

by Anna Denise handmade and vintage goods

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!”

Etsy UK Wedding Event (‘13)

Etsy UK Wedding Event (‘13)

 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! 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 Here

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.

Visit the PayPal Here website to take advantage of this offer now.

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!

The new PayPal Here Chip & PIN reader

The new PayPal Here Chip & PIN readerRachel Law:

“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.


  • ique1

    Monique Patel from queenofhearts39 said 5 years ago

    Brilliant news!

  • Agasart

    Aga from AgasJourney said 5 years ago

    Great and inspiring post. Thanks for sharing!

  • crujita

    Anna Pasco from PercyandEve said 5 years ago

    Fantastic, can't wait to use one !

  • rachellock17

    Rachel and Mike from KampyVintage said 5 years ago

    We often overlook craft fairs as another opportunity to gain sales, yet again another helpful blog Thank You!


    G Vega from GVEGA said 5 years ago

    Great and inspiring information. Gracias :)

  • SheDidItOnPurpose

    Katerina Kraenzel-Paneras from SheDidItOnPurpose said 5 years ago

    All of the tips in this post are spot on. Whilst you may have thought of most of these things yourself it is always useful to be reminded of them and to be prompted to do something different. PayPal Here is a great innovation!

  • helpmovingtocal

    Jim Thomas said 5 years ago

    Awesome.., Great information.. :)

  • holaweg

    Suzy from holaweg said 5 years ago

    I really want to get into doing more craft fairs, it's just finding the time and making enough stuff! Need to learn how to stretch a few more hours in the day somehow.

  • SewTotallyCreative

    Chelsea Gallagher from PrettyByChelsea said 5 years ago

    Great info!!! I've only done a couple fairs, and I LOVE doing them : )

  • leahrosedesigns

    Nora Hessayon from leahrosedesigns said 5 years ago

    I love fairs but they can be so hit and miss even with the best research. I do love them and try to look at them as a networking opportunity rather than a selling outlet -that way I am not disappointed. Some great tips. I have a large fair in a few weeks, my first one this season so I will bare all this in mind.

  • LaGala

    Gala Rael from LaGala said 5 years ago

    I've been doing craft fairs for years, and all of the above is great advice. I'd just like to add, bring duct tape, paper, tacks, sharpies etc. there is always a moment, when something won't stand, drape or display the way you want, and there's nothing like industrial tape to save the day!

  • lexireidstudio

    Alexandra Reid from lexireidstudio said 5 years ago

    In Canada and the US, another good mobile credit card option is called 'Square' which uses a dongle (love that word!) which inserts into your iPhone/iPad - it was started by the entrepreneur who launched Twitter, Jack Dorsey. I use Square at all my art/craft fairs - quick, easy to use and only a small amount is taken off per transaction (no monthly fees).

  • irene666

    Irene from LeSirenes said 5 years ago

    Very precious information!

  • mellcn

    Maya-Luu Jewellery from MayaLuu said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the info :)

  • knotnstitch

    KnotnStitch from KnotnStitch said 5 years ago

    Great info, we have just partiipated in our first craft fair and it was truly a wonderful experience getting to interact with buyers and also other sellers.

  • textilechicken

    textilechicken from textilechicken said 5 years ago

    Love craft fairs,great for feedback on items. Flask of tea essential in my case. Thanks for the tips.

  • cathpaperart

    Cathy from SeaMeadowDesigns said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the very useful info :)

  • bonbonjewelleryandc1

    Samantha Western from BLITSGEMS said 5 years ago

    i am thinking of closing my shop and doing more craft fairs as i get more buyers when im actually out there showing my things in reality.

  • andymarles

    Andy Marles from ShandyArt said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the tips. Will be trying out the craft fairs this summer

  • ydomfeh

    yvonne domfeh from YveDAccessorize said 5 years ago

    great info i love doing craft fairs just wish i had more time to do them

  • zizolabel

    zizolabel from zizolabel said 5 years ago

    thank you for sharing, very recognizable. After a year of skipping out on fairs, I'll think I'll try some this summer...

  • wearthou

    Shirley from wearthou said 5 years ago

    Great tips! I create a spreadsheet with my list of things on the same page as my inventory selling sheet. That way I won't forget like mirror, small calculator, pins for tablecloth, duct tape, etc...I can also add on the list if I think of anything else I need for next time or if I see a great idea from other sellers. ;D Best tip is remember to have fun. While sales might be low for any number of reasons, you're still networking and sales can come even after the craft fair ends. Most important of all is to smile and be engaging but not overbearing! Good luck on the craft fairs!!

  • tara284

    Tara Werner from WiredByTara said 5 years ago

    Lots of great input from everyone! I attend 4-5 farm markets weekly in July & August. Take all the items suggested, if possible. Some days sales are low, but since I always pack along something to make, the day never feels wasted. Also, that tells people that my items are truly handcrafted by me. I find inspiration being outside, at the market and I have made things I would never have thought of because of customer input. It has given me the confidence to do custom work since my first season. I have also gotten quick feedback if something didn't work and a chance to try to correct it.

  • mjallen3

    Michael Allen said 5 years ago

    Great article those post cards are to die for! amazing! I'll have to order some online. Mike from

  • BeHappyDaily

    BeHappyDaily from BeHappyDaily said 5 years ago

    Eyecatching product packaging, and inventive product signage which clearly marks your stall into legible dispaly areas will entice a potential buyers eye around every available inch of your pitch. And also ensures each individual item sings as a solo act, and as part of your complete ensemble.

  • BeHappyDaily

    BeHappyDaily from BeHappyDaily said 5 years ago

    The pretty front-of-house work makes all of the parcticalities worth sweating for!

  • salllman

    Gulabo from Cooldesires4u said 5 years ago

    great article !!

  • houseofcally

    houseofcally from HouseofCally said 5 years ago

    Great article, thank you for all the tips :)

  • SimplyCcrafts

    Cheryl from SimplyCcrafts said 5 years ago

    Very helpful thankyou

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