One thing that I really love to do, that my art enables, is being a vendor at craft shows. While it can sometimes make for a long day (especially if I find that maybe it wasn’t the perfect venue for me), it’s mostly really wonderful, because I love the chance it gives me to interact with lots of people throughout the day.
Being properly ready for a craft show can make a huge difference in your happiness on the day of the show. So, I’m offering up some ideas of things to make sure to bring along.
10 Things to Pack When You’re a Vendor at a Craft Show
1. Cash (and something to put it in). This includes lots of smaller bills and a variety of change. When I go to a sale, I include sales tax into the price of my item and make sure that it’s an amount without change. That way, I don’t have to deal with change all day.
Also, don’t forgot a cash box, money holding apron, or some other thing to hold your money in during the day. (I personally like kind of kitschy little metal boxes with handles, so I use either a Rocky & Bullwinkle one or a Hello Kitty one.)
2. A way to accept credit cards. This certainly isn’t a required item, but I have found that people are more willing, in general, to spend more if they can use a credit or debit card, rather than use the cash they have brought along with them. Most of my largest transactions that happened at last fall’s craft shows were all charged on credit or debit cards.
While there are many options for these types of devices that often work with a smartphone or tablet (like the iPad), my personal preference is for the Paypal Here. Before I used that one, I had another brand that I wasn’t as crazy about. But, the Paypal Here has worked well for me, I like that money is available right away in my Paypal account, and Paypal has become so common that people trust it when they see the name on the card reading device.
The Paypal Here is also available here to purchase, but then you get a credit on your Paypal account when you register it.
3. A helper, if possible. My favorite craft shows have been the ones where Eric has been able to hang out with me all day. But, even when that wasn’t possible, it’s always nice when he could stop by long enough for me to use the bathroom, get some food, and look around at what other vendors are offering (and maybe even make some purchases).
There was only one show where he wasn’t able to come, and I had to depend on other people who were volunteering at the show to watch my booth while I ran to the bathroom. (It was fine, but I still prefer leaving someone who would do transactions for me instead of just sitting at my booth.)
4. Snacks and drinks. It’s always nice to have some of your own snacks and drinks, even if there will be food available at the show. I’d always rather be able to eat at the show and have snacks to take home for later than to sit and be hungry all day.
5. Common medicines that you might need. On long days like craft shows, you never know when a surprised stomachache or headache might pop up. It’s better to come prepared than to be miserable.
I had one craft show where I forgot any kind of pain relievers and was at the booth next to some lovely German Baptist ladies hand making wreaths with live greenery. It was a great location because they got a lot of traffic, but some of the greenery they were using made my head feel like it was going to explode. Thankfully, it was only about 15 minutes from our house, so Eric dropped by with sinus medicine. But, it would have been better if I had had some right on hand to take care of it before it got as bad as it did.
6. Display materials. What a pain to arrive at a craft show, go to set up, and realize that you left some of your display materials at home! Yep, we’ve done that. Luckily, it was the night before, so I just brought everything with me in the morning. But, it was still a pain.
7. Business cards. These are great not only to have sitting out on your table for people to take who may not be buying that day, but also to throw into bags of people who bought items.
8. Bags for purchases. It’s all fine and good if you really need to give people things in bags that you’ve collected during your own shopping trips to the grocery store. But, that really seems a little more garage sale than craft show. I was able to pick up some great inexpensive bags before this fall’s shows and I still have enough left over for this fall too.
9. Extras of items that you are selling. If your items are not one of a kind, then it’s a great idea to bring along extras of items. However, one good method for this is to keep duplicates tucked away (maybe under your table) until something sells. Someone will be more likely to buy something that catches their eye if there is only one of them out, rather than possibly waiting until later if they see that are two or three available.
10. A way to record sales. Whether your method is a sales book, a notebook, or a tablet, it’s a good idea to record your sales throughout the day. Not only will you have a record for your taxes and for remitting sales tax (if necessary), but you can also noticed trends of what things sell better than others.
Have you ever been a vendor at a craft show? What tips would you offer someone who was a new craft show vendor?