- Find local craft shows, farmers markets and festivals in your area. Check out local newspapers to find events that showcase local artisans and vendors. You can sign up to be a part of those events or go to talk to the vendors and find out where the next event will be and get a feel for the markets and how much traffic they attract.
- Get a feel for your market before you dive in. The first craft show or market you attend will be full of unknowns. You won't know how the consumers will react to your product or if you will be left with nothing on your table or be packing up the same amount of items you came with. To avoid a huge loss, try to start out with the smaller events and work your way up. That way you can get a feel for them, what people like or don't like about your products and if they will be profitable for you.
- Bring photos of your work. If you can't bring a sample of everything you make, have a flip book at your table for people to see your selection. This will lower the risk of showcasing products at the sale that people may not be interested in.
- Ask for feedback. You can usually get a pretty good idea of what people like and don't like by watching their reactions and listening to their comments. But if you want more reassurance, ask them. Strike up a conversation with the shoppers that visit your table and let them know this is your first craft show or you're a new company and see if they have any feedback or tips for you. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, have a comment form at your table that people can fill out anonymously and be entered to win one of your products. Once you get an idea of what's working and what's not, adjust your products accordingly.
- Have contact information accessible. Keep a stack of business cards with your contact information on the corner of your table. There are many people who frequent craft sales without the intention of buying. But if they see something they like, they will more than likely go home and check out your website or contact you to find out where they can buy your products.
- Look at it as a learning experience. You're not going to walk away rich from your first craft sale but you will gain some knowledge. Whether it turns out to be profitable or not, use it as a learning experience to decide what you may do differently in the future or if you want to focus on an entirely different market.
If you have a handmade product you are thinking of selling, craft shows are a great place to test the waters. They can bring you face to face with your buyers and bring up opportunities like working with other vendors or meeting shop owners who may want to carry your product in their store. Whether you are looking to make some extra income for the month or start a new company, they are a great place to start.By Erin L Mooney