Market Success Series Pt. 1: How to prepare for a craft fair

This is my second year setting up shop at maker markets and craft fairs. It took me a while to convince myself to do them. Setting up shop at markets, fairs and pop-ups has grown my business so much, but the prep before my very first market was intimidating. I searched for display ideas and tips and didn't really find much. 

There aren't too many business owners who want to share their tips and tricks online. I get that. It takes so much time and effort in finding the best resources and we don't want anyone to copy our look. 

I don't want to grip too tightly to all the lessons I have learned while running my own small business especially in prepping for markets. I would rather share my insight to set someone else for more success than my first run. 

I will share a series of posts with you to help your prepare for and have a successful market experience. This part will include resources, tips and photos for inspiration to help you prepare leading up to your event. 

how to prepare for a market, craft fair or pop-up - small business tips

Things to do before the market:

  • Purchase a tent for an outdoor market. Here are resources for tent and accessories needed -  tent, tent walls (for shade and in case of rain), tent weights.
  • I like to have two tables for display options. You never know what size each market, fair or pop-up requires or has space for. I have both a 4 and 6 foot table. 
  • Make sure to have table cloths or some sort of table covering. I have seen sellers have wooden top tables where a cloth isn't needed. I like these because they don't move in the wind or shift as people shop my tables. Choose colors and a look that fits your brand. I lay down fabric on my tables to add some color. 
  • Prepare a cash box with change for customers paying with paper and not card.
  • I have a sales tax license and pay quarterly taxes, but I also register for the event, charge tax at the event and file at the end of each market. I would do some research to see all that is required. 
  • Make sure to have your logo printed or designed to display at events. I had a friend make my amazing logo using canvas. 
  • Find or shop for decor pieces that add to your display and products. Often times I just use what I have in my home. I usually bring a planted succulent or fresh flowers to add on my tables. I like to make my booth homey since my brand is about creating and giving joy! 
  • Make sure your products are packaged with a professional look. All my cards and prints are in clear sleeves with descriptive labels that are branded. If you need help with design in creating branded material or labels, just send me a message. I would love to work with you! 
  • Use chalk boards of all sizes to price and label product. I use a chalk pen and when it's time to write something new, I have found a magic eraser cleans it the best! 
  • I always have a stack of business cards and a promotional piece to hand out to all shoppers and customers. Make sure your card includes information on how to reach you online and where to shop online! I also like to include one more piece of marketing material. I usually print a 4x4 card with a new collection or include a promotion to shop online. 
  • I purchased a smaller plastic bin to have a day-of kit on hand. In mine I have zip ties, duct tape, scissors, pens and markers, labels for pricing, string, magic erasers, shout wipes, paper towel, putty...
  • I didn't always have a rug but I recently purchased an outdoor rug from target and it's the perfect addition to my booth. I just spray it down with a hose after each market. 
  • I use a photographer backdrop stand to drape fabric and hang my logo. 
  • Think of ways you want to display your product. My main products I sell are art prints and greeting cards so I wanted to think of ways to display them so people can easily shop their favorite style. I also built peg board stands to be able to create gallery walls framing and styling my prints. Below are my favorite and helpful resources. 
    • for greeting card stands shop
    • peg board accessories: I use these to but cards in and these to hang other products
    • these are great to put art prints in
    • I use a magazine rack to display prints too

These are just a few tips to help you prepare for your market. Begin planning a month or so ahead. Give yourself time and practice your setup before the event. Once you love the layout, take photos and box away your product in a way that will be easy to unpack and display at your event. This will save you lots of time! 

If you have any other questions, please leave a comment. I would be happy to help. I will have be writing a few more parts to this for you that include more tips! 

Follow this board for more ideas. 

with joy,

Aneta

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