How to set up for a craft fair or market:

by Isabella


Posted on October 11, 2019


You guys. I’m so excited about this post, because not only is it a great continuation of our talk about selling what you make at handmade markets , but this post marks a big business goal for me: my first ever VIDEO! BCC has made its way to YouTube, so there will be a video that corresponds with this post! So make sure you head over there and check it out!

But, if you for some reason hate videos, despise the sound of my voice and the look of my face, and don’t want to see me in action (hello, time lapse!) I will be covering quite a bit of the content here in this post! Like I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve been selling my crochet designs at markets and craft fairs in the fall/winters of the last six or so years and in that time I’ve really started to fine tune my booth set up and display- I say started to because I am constantly tweaking things! (Even since I recorded the video at the beginning of September, now that my season has started I have slightly adjusted some stuff in my set up to better work for me!)

I’m not an expert, by any means, at how to set up a booth or table for selling at a craft show, but I have definitely come a long way, not only as a business, but in how I set myself and by wares up at events to best represent myself and my brand, and to make that $$$$.

Like I already said, my set up varies a little from each event, depending on when/where it takes place (indoor versus outdoor), how much space I have at the event (one table, versus a whole booth/tent), and what products I want to specifically feature depending on the customer base at that event (a lot of kids? Christmas themed? Weather?). {For more on what I take into consideration before signing up for a event, check out last week’s post!}, but there a few general things I try to keep in mind in how I set up my booth for my craft shows!

branding!

Make sure whatever you put in your booth, whether its your handmade items or something for your display, make sure it represents your brand well! My business motto is “modern and vibrant crochet patterns and pieces”– I use a large variety of saturated, jewel-tone colors in my yarn choices, so I like to keep my display in keeping with a black/white/gray color scheme (which also matches my brand colors of black/white with the pop of foxy orange). Make sure you have some nice (clean!) table clothes in a color that works well with your branding. I use plain white, just because I have so many other colors going on in my booth, but I have a few black and white shower curtains and sheets I have also used as layers over the plain white cloths! Get creative! In addition to my table coverings, I make sure all my display items are in the same “boring” (neutral backdrop!) color scheme so that its my products that really pop! On my shopping list for next year is a white tent set up, rather than the borrowed blue, off-brand one I’m currently using! Know your brand and make your table/booth a accurate representation of it! Just like when you walk into your favorite store and it just has that “feel”– figure out what your feel is, and play into that when you set up for markets!

signage!

Definitely someway, somehow have your business name displayed clearly (more on how to pick the perfect name in this post!). In the past I have used a hand-painted banner that I made myself (peep that photo of my very first set up in 2013- back in the day when I was all amigurumi and cringy copyright infringement!), but depending on where I was located at an event, or what the weather was we ran into issue with hanging it up. This year I purchased a printed tablecloth runner with my name, logo and website on it from Vistaprint.com. I decided this was the best option for me because I can use it inside/outside/in my tent/on a single table/wherever with great ease of transport and set up. Vistaprint has lot of options for getting your name on ANYTHING- I actually really like their hanging vinyl banners, but I don’t always have the option to hang something. They also have some standing banners, but I was worried about wind at my outdoor events! Whatever you choose, make sure people know WHO YOU ARE! A teeny stack of business cards (which you also definitely need!) won’t cut it for getting your name out there!

pricing!

In relation to good signage, you definitely need clear and obvious pricing. Now, I have to say, no matter how obvious you make it, even if you have every price in massive, flashing, neon lights and arrows, there will always be a few people who will ask “how much is this?”, but you definitely need to do your best to make it easy and apparent for your shoppers to find all of your pricing with little effort! This year I made a price sheet on Canva.com, printed it off and framed it next to my check out area, but I also have individual chalkboard signs alongside every product type. I’ve accumulated the signs from a couple places, but Joann or your local craft store is a great place to look! Letter boards can also be fun, but in the past I have found that they are a pain to transport- often the letters fall out and ain’t no body got time for that on market day! In previous years I’ve also added price tags on individual items, but I found they they were both costly on materials and time, plus it was a pain to make sure none of them fell off or got rumpled in transport. Definitely take your different options into consideration, find something that works for you! Just make sure those prices are loud and clear for your customers!

ease of access!

When setting your items up, think about what would work well for people to be able to interact with them. You want to make sure people can touch or try on your beautiful items (ALWAYS bring at least one mirror- I have a standing and table mirror!) without feeling like that are “messing up” your booth. Avoid anything stacked in a way that a customer can’t access the item they want, or any sort of display that might cause someone to knock over something while reaching, etc. I employ a lot of baskets and crates to group like items together in a way that makes it easy for my customers to pick up and feel items, as well as easily find the color or size they are looking for! I also use a double barred garment rack to hang some of my neckwear. This year I purchased a bunch of bare wooden crates from Joann and painted them with some gray painted I already had in the garage, but in previous years I have used baskets and cubes from around my house. When I first started out I just wrapped some amazon boxes in pretty wrapping paper and used them to create tiers of items- you don’t have to be fancy or expensive! You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to make your booth look great, especially if you’re just beginning to do events! Shop your home for items to make your booth look inviting and cohesive with your brand!

layout!

Think about how your customers will be entering your booth or approaching your table at the craft show! Make sure how you set up your items will flow well with how those customers will want to shop! Like I already mentioned, make sure you have the items you want to really showcase in a visible and enticing spot (as my boy Dwight Shrute would say, “those are the money beets!”). Since filming the video, I decided to swap the location of my Puff and Pom Beanies , which are always a best seller, from the side table to the center of the front table so they are even more likely to be noticed! Put your hanging racks/mannequines/large displays in a prominent spot out front to draw those shoppers in (like a window display!). Put your smaller, “add on” type items near your check out spot so maybe you’ll be able to add on to that sale! If you have any promotional or sale items make sure they are in a spot that is sure to catch some eyes!

height!

This ties in with a lot we’ve already covered regarding crates, racks and the like, as well as ease of access, but in case you didn’t catch it, whatever you do, don’t lay everything flat on a table and call it quits! You absolutely must find a way to make whatever you sell stand up and stand out! For me, that means stacking the crates and rolling my Infinity and Beyond scarves (free pattern coming soon!) in color order, having the hanging There and Back Again Cowls and Granny Isosceles Triangle Scarves (free pattern!) rack, and putting some of my hats on stands (I mainly use wooden candle sticks!). No matter what you sell, make sure its not just all laying in a sad, flat pile! And again if you’re just starting out, get creative with items you might already have in your home! Small shelves, ladders, coat racks, pegboards, cubbies, baskets, anything to perk up those wares!

Clearly I am a big believer in having at least sort of a plan before you get to the event (hence why I am in my back yard with a tent and a camera!), especially if you’re newer to selling in person! I promise, there will be plenty to worry about day of without having to decide what goes where on your tables! I like to plan it all out, at least a general layout, at the beginning of my market season and just tweak little details at each event. It might be helpful to even take a few pictures, just so you can reference them later! Then I put everything in clear plastic bins (which I also label with the contents), and we pack most of the stuff into the car the night before so nothing gets left behind as we are hustling out the door! The beginning of my season (September and October) are all outdoor events in our 10×10 tent, but closer to the holidays I will be indoors and on a single 6 foot table for the majority of my events, so I will need to do another smaller scale mock set-up soon (anybody want a video?)!

Obviously my set up is what works for me and ultimately you need to find what works for you! My best advice is have fun and learn as you go! Even after years of doing it, I still keep adjusting my booth almost every single event in one way or another! Experiment with different set ups and see what works the best for your business and your customers! Pinterest is an amazing tool to search other maker’s displays for inspiration for what might be best for you and your products! In my research on setting up to sell, I also found this post from Made Urban (they have a lot of helpful posts and other resources, actually!) really interesting. It dives into some retail strategies you didn’t even realize your favorite stores were using on you that you can put to use for your business!

Hopefully some of this proves helpful in getting you set up for your events! I’m really hoping to start getting more video content out to your guys on a semi-regular basis, so make sure to subscribe and click the notification bell so you won’t miss any of it! I’d love it if you’d drop my a comment here or on Youtube to let me know what you thought of it! Happy market season, makers!

*major thanks, as always to my tech adviser and now video editor, JoJo/ Mr. BCC for making this YouTube content a reality!

craft business , craft fair display , craft fairs , craft show , Crafty Business Helps , handmade markets , handmade markets 101 , market display , market prep , market season , selling handmade , set up

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