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Sales and marketing information and advice. Innovative techniques and thought provoking strategies for your craft business.




When you enter a craft show and take that first look around ... The sights, sounds, and smells are fun and exciting. The first decision is usually deciding in which direction to go first.That solved, it's time to explore - So much to see, so many booths to browse.

Most booths are so enticing, they practically reach out and grab you. Then there are those few that are passed by with barely a glance. How can they be so different ? They are at the same exciting show, the items are of excellent quality, so why are some booths not seeing the same foot traffic as the others ?

An investment in decor, a welcoming smile, items attractively displayed and highly visible, scent, sound, lighting, good layout, signs, every item tagged - all contribute to make a booth attractive and welcoming.

Display :

A white canopy rather than colored is a solid investment. You may think that white will get dirty, so a colored one is the better bargain - White looks lighter and brighter, and will show your items to optimum advantage.

Seasonal foliage, fabric, props, crates, baskets, bales of hay ... the ideas for use in displaying items are endless. Take a look at the window displays in local malls and shops. Many are done by professionals, you will come away with plenty of inspiration.

Shows can become extremely crowded, if your items are not visible to the person in the back of the crowd, you may lose a sale. Don't just place your items flat on a table, get them up where everyone can see them. Use all of the space in the booth, hang things, use boxes to create levels - get creative !

Scent :

Opinions vary on this one ... Scent creates atmosphere and attracts attention. On the other hand, some people are allergic. Your call.

Sound :

Holiday music in a booth selling holiday items - what could be better to get shoppers in a festive mood. But, if there is live music being performed, and music in other booths, it might just sound noisy. Depends on the show, and the booth location.

Lighting :

Good lighting is essential. If they can't see it, they won't buy it. Seasonal decor lights, display lights, or just plain sunshine - Use what's available to the best advantage.

Booth Layout :

Make it easy for shoppers to move around, and lead them where you want them to go. Decide where you are most comfortable - Do you want to be right up front demonstrating and chatting ? Or do you prefer to stay out of the way and let your work speak for you ?

Signs :

Banners and signs - Varies depending on show rules. A little sign encouraging spending is often used Two spotted : " Your husband called, and he said you could spend as much as you want." And- " Your husband called, and he said you could use the credit card." Or you may want to let your customers know that your items are "Handcrafted in the USA", or "All items handcrafted by the artisan".

Tagging :

Price clearly, always. If a shopper has to wait around to get your attention to ask how much something costs ... There is a good chance you will lose that sale.

And last but not least - Your personality. Not everyone is a natural at sales, but there are a few things that can be put into practice easily - A cordial "hello", good manners, a pleasant attitude, and remember to smile =-)


"Carol Gunkel / Professional The Craft Business Information Network all rights reserved.This article may not be reprinted, all or in part, without the author's express permission.


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It is a great article. We sometime get so busy with setting up the merchandise to think of decorating too. - crazycat917

I am both a vendor and occasional buyer. While attending bazaars this year, I was amazed at the number of vendors who never even acknowledged the presence of possible customers. A smile and simple "hello" would have been nice. If the vendor didn't acknowledge my presence (and others) I just walked on by their booth. - darlenetang

I was in the Display Business for a number of years & in trying to teach new vendors "Booth Behaviour" the effort of a truly warm smile, word of acknowledgement & displaying of goods were 3 very import items. I've seen so many craft people with excellent goods, but because they were either to busy to even nod @me or even smile, I've turned away & gone onto another more inviting booth. It pays to have a least "1" other person with you in the booth, just so a true customer who is patiently waiting to either buy something or has a question will feel welcome & understand even if it takes more than a few minutes to help them. I agree w/the white background as you can change it out in so many more ways. Now as a Crafter myself, I can honestly see both sides of the sale & display of goods.Thanks for your articles. - Charlye D.