One of the coolest developments for my neighborhood over the last few months has been the start of our very own farmers market at the local community garden.
Every Saturday, the Clark Park Farmers Market offers produce from local vendors, plus free outdoor yoga, live music, and food trucks. There’s also a row of booths featuring the work of local artisans and crafters.
Walking the line of homemade soaps, landscape paintings, and even gourmet bloody mary mix, I began wondering how these folks learned to do what they do. How does a solopreneur prepare for her first arts and crafts fair or farmers market?
This is not a world I’m familiar with. So, I asked five of our best online sellers how they sell IRL. Here are their tips for dominating an arts and crafts fair or farmers market.
1. Get Up. Stand Up. Stand Up for Your Right
Leave the chair at home! Stand up and engage your customers. Ask them how they feel about the product they are trying and be prepared for the occasional negative response. Arrive early and invest the effort in having an attractive set up.
Also, use Square to process credit card transactions. It’ll cost you a little bit, but it’s better than losing a sale.
— Helen Coates, Copper Kettle Bakery
2. Remember Your, Ummm, Biological Needs
Bring snacks and bottles of water and make sure you know where the nearest bathroom is! Also, if you can afford it, always have at least two employees working the booth.
That way, everyone will get plenty of time to take breaks and to see the rest of the festival.
— Rachel Malloy, Bunky Boutique
3. Be Confident and Keep It Professional
My biggest tip is BE CONFIDENT in your products and table. Do not get so competitive with the other vendors or their products that you talk smack – to customers or the vendors themselves.
It only makes you look bad. If there is one certainty in the crafting world, it’s that you just don’t do that!!
– Amy Hoadley, Wix Wax Candle Company
4. Don’t Be Passive. Get ‘Em to Your Booth
I’m currently doing about 80% of my sales at craft shows. I’ve learned that you have to give height to your display so your booth stands out from a distance. You can’t just sit there behind your table and wait for people to buy something.
Stand up and engage folks as they walk past. You have to find ways to draw them into your booth or tent.
– Michelle Swiniarski, Freya’s Garden Of Earthly Delights
5. Sell Something Seasonal or Trendy
I’ve had great success selling at craft fairs and farmers markets because I make a bunch of smaller items themed around the season or the newest movie craze.
Plus, I always carry a few samples and a binder of custom product ideas for people who want something custom. And of course I give them my business card so they can order when they’re ready.
— Amber Mund, Crazy Couture Crochet