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How-To Prepare for a Craft Show Part 1.3: Create Signage

Our third installment of the blog post we guest wrote on Etsy Dallas about craft show setup.

From part one of the Etsy Dallas blog post:

Create Signage
On average, a customer ask the price of items only twice before they feel uncomfortable asking again. Put them at ease by creating signage or putting price tags on all of your items. Make sure signage is easy for them to spot and big enough to be read from a distance. Also, be sure you have business cards handy and in a place that is easy for shoppers to find.

You may think that not having prices opens the door to conversations with your shoppers, but what if you are too busy to speak to everyone (and we hope that you always are)! 

Photo via Erica Sirotich Illustration


Signage should contain the following:
  • Your shop name at the top and something calling out that it is your price list
  • A list of each type of item (or item category) and it's price
  • Any special show pricing or bundled pricing you may offer
  • Show shoppers whether you take credit cards and which ones (you can just put the logos on it)
If all of your items are OOAK and priced differently, consider putting price tags on all items in an easy to find spot. Keep in mind if your item has movable parts or is delicate, putting tags on the bottom may not be wise. You are better off putting them somewhere that may not be as attractive but can cut down on unnecessary handling and breakage.

Another tactic is to price sections of product. For instance all items on one table are $20, you can put up one sign that states that for each table. You may also want to add signage to differentiate your product, even if it is all the same price. Do you sell dog collars for $15 in all sizes? Maybe your signage needs to point out sizes to help shoppers locate the item they need.

Consider putting up an additional sign or two where appropriate to tell shoppers pertinent info about your product and what sets it apart. Is your yarn hand spun by you, or is the wool sourced from local farms? Does your jewelry re-purpose vintage pieces? Do you take custom orders? Is it eco-friendly? Tell people about it!

Need some inspiration? Check out our craft show display board on Pinterest for more!


Be sure to check out the rest of this series on the blog!

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How-To Prepare for a Craft Show Part 1.2: Lay Out Your Booth Space and Displays

A continuation of the blog post we guest wrote on Etsy Dallas about craft show setup.

From part one of the Etsy Dallas blog post:

Lay Out Your Booth Space and Displays
About three weeks before the show, plan your booth space. Decide what your table layout will be, how your displays will be set up and where chairs and product storage will go but still be easily accessible. Tape off the booth space on the floor or driveway and be sure everything fits. Once you have a "floor plan," decide how your goods will be displayed.



It is important to do this because often you only have an hour or two to unload and set up for a show. Depending on your product unloading could take you 30 mins or more. Have to set up a tent? Add 10-15 min for that...tables? 5 more. That is 50 of your time right there, give or take 10 min based on the product you make. So it's imperative that you plan ahead on set up or you will either be unprepared or rushing right before the show starts.

What should you do in this dry run setup? Tape off on the floor or driveway (with painters tape) your exact booth space. Bonus points for setting up your tent in your driveway and working with that (and double checking that your tent is in order and you have all your parts and pieces).

Once you have your booth space marked off or tent set up you should consider the following:
  • How many tables will you need and what should their layout be-keep in mind you should leave room around the tables so you can enter and exit your booth space
  • Where and how will my displays be set up
  • Will my displays hold my product?
  • Can I see over and work around my displays?
  • Did I leave work space for myself to write receipts, wrap or package purchases, put my soda?
Try a couple different layouts. You may think you have laid out the best option, but try a few more anyways. You never know what you will come up with and it is a good exercise to do, just in case when you arrive at the show your booth space or location changes. It pays to be prepared with  a few options and be flexible.

Missed Part 1.1? Find it here:

How-To Prepare for a Craft Show Part 1.1: Make Enough Product



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How-To Prepare for a Craft Show Part 1.1: Make Enough Product


Last week I shared the link of part one on how to prep for a craft show that I wrote for Etsy Dallas. As promised, I wanted to delve in a little deeper into some of these topics for you to really create a comprehensive resource for newcomers. We were once new too, and have pictures of the hot mess we were at our first show to prove it! Thanks to other seasoned crafters we found our way and now can happily pay that advice forward.

From part one of the Etsy Dallas blog post:

Make Enough Product
First and foremost you need product – and plenty of it. You should aim to still have a relatively full display toward the end of the show. If your booth looks empty, you might get passed by. Depending on your price points, you should expect to sell 1/4 to 1/3 of the inventory you bring. The best way to be prepared is to make a production schedule and try to stick to it. Then bring everything to the show, even if you aren't sure you will sell it.

There are many formulas for how to arrive at how much to make and bring to a craft show and I will cover more of them here. Some things to keep in mind for this is what kind of product you sell, your price points, and how much it takes to fill your display table. Since a lot of these formulas are in terms of dollars you will need to convert that to units based on what you make. We make soap, and at an average retail of $4-$5 to make $100 I would need to sell at least 20 bars. But if you sell $50 necklaces, you only need to sell two to make that same $100 and most likely will not need to make nearly as much inventory in units to cover your sales.

The next thing to consider is how much it takes to fill your display table or booth. You want your display to still look full at the end of the show (between 75-80% full at least). If your booth looks too empty shoppers may pass you up thinking that you have sold out of everything and you can miss a lot of sales this way. For example, for our soap, it takes approx 200 bars of soap to fill our table, so if based on the formulas below I expect to sell 250 bars, I need to make about 450 in total. Never. Look. Empty.



Here are a few formulas that you can use to give you an idea of how much you should make. I will use the same soap (at $5, 200 for display) and necklace (at $50, 50 for display) for these examples.

Option 1: 7x-10x your booth fee
With 10x the booth fee being your high side target, and 7x what you will more realistically sell.
Booth Fee $100
10x$100=$1000 
for $5 soap that is 200 bars to sell + 200 bars for display=400 total
for $50 jewelry that is 20 to sell + 50 to display=70 total

7x$100=$700 
for $5 soap that is 140 bars to sell + 200 bars for display=340 total
for $50 jewelry that is 14 to sell + 50 to display=64 total


Option 2: % of attendance
If the show you are doing gives you an annual attendance rate (assuming they are an established show) you can use this number as a guideline to multiply by your average transaction. The lower the price point the higher the rate. For under $10 a 3% rate of purchases per attendees is good-that is 1 of every 100 people. For higher price points this rate may be 1% or less if your price point is really high.
Show attendance=2000
3%*2000=60 shoppers
1%*2000=20 shoppers
60 shoppers*avg soap purchase (3 bars or $12)=180 bars ($720) + 200 display=380 bars
20 shoppers*avg jewelry purchase $50=20 necklaces ($1000) + 50 display=70 necklaces


Option 3: 1/4-1/3 total inventory sales
As we stated before expect to sell between 14 (25%) and 1/3 (33%) of what you bring. This approach is kind of a backwards approach to what you will sell. We have found you sell between 25-33% of the merch you bring. Want to sell $1000? Then you need to bring at least $3000 in inventory ($1000/0.33) which is 600 bars of soap at 33% (200 for display + 400 to sell).


Keep in mind that the cheaper the booth fee the lower the attendance usually is. It costs time, money, and effort to bring people into a show, so if the fee is low and there isn't an estimated attendance expect a low number and base inventory off of that.

Also consider the type of audience that is being targeted for the event. Does the target audience for the show match up to your target customer in terms of the type of product you are selling and your price points? Are you selling fine art for $400 at a show targeted to college age audience? It may not go over well.

Always remember at the bare minimum you should sell enough to cover your booth fee + the time you would pay your self for the hours you worked at the show x 2.

A lot of this comes from experience so it is important to keep track of how much you brought and how much you sell, in dollars and units (and by item type) if possible. The more detailed information you have the better you can use that information to help you prepare next time! 



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