For Makers & Online Shop Owners

How To Prepare for Craft Fairs And Market Events

Are you a maker or small business looking to get out of your studio, store, or online shop so you can connect with and reach more people?  Summer Market Events are a great way to accomplish this AND bring in more revenue so I’m here to help you prepare for craft fairs and market events!

I have to be honest, these types of events are A LOT of work however market events are also a great way to…

  1. Get more people to learn about your products and business
  2. Gain followers on social media
  3. Add email subscribers to your list
  4. AND it’s definitely a great way to create more revenue!

4 STEPS + TIPS TO HELP YOU GET STARTED:

#1: APPLY TO EVENTS

Every event is different.  If a fair or market event is just starting out, they may accept anyone who applies. If it’s a popular event with a high volume of traffic, it might be juried. This means you’ll have to submit an application, links to your website or social media accounts, and most importantly; you’ll have to submit photos of your products or previous displays and/or market setups.  

Of course, I hope you are accepted for every market event you apply for, but be prepared for rejection. Trust me, I know this is hard.

When we first started our business, my sister and I applied to a couple of popular events in our area and we did NOT get accepted.  It was disappointing but it also motivated us to make improvements. Not only did we improve our selection of products, but we also improved how we styled and photographed them.  The second time we applied for both events, we got in!

#2: PREPARE YOUR SETUP

You’ll need to think beyond inventory – which will take plenty of time to make or curate.  Consider the type of event and venue. Will you be indoors or outdoors? What can you do to be prepared for bad weather, ie. will you need a tent, will you need side panels if it rains?  Will you need to bring one table or several tables? Plus there are rules and requirements for vendors at most market events. If so, read the agreement or contract so you understand what’s expected of you.

If it isn’t clear, you can do some research on your own.  Visit the event’s social media pages or website and look for pictures from previous events to see how other vendors were set up.  And if it’s a weekend-long event, don’t forget side panels for your tent in case it rains!

#3: BE UNIQUE & STAND OUT

Standing out is more important and time-consuming than you might think.  If you’re participating in an event that has dozens or even 100 vendors, you’ll want your booth to STAND OUT.  The first year we participated in The Summer Market, we brought this fan display with us and it definitely caught the eye of many new customers. It also turned out to be a great spot for snapping photos.  The more you can get shopppers and visitors to take pictures or selfies in your booth, the better!

You want to catch the eyes of your ideal customer.  Get creative and try to use the space around your setup to your advantage.  You’ll want your space to be visually appealing. This can be challenging in a space without walls so you’ll want to build height. This can be done with custom built displays, walls, or by using your merchandise.

#4: HOW TO GET THERE

Once you know what you need to take with you: tent, walls, tables, displays, merchandise, etc., you’ll have to think about how you’ll get it all there.  We’ve seen some people pack an SUV and set up their entire display alone.

We, on the other hand, always had many furniture pieces, dozens of boxes of merchandise, and several display pieces so we reserved a Uhaul truck.  At one point we had a double booth with a large tent, and we quickly learned that we shouldn’t do it alone. We enlisted the help of several family members to help us with the setup and take-down process, but you could also hire temporary or one-day help for this.

You’ll find that with each market event that passes, you’ll learn something new! It helps to complete a Post-Event analysis so you can be even more prepared the next time you participate in a market event.

Do you want more tips on how to get your booth prepared? Click here to read 10 helpful tips to get your booth ready for market events!

Want to learn more?

  1. Follow Savvy Shopkeeper on Instagram or Facebook or sign up for email updates!
  2. Visit the Shopkeeper’s Academy to learn more about our group memberships and 1:1 coaching.
  3. Listen to the Savvy Shopkeeper Retail Podcast.

I share some of the most helpful information and tips for retail business owners on the Savvy Shopkeeper Retail Podcast. I know you’re busy so episodes are short and sweet at around 20 minutes. Want to work less, profit more, and grow? Listen on any of these platforms:

You’ll find the Savvy Shopkeeper Retail Podcast on all these listening platforms: Spotify  Apple  iHeart  Audible  Amazon Music

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