I think people miss the mark when it comes to real live shows and craft presentations. You will notice when we are out at shows that we are different from many vendors.
You have paid money to be there. It can be several hundred dollars to thousands to be there depending on the size and advertising budget of the event. So why on earth would you rent space if you aren’t going to engage the public.
I see problems at shows:
- The Vendors aren’t dressed appropriately. Some, in fact, look dumpy dumpy and it’s not about weight. Attire is one of the first things people will look at before even approaching your display.
- Vendors looking miserable and complaining to public about poor sales / attendance. The public doesn’t need to know you are miserable. A sad story doesn’t create sales. It’s a turn off.
- Vendors hanging off personal devices, wearing Ipod Headphones, texting, and using personal cell phones. Every person that walks by is a potential customer. You might as well stayed home or in your car if you aren’t going to appear approachable.
- Displays are trashy / garage sale like. If this is your passion, display it in a way that looks interesting or unusual. Just because someone else has hung up something a certain way, maybe a different display is more eye pleasing.
- Position tables and sales areas that are inviting. Many people like to put a table in the front of the booth where they are sitting and their display is at the rear of the booth. Essentially, human instinct dictates that you have just created a mental barrier and people feel like they are intruding on space or feel if they go behind your table, they be trapped into buying something when in fact, they just want to snoop.
What Things To Do?
- Dress the part. A wise artist once told me that if I love Crochet so much, I should be prepared to wear it too. She’s right, when I look at artsy dressed up, people know right off the bat I am serious about loving my hobby.
- People love visuals and are fascinated with techniques. If you are a quilt maker, why not show samples or your work by doing hands on demonstrations. It show precision and creativity which captivates people.
- Be authentic, you aren’t going to love everything or everyone. It’s like walking into a furniture shop and the sales person absolutely LOVES EVERYTHING in the store. She isn’t kidding anyone and she isn’t being real nor is she going to get my business because I can’t trust her judgement. You have just seconds to prove you are authentic.
- Make your display inviting and eye pleasing. Have a flow within your section that makes sense. Colours with colours, ideas with ideas and etc. Many booths I see are TOO MUCH stimulation. They want to display EVERYTHING they possibly own but as a whole it turns the display into a flea market appearance. Pick your best items as it proves your worth, samples can be shown if more questions come along.
- Have fun, engage your neighbours at the show. More often than not, we have referrals from other vendors at our shows because we have made friends. IE, I may use yarn in a demonstration that has been provided by a hand spun yarn woman. People ask me where I got it from, I point the direction and they see her yarn working instead of at her display doing nothing but sitting on tables with no finished samples of what it could be.
Don’t spend 1000’s of dollars on shows or festivals if you aren’t going to operate them properly. The public is smarter than you realize and it’s up to you to see potential in everyone, even if they haven’t spent a dime at your booth. They may refer you further down the aisle or on their daily travels long after the show is done.