Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Booth Babes & 6 Super Tips for Wildly Successful Craft Fair Sales

I participated in the Great American Pie Festival over the weekend.  By far, this is my most favorite show of the year.

Just about everyone loves pie, right?

(Photo courtesy of the American Pie Council)

Now in my fourth year of doing arts & crafts fairs, here are my six most important tips for raging success, with a few pictures of my customers sprinkled in for fun.  (View my prior posts about crafting tips here, here, here and here.)

1.  Know your audience.  Know the show audience.  Are they compatable?  Just because a show may have a very low vendor entry fee doesn't mean it will be a good fit for you.  Carefully consider your fee, plus the effort (hours, travel cost and your effort to man your booth) in comparison to your audience and ask yourself (and fellow vendors if you can) if your will product will likely appeal to them.

Many pie lovers are also bakers and most bakers wear aprons.  Naturally, The Pie Fest is a great fit for my Retro Revival aprons, and though it has a steeper entry fee, my sales are well worth it.

(Amanda's passion is cake baking so my "Let Them Eat Cake" apron was a perfect fit for her)

2.  Create the most alluring booth space possible ~ no matter what you sell ~ and if you can, tie it in to the theme of the show.  Consider the retail stores you enjoy shopping in, and specifically think about what it is that draws your attention (color, window displays, demonstrations, etc.) and adapt some of these things to your own booth.

I display a few of my aprons near and just outside of my booth.  Also up front I display some kitschy kitchen towels with funny sayings.  These two products appeal to apron-wearing and non-apron-wearing people, a little something for nearly everyone.

(Shot of day 2 of the Pie Fest)

Inside my booth, I displayed more aprons on clotheslines with retro clothespins...

(Naiomi fell in love with my 1950's style "X" apron)

...and even more aprons packaged in mason jars.  Knowing Mother's Day is just two weeks away, I found pre-packing my product appealed to quite a few of my customers, especially men, who liked the idea of not having to worry later about wrapping!

3.  Dress the part ~ wear your product or use it in your booth.  Simply put, you are the absolute best "billboard" for your product!  People love seeing products in use and not just hanging or laying on flat surfaces.

Since my products are all retro-themed, I wear authentic, 1950's dresses I've picked up in thrift shops, finished off with pearls and an apron (of course!).  Many times at the Pie Fest, shoppers stopped to comment on my outfit and ended up walking into my tent and buying.  Yay!

Captain project was a bit leery about having to wear the 1960's poly, buttercream yellow shirt I found for him.  That, and insisting he gel his hair and slick it back!  He's such a good sport.

(Our outfits on day 1 of the two-day show)

4.  Have more (a LOT more) inventory than you think you'll need.  Shoppers are much more inclined to buy if they have a nice selection.  I know that personally, I don't like it when inventory looks too picked over ~ I feel like the "good stuff" is already taken!

For the Pie Fest I brought 220 aprons with me, plenty to select from and enough to keep my booth looking pretty and well-stocked.

5.  Engage your customers ~ each and every one of them.  Conversation is key.  If a shopper says something like, "Your aprons are pretty," don't respond with a simple "thank you," because that can end the conversation.  Instead, add a little something about your products such as, "Thank you.  I design my own patterns and handmake all of these."

This young lady was walking by my booth and hesitated.  I said hello and asked her if she wears aprons.  She said no and I replied that aprons make perfect little gifts.  She wandered in, tried on about a dozen and bought one for her mother and this one for herself!

6.  Offer a variety of price points.  Not everyone wants or is able to spend a lot of money so why not have a little something to offer that's less expensive?  Chances are, if they buy once and love your product, they'll turn into a loyal, repeat customer.

My aprons range in price from $23 to $45 depending on the style, fabric (new or vintage) and detail.  For some shoppers this may be more than they want/can spend so I always have at least a couple of other products, priced lower, as options.  This year I added my Pott Mitts, priced at $13 for a set:

(The Great American Pie Festival is the perfect place for me to sell lots of my pie-themed aprons)

Bonus Tip:  Get yourself a "Booth Babe."

Mine is Captain Project.  Just look at those legs!  He quite enjoyed flirting with the ladies!  Seriously though...see the apron he's wearing?...

...He sold it to this pretty lady:

In between sales I heard a few guys joke with him that he really needed to shave his legs!

Hope you find these tips helpful.  And I hope you'll share your best tips ~ I think we all improve a little by helping each other.  In the meantime, I'm exhausted and thinking I'll do a lot of nothing today!


Natalie said...

way to go mama! all the ladies look fab in your gorg aprons! congrats on a great show. you rock!

Missy Shay said...

Sounds like you had a great helper!

My Vintage Mending said...

Congratulations Cindy...You were the hit for sure. Who could resist Captain? It must have been a site to see all those lovely aprons walking around the fair. I can't believe you didn't wear heels!!! You wear those dresses so well...smiles..Renee

retrorevival.biz said...

Thanks, Renee! Actually, I did have on some fabulous heels, but after about 3 hours my feet were SCREAMING and I traded them in for my comfy kicks:)

Holly- Cutie Pie Cottage said...

A booth babe! Too fun!

I'd be wearing sneakers, too, Cindy! ♥

Paula Parrish said...

Hello Cindy,
Wonderful job on this post, love it. Such useful tips for us fellow craft show sellers. I so enjoyed being a close neighboring booth to yours at the Pie Fest. You and Paul are simply the Best. ;o)
Smiles, Paula

Betty Lou said...

Cute post, wish i lived close to visit one of your booths. For a minue I thought that was me back in the 60's with my hair in a bun and my little apron. Oh my, how time flies. Cute babes---both sexes.

Jenny's Heart said...

Looks like it was a good event! Your booth looks great and so do you and Captain P. :)

Little Susie Home Maker said...

Oh, it just looks like so much fun! You have some really great tips here! Thanks so much. I really love your dress and the two of you make a great looking pair!

Getting Hooked said...

Wow Cindy! Congratulations on a great crafty sales weekend and thanks for sharing your wonderful tips!

Recycled Relix said...

Hi Cindy,

Looks like you both had a great time!

The stall looks great and I love the way you took photos of your buyers.

Would have been fun to visit.



Anonymous said...

Cindy, I wish I could shop with you live and in person. You and the Captain are a hoot!

The dresses you put on the mannequins under the aprons are pretty. Are those vintage too?

I'm glad the festival was a success. :)


Ps. I love my shower cap! Thank you!! :)

Linda Ruthie said...

All great ideas. 220 aprons! WOW! That is a lot of inventory. I'm so gald you had a successful show.

The Summer Kitchen Girls said...

oh my goodness cindy....this is so fun...your hubby is such a trooper (awww....he probably LOVED it all of that talking with ladies walking by ~yes, that is exactly how my husband is!) Love the ideas of the aprons in the mason jars ~ perfect!! Glad it went so well for you, your booth looks awesome :)

Becky said...

Fabulous tips! I so agree with everything you said!

Do I spy a pretty pink dress on one of your mannequins? ;)

I need to dress Ethel and Harry rather than leave them nekkid when an apron sells. Smart you are!