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10 Tips for Selling Crafts In Person (and 5 Reasons Why Your Crafts Didn’t Sell)

This guest post is by Alexis Bonari, a crafter from North Carolina.

Selling crafts on Etsy behind the barrier of a computer screen and a near anonymous contact address is quite a different experience from baring our faces and wares at a crafts show. Although your demeanor at your booth can make or break a sale, vendors must prepare heavily for a crafts show. To maximize our chances of making a profit — and having fun! — let’s keep the following tips in mind.

Bead Sisterhood Jewelry Booth

1. Be on time. Obvious and simple, but always not followed. Every minute you’re late is a minute you could have spent advertising your wares as well as your brand. Fellow vendors may also nottake you seriously.

2. Have plenty of business cards. Send each customer away with one. Make sure your brand is clearly visible on them and they are unmistakable from ordinary business cards.

3. Know what makes your crafts unique. Do you use origami in your jewelry? Do you make your own patterns? They call it a selling point for a reason—sell it.

4. Have a pre-printed line sheet ready to catalogue items (by item number, color, design, etc.) as they’re sold. This way, whether you’re sharing a booth or staying solo, you’ll have an easier time figuring out your profits later.

5. Know in advance how much space you’re allotted for a booth. Booths can vary anywhere from 6'x '6' to 10’ X10’ . You may want to consider sharing your booth with another vendor to split the costs. If this is the case, you may consider having a single money box so customers aren’t confused about who’s selling what and where to put the money. (Confusion is a turn-off.) Just make sure each sale is properly catalogued and allocate the winnings later.

6. Keep the booth and countertop clean and organized. It’s important to keep your space open because money will be going in and crafts will be going out. You never want to risk a customer or yourself accidentally knocking things over in the midst of a sale or browse. Also, customers are generally drawn to more clean environments, which look professional.

7. Put your brand and hottest sellers at eye level (between 5 and 6 ft). This way, you’re putting your best foot forward.

8. Know when to stop pushing for a sale. “I’ll think about it” and “I’m not crazy about the color” are telltale phrases that the customer just wants to walk away. While it’s important to sell yourself as well as your wares, being a pushy vendor will get you no compliments and little profit.

9. Don’t make yourself easy prey for people looking to steal. As much as we don’t like it, some people will walk away from a booth with more than for which they’ve paid. Protect your items by having at least one person watching your wares all the time. You may even consider putting a curtain (or even a strategically hung bed sheet) on the exterior of your booth, to include shelves, tables, and boxes. Not only does this deter thieves, it looks cleaner and prevents the wind from knocking items over if you’re outdoors.

10. Have fun. Being pushy, squirrely, or worried about selling your items makes you miss out on interaction with customers and other vendors. It’s always good to expand your network as well as get good advice or input from other people.

As a bonus, let’s take a look at why, despite your attention to the aforementioned 10 tips, your crafts may not have sold at the show.

Top 5 Reasons Crafts Don’t Sell at a Crafts Show

1. Vendor is reading, listening to an iPod, or talking on a phone.
2. Vendors are speaking to each other or selling to another customer, and paying no attention to other customers.
3. Poor presentation, messy display, and products look too similar to those of other vendors at the show.
4. Poor selection of colors, styles, etc.
5. Vendor lacked proper amount of change in cash.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and researcher for College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching nursing undergraduate scholarships as well as organizational leadership scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, crafting, and avoiding her laptop.

Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 


  1. These are all good tips. One time, my BeadSisterHood friends and I turned up at a craft show and found our tables did not fit the space! And we knew what size the booth was beforehand!

  2. Great post...Since I started my business selling at exhibitions I know that all of the above are true and that they work. One more thing that really helps is having a proper branding - hang the same banner(with your brand name or logo) behind your stall or booth everytime. this way even if people dont remember you they remember the brand and they feel safe to buy from you

  3. Excellent tip! We did eventually had a banner made up after a while.

  4. Super good information. Things that just a part time seller may not have even thought about.
    Thanks, Carol

  5. Good tips. Even though I don't sell my jewelry, I do buy components at bead fairs. What turns me off is when someone is too pushy. I appreciate some information but not to the point where I feel pressured to buy (then I leave).

  6. Great tips! Another couple of helpful hints are:
    - Have a mirror available so that people can try things on.
    - Have good lighting. Anything sparkly looks dull without good lighting.
    - Bring tools for quick modifications.
    - Have cheaper and more expensive options. For example have Copper earwires AND Sterling earwires available so people have a choice.

  7. Cindy - those are marvelous additional tips!

  8. Great helpful tips...Divya's and Cindy's additional tips are good as well! In fact most are important to look professional...


  9. Great article, I just got my new banner today and I can't wait to hang it at my table next month. I finally decided on a logo and what us see as my avatar it what is on all of my promotional materials. That is what I will be using from now on.

  10. I did it once and was really uncomfortable. I enjoyed talking to people and answering questions but really didn't like feeling like I was trying to 'sell'. Silly I suppose. Some people are made for it though!

  11. I used to do all my selling through art and craft shows. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun and I met some really wonderful people that way.

    All of the suggestions are spot on. One suggestion that always worked for me was to wear a smile and welcome people just as you would welcome a guest into your home. I recall one show where I was directly across from another jewelry maker, I made sales constantly while she made none at all. The reason was that she sat and scowled through the whole day. I never once saw her smile and even my husband said; "I'd be afraid to go to her table as she looks like she'd bite my head off." I was tempted to go over and tell her that she had such a pretty face but that a nice smile would make her truly beautiful. :)

  12. Great post. I don't like crowds, and really struggle at fairs and similar events, but this advice is so helpful! Thanks.

  13. What awesome tips! I probably would do better selling in person then I would over the internet simply because I wouldn't have to take pictures.

  14. Good point, Shaiha! I sell far more locally than online. I suspect most people will find it the same.


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