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I haven't really participated at any craft shows for some years now, not since I moved to Ontario. But I am going to do a small one this coming weekend at the Annual Collingwood Leisure Time Craft Sale.  It is from 9am to 2 pm on November 14 and 15.  So if you are in the area, do stop by and say hello!

I have no idea what to expect.   But like any craft show, one has to prepare. So I have been busy putting together what I need. Including promotional material. Not just the basic business cards and Square sign but a poster and postcards with pictures on one side and a short bio on the other.  The postcards are a good idea as people who buy jewelry for gifts like to include a little something about the artisan.

Joining a mobile credit card payment program (for e.g. Square, Paypal, Etsy) is a must.  Not many people carry a lot of cash these days.  Not having one means you might miss sales.  I certainly did in past craft shows before I had Square. As soon as the service was available in Canada, I signed up.

In fact the founder of Square, Jack Dorsey, actually got the idea when his glass artist friend lamented he could not take a credit card payment for one of his expensive works of art.

The mobile technology is moving on to chip readers and contactless payments.  These are now available for US Square users but Canadians like me will have to wait for these to come in.  Read this article for more information about such EMV payment systems and what it means for sellers.  EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. 

I make a lot of earrings - they are my most favorite things to create.  I also prefer to mount them on earring cards so that meant a lot of hole punching!  If you remember from this tutorial, I made a simple punch with resin clay and a couple of push pins.  I also bought the punch which allows me to hang lever back earrings - it's the one with the flap.

Then there was the mounting of necklaces on displays.  Bracelets will be displayed in open boxes on the table.  Pricing and price tags was next. I like to have everything as near ready as possible so that set up is quicker.

I also have a toolbox on wheels which holds the packaging materials, gift boxes, hand mirror, some tools and findings etc. This will be behind the craft table and easily accessible.

I know many of you are very busy now with the craft show season in full swing.  So I wish you all good luck!

Everyone does things differently.  So if you do or have any tips to share, please comment!

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


  1. Pearl, great post. I also have Square. In this day and time it is an asset as customers do not carry much cash, I really do not either. I can remember back in the 90's having a business, my business partner and I had the old original slide credit card thing. It was the difference between sales and no sales. Great idea on the tool box on wheels, I have something similar that I had not thought of using. Thank you.

    1. There are all kinds of plastic toolbox on wheels designs. So if what you have doesn't do the trick, check out your local hardware stores!

  2. Good luck with your show Pearl, do you get a lot of business. I often include a mirror in my display for people to try out products and also small tray or baskets for customers to keep their selected pieces while browsing. I feel that it increases the purchase value!

    1. Thank you Divya. Your tip about little baskets is clever! I have seen them used for jewelry supply booths but why not a finished jewelry booth.

      It depends on the craft shows. Some of the Christmas ones I have taken part in were very large with huge traffic. So the sales are there but the table fees are correspondingly high!

      I'm not sure what to expect as this is not a big one and Collingwood is a small town. But I am expecting the weekend to be fun because I am also visiting family!

  3. Great ideas Pearl. Thanks so much for sharing. I look forward to seeing your display!! Sell, sell, sell!!!

  4. Good luck Pearl. It sounds like you are well prepared and ready to take on the craft show world. I just did one in Kitchener this past Saturday and it went quite well. With all your ideas for prep and the added mirror and baskets, you are good to go!
    Funny thing, I had taken a variety of small woven baskets from Burundi for customers to use and I can't tell you how many stopped to admire them and wanted to buy them!

    1. Hope so! I always have that nagging doubt in my mind that I've forgotten something. Do you have that?

  5. Good luck at your show. Looks like you are ready with all your beautiful items.

  6. Something I found invaluable was having my own little dolly to move my bins of stock into and out of the event. After years of carrying everything in by hand I found that a small foldable dolly took away all that running back and forth to the vehicle and carrying stuff through the halls.....Now I just stack up the bins and I'm in and out of there with ease.

    Having a Square is invaluable. Nearly every transaction is done by card I find and taking change almost seems to be a waste of time. There are few people who carry cash.

    Having a great table covering makes a world of difference as well. I just a pic of someone's table and they had used a brown cloth that was highly patterned. I had a hard time picking out the pieces on it and found it very blah....not a colour that emphasized the pieces or put me in the mood of buying either.

    Doing a little fake setup at home of your table helps before you get there and if you give yourself time to evaluate how it looks - especially over a couple of days - you will see the setup and not your stock - as others see it. I find it also helps when it comes to that important hour and half you get to set up your table before the show. If you know where things are going then it gets done much faster.

    I also take my bins with a lot of my stands already loaded and wrapped in huge plastic bags inside. That way all I have to do is whip off the plastic and the jewelry is already on the stand - just place it and move on.

    With the inundation of people buying premade jewelry from overseas and turning around and selling it at craft fairs - grrrrrrrrrrrr!! - it is important that you have a sign that says YOU made it. I didn't realize how important this was until a couple of years ago when people started asking me where I got my jewelry. This comes after years of working on skills and in a way is a compliment but on the other hand....not. I now make sure that my signs are big and point out that it was made by ME!

    Lastly - Smile and be friendly. No matter if that person is taking notes or drawing pictures of your jewelry or not. If they are going to steal your designs - pity them. You can always change up your work and you learn from it as well. They don't. That being said you just never know who is standing in front of you. It may be a buyer or a win either way I think.

    Good luck my friend. I know you will do very well indeed!

    1. I too have the dolly! Thanks for reminding me that I have to bring it! Yes, I did do a trial run on my dining table just to see. Thanks for all the tips!

  7. Couple of things you should consider:
    Lighting: I have found almost all shows are in venues with terrible lighting. If you have electricity at your booth, you can buy some inexpensive clamp-on spot lights or table lights which will make a big difference. Bring extension cords and a power bar as well.

    Table Height: Bring something to raise your table height by eight inches to a foot. Clay flower ports are inexpensive and portable, or you can cut some PVC pipe to length to slip over the table legs.If customers don't have to hunch over to look at your stuff, they will be more inclined to linger.

    Onle last thing I have found was an issue in smaller or rural venues and that is cell coverage can be spotty, which will affect the Square. Have a backup way of doing credit cards available in case it is needed.

  8. Excellent reminders! Love your idea with flower pots!! Yes, I have a couple of clamp lamps to use. I did check that my service is Ontario wide. Probably okay as Collingwood is a town. I do have an alternative to Square but it has to be retroactive if there is no cellular - so I can only log on to process after the fact.

  9. If it was in Bulgaria, I'll advise you to take a lot of small change with you :) I have no experience with shows, so I'm just learning from this post and the comments. Do check out this idea, I think it's fun

    1. Yup. I do have a float (a small amount of small change). Great tip on the craft show mirror! Will share that on social media!


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