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The Craft Fair Checklist: What to Bring to Stay Comfortable and Sell Your Art

Published Sep. 23rd 2012

By now, you’ve probably read part 1, part 2, and part 3 of this series on selling your art at craft fairs. No doubt your head is bursting with ideas on finding craft markets, setting up your stall, promoting the fair and selling your work.

In today’s article, I want to share a a handy pre-fair checklist to help you stay organized, get comfortable at the fair, and be successful at selling your art.

Basic necessities to bring to a craft fair

In the days leading up to a craft fair, most artists are too stressed out by unfinished artwork to consider the more practical items they need. This handy checklist should keep you from forgetting something vital:

• Chairs and table (if these aren’t supplied)
• Tablecloths, coverings and boxes to add height and interest
• Tent and pegs (LOTS of pegs) if the fair is outdoors
• Stands and fixtures of displaying your artwork
• Cash box containing change in notes and coins
• Calculator
• A stack of business cards, order forms, and flyers
• Signs for your stall
• Price tags
• Bags, wrapping paper, and packaging for purchases
• Paper and pen for mailing list signups
• Camera to take photos of your stall for your website, as well as of the fair in progress
• Art supplies and a project to do while you are at your stall

What to put in your craft fair survival kit

At a craft show, you often can’t leave your stall for hours, so you will need a “survival kit” under your table for any emergency that may arise. Here’s what I pack in my “craft fair survival kit.”

• Food and drink in handy, snackable forms (nothing messy that could spill)
• Scissors, tape, glue and tons of extra pens—these things WILL come in handy
• An “Art Repair Kit” with paints, clay, glue (etc) for any emergency artwork repair
• Tissues, makeup, lip balm and other emergency beauty supplies
• Sunscreen, sunglasses and hat if the fair is outdoors
• Jacket or sweater in case it gets cold

Things to remember at the fair

It’s not just about the items you take. Here are several things to remember if you want to have a successful craft fair.

• Remember to ask an outgoing friend to come with you. It is always much easier with two people manning a stall.
• The other stallholders are not your competition. Just because someone buys from them doesn’t mean they won’t also buy from you. Work together to increase everyone’s sales.
• Clearly label all your items with their price.
• Block out the day before your show to tie up any loose odds and ends in advance.
• Make sure your stall has lots of different heights and that flat artworks are standing up so they catch the eyes of passers-by.
• If you don’t succeed, it’s not because your artwork is bad or overpriced. Don’t give up on craft fairs completely. Perhaps you didn’t choose a fair that fit your audience. Go back to other marketing methods for a while, then address craft fairs again in the future.
• Relax and enjoy yourself! Craft fairs can be great fun and a wonderful way to meet and interact with buyers and collectors.

Done properly, craft fairs are ideal opportunities to get your artwork in front of a different audience, sell directly to customers, and get feedback on your art.

Don’t let anyone fool you, it’ll still be a lot of hard work. . . but staying organized is the first step on your path to success!

Taking art commissions from collectors can be an excellent way for an artist to forge a full-time career. If someone enjoys your work, they might ask you to create a custom piece for them for their home, office, or as a gift. . . and working with the client to realize their idea can also be extremely rewarding.

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