festivals

Maximize Fair and Festival Sales

Those long, hot days under a tent will not be for naught! Not on our watch. Summer festival season is kicking off, you're dragging your inventory all over town and we want you to make the most of it this year. Maximize fair and festival sales with a few actionable tips you can put into place today.

maximize craft fair sales

1. Pick your battles. When you first get started with pop-up selling, it is a bit of a trial and error game, but you can still be strategic. It's tempting to want to say yes to any and every fair into which you are accepted, but really think about your customers. Are they even at this fair? If not, spend your Saturday elsewhere (like the beach!).

2. Just say no. Especially if you've gone through your share of festival seasons already, it's OK to say no to the events that just aren't worth it anymore (or never were). If you do $5,000 in sales at Fair A in June and $500 at Fair B in July, and both require the same investment from you (time, money, sanity, etc.), it's clearly time to pass on Fair B.

3. Find your spot. We've found it helpful to make detailed notes about each event immediately afterwards so you can better position yourself next year, literally. If they stuck you in a back corner last year, make sure you request a specific spot next year that you noticed got great foot traffic. Most organizers will want to strangle you if you ask them right before the doors open, but are more than happy to accommodate requests they know about well in advance.

4. Bring business cards—lots of them! Network with your fellow sellers, and also keep plenty for passers-by to take in case they want to find your wares online or in your shop later.

5. Consider selling "needs," in addition to "wants." Yes, you're at this fair primarily to sell your handmade crafts, but the people passing by your tent might also be thirsty or need sunscreen or a rain poncho. Think about bringing some inventory in the "needs" category, taking care to follow the event's regulations on food and drink vendors, of course.

6. Smile. Be genuine. Be friendly. This should go without saying, but we can't count the number of times we've walked through a craft fair and the vendors are totally unengaged. It's like walking into someone's home and the owner's just sitting there watching TV... but also trying to sell you something. Don't do that, pals. Though it might be tempting to quietly work on your new line of jewelry while people browse, be approachable and present with your people and always say hello. Welcome people into your temporary home.

Need more tips? Check out our post on organizing and managing fair and festival inventory too!

Guide To Managing Inventory During Festival Season

Many of our customers at Shopventory are makers. They make arts and crafts, gourmet groceries—and some of them even make music. We are so proud of these feisty geniuses for creating beautiful things, but we know that actually selling those beautiful things can sometimes be tougher than making them. renegade

With spring approaching, the country's makers are going to be popping up merch tents all over the land—so we wanted to provide a guide to wrangling your inventory for festivals, flea markets, farmers markets, fairs and pop-up shops. We'll run through an essential packing list and a few organizational tips to help you get ready for the seasonal rush!

 The Packing List:

-Pop-up tent -Tent weights -A banner -Bungee cords or sturdy string to hang the banner -A folding table or two -Tablecloths -Chairs -Your display(s): hangers for T-shirts, folding shelves for goods, case for jewelry, various boxes to create height levels, etc. -Lights for after dark (uplighting, spotlights, string lights, etc.) -Extension cords and extra batteries -Duct tape, because you never know -Lock box for cash, stocked with change -Your Square or PayPal Here credit card readers -Mobile Internet hotspot -Blank card stock for signage on the fly -Plenty of permanent markers and pens -Mailing list sign-up form and clipboard (or the digital version on an iPad) -Scissors -Simple tool set with pliers and a hammer -Small rolling dolly or luggage cart -Your merchandise, of course. -Small cooler with water and snacks -Sunscreen, ponchos -Optional: a fan, projector and branded gobo (can be very impactful at evening events!), something to keep you occupied during lulls in traffic

Organizational Tips:

1. Put wheels on it! Utilize something like a rolling tool box or a large wheelie suitcase as the merchandise hub for the many, many essentials that come along with temporary retail. Load-in will be 1000% less of a headache when you don't have to track down a dolly. Plus, anything with drawers or compartments for designated items will make setup and cleanup much easier than a slew of plastic tubs.

2. Learn to fold a T-shirt properly. That is, make sure you know how to make your merchandise look the most polished and visually appealing for people passing by. If you're selling T-shirts, know how to fold them. If you're selling artwork, don't make your customers dig through a crowded rack one at a time. If you're selling your hot pepper jams, turn your booth into a picnic with a brightly checked tablecloths, picnic baskets and even invest in some plastic hot peppers for a display rather than setting out a sad, lonely jar on a boring table. Having an evergreen plan for your display will help you feel more organized.

3. Finish strong. At the end of a long day or an even longer weekend, it will be tempting to just haphazardly toss everything into the car and get to bed as quickly as possible. However, take your mom's advice and put your toys away after you use them so everything is in its place for the next event. As you're packing up, make a quick note of any supplies that are running low (Shopventory will keep track of your merchandise inventory automatically, so no need to worry about that part!). It'll take less time in the end, and you'll save yourself from scrambling to buy extra extension cords and tablecloths when you realize you left yours in the wrong box last time. 

What sorts of tools and tricks do you use during festival season? Let us know in the comments!