Inventory management is all about anticipation and timing. Success is often determined months in advance. The farther you can look ahead, the more advantages you have…
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.
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!