Making the most from your event

Yes, it has indeed been more than a week since my last post. Things have been stupidly busy here in Creative Market land and don't look to get much quieter until 2020!

There are 2 markets left to go in 2019 and they are the biggest ones yet. With this come many new exhibitors and some returnees looking to change things up a little bit. Hopefully this blog post will give you one or two things to think about to get the most out of your day.

One - Look up, smile.

It always amazes me when someone makes the effort to attend an event and doesn't make any effort to engage with passers by. Remember that every person in the room is a potential customer. Even if they don't look like your target market, making the effort to smile and say good morning means that they are more likely to take notice of your wares. If you are really, really shy then bring along the most charismatic friend you have, only if it's just the first couple of hours. Having someone confident beside you will help you get into the swing of things.

Two - Display

Make it eye catching. Height and colour go a long way. Use fairy lights, display price labels, have a sign with your name, don't clutter the table but keep duplicate stock underneath to gap fill. Dust everything and lint roll if you have pets. If you have a read of the previous post, craft fair prep there is more on this..

Three - Bring a project to work on or demonstrate

It's great popping a post on social to share your stall but don't sit glued to your screen all day. It's a tried and tested fact that people doing art and craft at events gets shoppers interested. Look at it as an ice breaker. Even if your creations aren't mobile, bring a sketch book and pretend to be designing your latest masterpiece. You could even bring a totally random art or craft project that you never intend to sell. Hopefully you will be too busy to work on it but even the busiest event will have slow periods. Noodle Soup Yarns knits while walking around and talking to people. K8tie Sparkles offers size customising for her jewellery items. Could you do something similar? If people have to come back in an hour they might buy a few more things or even pick up that other item from you they have been pondering over a coffee.

Four - Listen

Feedback is your friend. Yes, there are some truly horrible folk out there whose opinion you shouldn't pay attention to but, generally, it's good to listen to what people have to say. Write the comments down. Do you keep hearing you should make that print as a card? Would it be amazing to see that one in pink? Do you ever make one of a dog? Could you make one for a dog? Does it come covered in glitter? Yes, these are basically my standard set of questions (which I'm sure utterly degrade the creative talent of most people I'm speaking to) but, depending on how well you know your target audience, some things will come up time and again. Feedback can help you reach your intended audience better, it can identify new customers and fill your head with fantastic new ideas. If 20 people tell you your prices are too cheap, put them up next time. If all you hear is that your prices are too high, think of ways to offer a lower cost additional product. You could also produce a sign highlighting the process involved in your items and help people to understand why they are getting good value for money.

Five - Ask

Is the exhibitor across the aisle doing a roaring trade? Go and have a look. Ask them about their best sellers, their successes, even their mistakes. I don't mean watch, ask and copy them, that's a big no no in anyone's book. However, most exhibitors are friendly and great sources of information. It's also good to ask what other exhibitors think of your work and display.

Ask browsers questions too. If you sell nursery items, ask if there are any little ones in the family. They might say 'not yet' and there is your perfect opportunity to hand them a business card. Do you sell decor items? Ask what colour they have in their living room and remind them you do commission pieces. If someone comes back a second time they aren't just a browser any more. Even a simple 'What's caught your eye?' can open up a conversation that leads to a sale.

Six - Business cards

If anyone looks longer than a glance, offer them a card. I never have a fortune to spend at an event but I have a truly giant birthday and Christmas list, both for myself and for other people. Flyers are great but a business card can be casually slipped into your boyfriend's wallet, or that little slot in the car where they keep the car park change. Hell, you can even stick them around your birthday square on the calendar. If you view events as networking opportunities, rather than basing your success on sales for that day, you will always be happier with the outcome. It may not pay the rent on the day but it might by next month or the one after.

Seven - Tell people things

Is your packaging biodegradable? Make a sign. Do you take commissions? Make a sign. Do you take credit cards or Paypal? Mention it. Do you like their earrings? Compliment them, even if it's a bit of a fib because your ones for £12 are far better.. Engaged browsers become customers but ignored browsers will walk away. The thing to bear in mind here though is Norfolk can be a bit of a funny place. If you're too helpful with your explanation some people will just glare at you and walk away. It's a fine balance that you will only strike with experience!

Eight - Observe

Your ideal customer has just walked through the door. Think about what you're going to point out to them. I look at clothing, colour palettes, hair. It's a useful thing to do even if they are your least likely customer in the room. Watch, casually, what they're looking at on neighbouring stalls, pick an item and practice your sales pitch.


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