Making events work

As published by Handmade UK Once you've decided to start selling your lovely handmade items at craft fairs and events, how do you make sure you make the maximise the opportunity and increase your chances of gettting those all important sales? Rickie Josen tells us how...

Here at Crafty Skills we run Success Workshops to help support and grow small businesses and one of them is all about maximising on the huge opportunity exhibiting at events create.

What should you have on your stand?

Have the most eye-catching and unique products in a prominent position. If you offer a wide range, still have the most eye-catching at the front and a smaller selection of an album of beautiful photographs to represent the rest of your work.

You can always have enough stock with you to replace an item that sells but just putting one on display adds to the uniqueness of handmade products.

Most importantly, have your name everywhere! Be clear to all approaching your stand what your (trading) name is and ensure the price is on every item along with your name. When they take their purchase home, the price tag (with your website details) will remind them to look you up online or pass your details to a friend. You can also have some prettied-up plain shopper bags with your logo and insert a card inside.

What about prices? Should you negotiate?

Do be consistent with your prices. Fans of handmade products will travel to other events and want to buy online and will expect the same price each time. If you are trying out a new product, you could always call it an ‘introductory price’ and use the event to get immediate customer feedback.

Absolutely, do have fun negotiating deals with customers who want to buy multiple items and you can also have an ‘offer of the day’ just for the event too.

How do you greet customers?

With a smile! A good morning/afternoon is always welcome as is ‘how are you’ when they approach your stand directly. To engage customers, talk about what gave you the inspiration to make the item they are looking at or simply ask them what sort of things they like.

Ask them to sign up to your mailing list (you do have one, don’t you?!) which perhaps gains them an online discount or free gift on their next order.

How do people find out you’re there?

Promote promote promote!

Yes the organiser will be promoting via their contact list but it’s important you use your contacts too as otherwise, how would they know about it? In the same way we discuss in our Finding Your First Customer workshop, spread the word via colleagues, friends and relatives and any groups you belong to. Of course social media is a must so talk about what you are up to across all the platforms you use.


Check with the organiser if you need insurance to cover both your products and public liability. It’s a good idea to cover yourself anyway and remember to account for any additional costs such as parking and unloading, power, refreshments and staff.

Rickie Josen delivers Saturday StartUp workshops – start your business in a day in Birmingham every month as well as regular workshops on social media, sales, PR, growing your networks, blogs & websites and more.

See her previous article