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Why You Should Be Doing Craft Shows

Lesson 3 from: Secrets of Selling at Craft Fairs: How to Get In, Make Sales, and Grow Your Business

Nicole Stevenson

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Lesson Info

3. Why You Should Be Doing Craft Shows

There is serious value in getting your products out and in front of buyers at craft shows and markets.


Class Trailer



Craft Shows Should be a Part of Your Business


Introduction: How to Have a Successful Craft Show Experience


Why You Should Be Doing Craft Shows


Is Your Business Ready for a Craft Show?


Now is the Time for Craft Shows


Get Your Product Ready


Branding Your Business


Lesson Info

Why You Should Be Doing Craft Shows

So let's talk about why you should be doing craft shows remember when I talked about the flea market so I didn't really talk about the community of creatives that I met there, but I did meet a great community of creatives that was how I ended up being able teo coordinate that art show because I knew artist to put in there that was how I ended up finding out about my first trade show because a fellow hunter was like, hey mean, another vendor we're gonna share booth at this trade show do you want to share a booth with us? And I was like, how much is it I can't I can't remember I think it was like five hundred dollars and I was and that was to share three people in one ten by ten booth at a trade show and I was like, okay, can I pay you fifty dollars a week until it's paid off? You know? So you just you have to figure out to do what you dio do what you're going to dio but that community creative some of them are still friends, friends of mine today that's how I found out about, you know, ...

how to get a sewer, how would a pattern maker was? I didn't even know what we need a pattern maker if I wanted to make a skirt um I also started my wholesale business that way you know I doing that doing that trade show and jumping into that crazy awesome other side of my business and we talked a lot about that awesome feedback that you can get that shows and that that was how I built my line you know without seeing customers interact with my stuff without hearing what my regular customers were saying about what they wanted without paying attention you know I started out making women's shirts one of my customers said one day can you make sure like this for my daughter and I was like uh yeah because my answer was always yes you know yes yes yes yes yes I am hungry you know what do you want? I add it um I made a sure for her daughter boom my kids line ended up becoming the major thing I would have never I didn't even I don't have kids I wouldn't have thought about making anything for kids that would have even occurred to me I talked a little bit about seeing my painting you know, on tv I have tons of my stuff on tv in the hands of celebrities um which is important to some people I'm not like a big celebrity person but believe you me it looked really good on my website you know and that was what that was what I cared about I cared about the professional how professional my business was and you know, looking legit and that really helped that and I also developed my branding, which I kind of talked about, you know, getting that getting that feedback and figuring out when you saw my first book I didn't even have a name, you know, it was just booth and I went through like three different names first I was random metal arts and then I was in a coal random and then I don't know what it was after that, but I ended up becoming random nicole, you know, and that all happened through through that feedback who so now we've talked about our obstacles so let's talk about something positive right now let's talk about what are some benefits that you've gotten out of doing craft shows we talked about mine already so let's hear from you guys in person online anybody oh, jeez. Okay, okay benefit hi s o one of the benefits you say your name for sorry absolutely. I'm stacy and your website in case somebody wants to find you sure is by b y stacy monique dot com awesome and some of the benefits that I have are similar to yours. I've met a really awesome community of other vendors who participate in the events so we've shared like tips in secrets and tell each other about upcoming shows, eh? So that's been really helpful I've you know, participate in patchwork, which was awesome, but another benefit has also just the connection with the community I do a lot of street fairs and let craft shows in oakland so it's been really cool meeting people in the area and having that connection because like you said, you create by yourself so that community connection is really, really important so not just connection tio the creative community but a connection to your community, which I feel like I don't know it seems like in I wasn't alive in the fifties but it seems like in their fifties it was like kids on the neighborhood street were playing with each other you went to your local butcher sam and you were like, he was like, hey, the cool side of beef or whatever I would get every week, you know, when there was like this, the pharmacist was like your prescriptions here, whatever your name is, you know, it's, just like there was just like that kind of community and I feel like we miss out on us like you go to the bank and you don't even talk to the teller, you go to the grocery store yet you yeah, you had a grocery store let me just be this clerk right now, the grocery store and the customer, you know, we just don't have that interaction as much anymore so that is really important we have red scorpio online says a lot of lessons learned it's great for market research you think I'm audrey luna says I have been offered to sell my stuff in stores from craft shows, so actually getting business also I'm donna says besides making money, what else actually making me drive it money and least says it's been great to get out of my comfort zone plus I've made some good contacts I have been offered other shows and exhibitions okay, so out of comfort zone also a great place to find trends or what do some trend watching women were making I have a been able to see my whole line went once you get it all spread out in a show you can really see how consistent are inconsistent it and immediately see what people are drawn to and by the time they get it in their hands is that hard to open is a hard to closes at an awkward if it does that really today just toss it on and walk away they're like sold s o that feedback of course and just how they touch it and how it works and how much it holds up by the time you pack it in, pack it, sell it, move it around you see like is it a really solidly constructed piece is the material that you selected like good doesn't wear well, all those kinds of things I get to, uh, great experiences from it one is the inspiration of others I'm always amazed at what people khun d'oh and then I I always find it interesting for those that give you feedback on application like sometimes they're going to use your product in a way that maybe you hadn't thought about it. I feel like this is a lot of benefits oh yes, they bring on, so that is that sometimes people are just really kind and make you feel good, like they're like, this is so awesome, I love what you're doing, I'm supporting you, you know, you get energy so like that's just really nice to hear people say nice things about you because you don't always get to hear that let's call that nice people slash warm fuzzies. Yeah, because we were talking about, like, working alone there's nowt like, good job, stacy, you're off, okay, uh, you guys talked about a lot of things that I talked about. There are some things I want to talk about that you didn't talk about so that's so that's good, I want to talk about some of the benefits of do you recognize somebody? You know, in that picture? I thought so also I just want to share that all of the pictures that are that you're going to see our pictures taken our patchwork shows by me I think there might be one or two that were taken by our photographers and I'm just really thankful to our vendors and guess for being so awesome and posing for photos and stuff uh and then all the illustrations I did so building our community so we talked a little bit about networking with fellow vendors and how important that is for getting those tips and those secrets and finding out about other shows how do you find out about shows if you're not in there you know you're looking online but you don't get that riel think of somebody that's like yeah, I do this show and it's not organized very well, but I meet a lot of money so that's why I would recommend it you know, everybody we all put our best foot forward right on our web sites and stuff so shows we're doing that too, so we usually show like pictures where it looks super crowded, you know, pictures of, like really happy people were not going to show that one vendor and I mean we as in like the collective we not patchwork necessarily, but when I showed a picture of that one vendor that's just like, you know, same reason that you're not going to show something thatyou made that is not your favorite thing that didn't come out right and then getting out of the studio on connecting which we talked about and I love that you threw in that connecting to your community to that on top of that is really awesome and aside from sharing kind of tips and resource is when I remember that at the flea market that I did that was how I found out about like where to get supplies to make my stuff I was so buying stuff of the local craft store you know and not really I was like wholesale well okay, yeah I can you know I just I didn't even know so but also sharing sharing resource is like you know conference is used to grow your business or blog's where you get really good advice and tips or um books if you're kind of like a book person I'm like in person learning but ah it's really important to be open you know if you were expecting people to share with you you have to share with them too you know warm fuzzies get sent back and forth so and then asking questions I know sometimes it's hard or scary to ask a question and I have definitely been shot down before you know when I asked of under hey where'd you get those snaps and she was I it took me really long time toe figure out where to get the snap so you can just figure it out you know so that was that was that you know, I was done I was like okay, well I guess you're not part of my my people that you know um but if I wouldn't have asked that question I wouldn't have known that and then I just kept asking until I got an answer and eventually somebody told me where to get snaps and I got up it was great and then also, which we talked about earlier a little bit which was traveling working vacation which is like one of my favorites and there are so many awesome shows and there are so many ways to travel on on a shoestring with your butt business and make money on top of your trip or even just pay for your trip also money which we talked about over there growing your income is a great benefit of craft shows and then connecting with shop buyers so who are we talking somebody in here we were talking about meeting a buyer at a craft show no you but at but at patchwork in the fall I did meet a buyer for a big brand in oakland that carries my stuff now so that was all that was a win for sure that is a way in and sometimes those what stores that oakland ish yeah yeah so they're in the bay area check them out there's great supporters of any business um yeah, I you can do a show and let's say I don't know you don't sell that much to customers just getting into one store one wholesaler can make that whole show worth it so um and if you've done a bit of wholesale before you know that like once you get into a store the hustle is not totally over but it's a bit easier because at that point they know your stuff they know they know it sold so they're like like hey it's it's me to reorder bring on stacy thing because I'm new in the small business world the people the other shops not just the whole ship sell shops but the other small businesses where they carry and boutiques were they carrying my product they've been really helpful with like teaching me how to do what I'm supposed to do so I'm like a line sheet was that and like people have been really helpful so that's been that's been nice and I think because they support small businesses there like investing in me and wanna have you know somebody from the area so it's been that's been a really positive experience? Yeah it's funny ah carrie chapin I'm really champion her champion here today but she champions me so she wrote a book called the handmade marketplace and then grow your hand to book books grow you grow your handmade business and the handmade marketplace I hope I'm getting the titles right but she was a buyer for a store and that was how she started was by educating you know, she was trying to get into independent people in there to sell their stuff and she would say, hey, some your line sheet and they would say, what is a line? She and she was like these people need education boom books so uh on top of that creating brand recognition so we're kind of talking about this a little bit earlier, but I'm somebody asked me how do you get people to your s e shop? Well, you have to get them there, you know there's a bunch of different ways to do it, but selling your craft shows will help you build that that base so and you get this, you know, huge audience usually it's like thousands of people that are all walking by and seeing your stuff and even if they don't buy something may be there looking the next time you they see they see though by something and also which we just kind of talked about a little bit which is growing your online audience so building that mailing list, which is how you get people to your etsy shop or your online store so, um, you know, sending out a newsletter and telling them about sales and deals and then expanding your social media audience, which is another way to on a little people in and if you're not doing these things when you're at a show, you're really missing out on an opportunity, you know, it's, not just what you're selling out the show it's, what the returns are that are going to come later, whether it's a wholesale account or that person finally buying something after they were just kind of looking around at that time, you know, sometimes someone will be there and it's like, I don't have a baby. Oh, my friend just got pregnant. Let me go back and find that card of that person in order that in order that one, see so it's also a really great place to engage with your with your online audience, so you have that online audience already, and then you're kind of sharing your experience while you're at the craft show, and they are seeing the other side of you and your business, you know? So they're putting kind of a face to it it's more personal, and they're really engaging with the story behind your business, and we're gonna talk about how how to engage your online audience a little bit later, also expanding your knowledge, so getting product feedback you know which we talked about and you recognize those animals? Yeah, they they are super cute, though zahraa jenny smith plush artists, if anybody, if anybody wants to know any of the products in the slides, I would love to give our vendors some love, so getting products feed feedback, which we talked about, we talked about there, you know, I love that sense of, like, using the customers of the craft show to assess if your product is ready, seeing how they're interacting with it, seeing if they're picking it up and using in a different way that you didn't that you didn't think about, um, and also getting experience, you know, the more you do something about going to get at it. So, rebecca, do you feel better doing craft shows now than you did fifty shows ago? Oh, my gosh, yes, meyer fact, we just had a little, not a little, a pretty large team show out at pier thirty five, and it was the first time in all of my craft shows that I felt prepared. I had signs, and it was really a culmination of everything that I had learned had taken in from the feedback people have given me about, you know, sometimes they pick up things that I think are very obvious, like, I make these huggable california shaped pillows, and people didn't know what they were, what is this main turning upside down? And I was like, all right somethingto learn inside people don't know what my thing is, right? You know, good to know so I made this huge sign and it said huggable california and every single person that came into my booth with, like, huggable california but I was like that worked out that it was a nice sort of a culmination of all the stuff that I had learned up to that point so I felt like and that was honestly the most successful craft show that I have ever done so I was like, well, I mean, fight from a financial standpoint yeah, so I felt like all the hours and hours and hours of time that I had spent a corruption was worth it, but and you wouldn't have gotten feedback on ally no never because I mean, obviously when they're online, they see your description and this's a hugger built huggable pillow, right? And I mean, I think one of the huge benefits of doing a craft show is, um, having that like one on one emotional experience that you I really struggle with translating that online because going to talk about that I'm into like, textures and textiles and when you're at a craft show it's really easy to get that feedback from people and they're like they touch it and feeling like, oh my gosh, this is so amazing and so well made and then how do I translate that to the online experience that after the craft show part yeah, is, I think, a challenge for me personally, yeah, it's, it's, definitely more difficult, tio tio have that intimate connection in that storytelling online. Then it is then it is that craft shows that's what I love about crashes, so I have a craft show addiction way. Obviously, I have a crap show addiction nickle carry chafin, who is actually are a huge shadow, she said. I love this creative life class, nicholas, so engaging, she's turning and watching, so I let her go. I can go out there in tv land. This is so this is so great, teo, share these benefits into here to hear your guys isas well.

Class Materials

Free Downloads

Craft Show Secrets Syllabus.pdf

Bonus with Purchase

Craft Show Readiness Checklist
Craft Show Timeline Checklist
Profit and Loss Worksheet With Examples
Packing Checklist
Craft Show List
Benefits and Goals Worksheet
Branding Worksheet
Post Craft Show Checklist
Craft Show Application Checklist
Brand Mood Board Exercise

Ratings and Reviews


It was an awesome experience. I learned so much from Nicole. She is entertaining and so knowledgeable that I feel I left the show with soooooo much info. I loved being in the studio audience, I met so many great people, crafters and new friends I feel we all became one big support for each other. I am putting to good use everything I learned. I look forward to coming back to Creative Live for another learning experience. Craft Show Secrets taught me all the ins/outs of craft shows ...I'm excited for my next craft show. Time to Create!!!

Lisa Jones

Great Class! Full of practical information + tools about how to REALLY succeed doing shows. I have attended many a craft show and found an enormous amount of useful tips. I especially loved the bonus material! Thank you Nicole and Creative Live for keeping it real + FUN!!

a Creativelive Student

I've been growing my business successfully online for the last six years, but hadn't shown my work in person for a decade. As a refresher, I took Nicole's craft show class to be sure that I made the most of the time I would have in front of my customers. Because of the preparedness and mindset that I gained from Nicole's teaching, my show was a huge success. My interactions with the customers, producers, and other vendors were genuine and joyful, building a stronger foundation for future business and relationships. This course took the worry and stress off my shoulders so I could enjoy the opportunity that I had. Thanks, Nicole! Tamara Kraft Pithitude

Student Work