There are lots of amazing craft fairs, vintage shows and art exhibitions happening at the moment so I thought for today's 'shop tips' I would put together a packing list of useful things to take for a fair. I hope this is useful and will help you to prepare for the fair.
Stall basics and set up
- Table (if required, you might want to check with the venue)
- Chairs (if required)
- Table cloth (long enough to cover under the table so you can place extra stock and your storage boxes there)
- DIY equipment if you are putting up your stand (hammer, nails etc)
- Sack truck to transport your boxes to your stall
- Stock boxes (clearly labeled)
- Photograph of your practice set up before the fair so you can remember where everything goes and set up quickly
- Lighting (Plug in lighting if you are by a plug point or battery operated fairy lights)
- Business cards / flyers
- Artist portfolio with photographs
- Stickers with branding
- Photographs of your other work
- Where the public can find you on social media
- Your brand/ shop name clearly displayed
What to wear
- Layers! - If it is hot you can take a layer off, if it is cold you can put another layer on
- Comfy shoes as you will spend a lot of time standing on your feet and need something comfy to unload in
- Depending on what you are selling you might want to take a spare pair of clothes (for example if you are lifting big pieces of furniture or something which might mark your clothes)
- Gloves for outdoors or for moving stock these are helpful
- Hat (warm hat or sunhat depending on the weather) - obviously for if you are outside but also useful for unloading. If you turn up at 5 or 6 in the morning there is a chill in the air so a warm hat comes in handy!
- Your own items - a great way to show off what you make and show what it looks like on. Wear your own creations
- Wellington boots if you are going somewhere muddy such as selling at a festival
- Outfit - Wear something you are comfy in but also reflects you and the style of your brand and the event you are going to. For example when I sell at vintage fairs I normally get out one of my lovely vintage dresses to wear. It is also quite useful to wear something bright coloured or memorable so people can point you and your stall out to others
- Extra socks -incase they get wet
- Waterproof jacket
- Inner soles for your shoes - makes your feet so much more comfy!
- A float with both notes and plenty of small change
- Somewhere to store the money (a lockable box? a bum bag or cash belt? an apron?)
- Credit card machine if you are offering this payment
- Receipt/ sales book
- iPad or phone if you are taking online payments
- Pens - Take something that won't smudge, won't run easily if they get wet and take lots of pens as they always seem to disappear or get lost!
- Marker pen (incase you need to write signage)
- Card (for makeshift signs)
- Double sided tape
- Spare price tags
- Red 'SOLD' stickers - Great if your customer is going to collect later and also encourages customers to buy as they see other people buying
- Please touch/ try on sign really encourages people to touch your work, look through and try on which means they are more likely to make a purchase
- Notepad - for jotting down ideas, requests, contact details etc
- Rail for clothing
- Something to add height to your stall
- Bargain/ special offer box
- Jewellery stands
- Price labels/ signs that stand out
- Mirror for customer
- Bubble wrap
- Stickers with your branding to seal
- Gift wrap
- Packing nuggets
- Bags - these look great if they have your own branding on them
- Tissue paper
- Poly Pockets for protecting prints, cards etc
- Small bags for little items (such as jewellery)
You usually won't have much time to be dashing off and leaving the stall especially if it is just you manning it so make sure you take something to eat and drink and that this is something that isn't messy but will keep your energy up. A flask of coffee or tea is a good way to perk yourself up too! Make sure you take lots of water. I often find my voice gets croaky at fairs from talking to so many people so keep hydrated!
Good foods to take...
- Pieces of fruit
- Cereal bars
For outdoor fairs
- Flask for a hot drink
- Hand warmers
- Paper weights (or strong double sided tape) to stop signs blowing away
- Weighted clips - These can be used to stop signs flapping or your table cloth lifting
- Sunblock/ suncream
- Hat and gloves
- Mobile phone and charger or spare battery if possible
- Ipad or something you can use to tweet/ update your Facebook page etc
- Camera - To take some decent photographs which you can upload to social media or your website afterwards
- Spare bulbs for lighting
- Mini first aid kit - Plasters are a must!
- Rubbish (garbage) bags
- Small bin (trash can) - useful if you are gift wrapping or removing labels
- Compact mirror
- Something to do. You hope the stall is going to be super busy all day but there will be some quieter times or times when there are customers on the stall but they are happy browsing themselves. It is a good idea to take something to do and particularly if you can take something craft related as this will double up as a way to demonstrate your craft which customers love to see. So sitting there knitting, drawing, making things will keep you busy and keep your stall looking interesting!
- A friend to help out, provide an extra pair of hands and man the stall when you need to use the bathroom
- Change for the car park that is easily accessible (i.e. not in float which happens to be under EVERYTHING in the car!)
Some handy hits
- If you don't have a credit card machine find out where the nearest ATM is so you can direct your customers there if they need to get cash out
- Find out where the toilet is so you don't have to spend ages looking for it once the fair begins and you can direct any customers who ask there too
- Schedule social media posts to post where the fair is and regularly check your social media incase anyone is asking details about the fair. Upload some photographs of set up or photographs of your stall to encourage people to visit
Hope this helps!
Good luck with your fair/ exhibition/ show. I would love to hear what fairs you are doing and if this helped at all. Please let me know in the comments section below. I would also love to hear if you think I have missed anything.