So this is the following post after the booth display. Just wanted to share my two cents' worth on my first craft fair experience...
Booth placement is vital.
If you can, request for a booth space that is in the HEART of all the activity, i.e. in the middle. Chances are, most visitors have already seen the first few booths on their way in and by the time they get to the middle of the fair, they are all psyched and pumped up to BUY! I know that's how I would be, if I were visiting a fair!
I was placed at the beginning (or you could look at it as the end) of the fair. In short, i was on the peripherals. A lot of people who stopped by my store were either new arrivals, or were about to leave. If they were new arrivals, and if they saw something they liked, they almost ALWAYS said they'll return after browsing some more. Out of the 5 who said that, only 1 came back... As a buyer, I would have the same mentality. I like to rein myself in in the beginning, and when I feel like I've seen enough, that's when I'm ready to make some purchases... which of course happens about halfway into the fair. At the same time, people who are leaving the fair are either all SHOPPED OUT, mentally exhausted or visually overstimulated. Some families had hungry (screaming) kids trailing behind, so they were not very likely to stop at any of the booths at the end.
Real-time real-life interactions.
This may sound very obvious, but I realised i wasn't very prepared to meet buyers face-to-face. I've only been selling on Etsy, where interactions happen via email and Etsy convos. At the fair, it's real-time interaction. You don't get to edit and delete what you say. I'm glad I work at the museum where person-to-person interactions happen daily, so I'm not fazed by the thought of having to talk to so many people. If you have anxieties meeting people, you should think about preparing yourself mentally. Experience is the best teacher. Just sign up for as many fairs as you can manage (ONE AT A TIME), but the more you get out there, the easier it becomes. I find it easier to start if i just greeted people. I said my "How d'you do"s to everyone that walked past the store. It helps present yourself as an approachable seller, not to mention it is also basic courtesy.
Be ready to persuade and counter their decisions.
How to turn indecision into sales?? That was one of my major obstacles. A lady said, "Oh I already have too many bags" after she ooh-ed and aah-ed over my tote bags. In response, I said, "If you see something you really like, you can come back! I'll be here till the very end!" In retrospect, I should have said something along the lines of "OH! A girl can never have too MANY bags! If you like this one I can give you a good discount!"
Role play with a family member or friend, to help you get used to persuading people to buy. Come up with marketing ploys to entice people to buy and to buy more, pairing complementary items together, giving discounts etc.
Take a walk around.
Make sure you have the opportunity to walk around the fair, when it is not busy, to meet other sellers, or even just to take a look at the wares. It is a good warm-up, especially if you do it at the start of the fair. It helps you get started talking to people, get yourself focused and excited about the event. It can also be good for taking a breather, taking a break from the monotony, or from the hectic selling. (*hopefully it's the latter*)
Administrative odds and ends.
Print out a list of the items for sale, the selling price and the lowest prices you're willing to let them go. Be prepared for customized orders, as people have the strangest requests! I had a man buy my quartz crystals that were on display. And I would have made more money selling my elephant collection than my crafts!
Think about your packaging. How are you going to present your sold items to your buyers? I bought some brown paper bags, twine and made some stamped labels. Put some thought into the final packaging because it adds the final touch to the whole selling process. Most importantly, prepare some change!! I completely forgot about that. It was the J-man who reminded me (also because he wanted some change to buy tacos for breakfast!) Bring lots of loose change, depending on how your items are priced.
:: END ::
I do still have some doubts about putting up price tags. I didn't do it this time, so interested buyers had to come up to me to ask for prices. And I think that is better than pricing your items visually. I think that if people are not prepared to pay the price they see, that immediately extinguishes any interest they might have for that item. I also feel like people are less likely to ask for discounts seeing that the items are handmade, therefore works of art. To me, asking for a discount is kinda like demeaning the artist. That is just my POV, and I might be biased :p
But what do you think? Price-tag your items or no?
Hope this helps!! Do you have any craft fair experiences to share?