How to Design a Craft Show Table
The other year I started learning book binding and in my quest to practice and improve, I created so many notebooks.
I’ve also always had a passion for creating jewelry for myself and for other people.
So I started looking into selling my notebooks and jewelry. My first thought was online since I could sell on Etsy and a website I create. But I didn’t know how well I could be able to compete. The market for jewelry at least is heavily saturated though handbound notebooks are less common.
A quick search of Etsy brings up over 2 million results for the keywords “handmade jewelry” and “handmade notebooks/journals” brings up 33k-45k.
So the competition is a little fierce...
I decided my best bet up front would be to try and sell at local craft markets. Thankfully FB made it really easy to connect with events.
When it comes to finding shows, I think it’s important to do some research on the promotion who is putting it on and so some research on the location.
Location is really important and timing because how easy it is to find and to promote will determine how many people come. Try to get an advantage table spot.
When I first started, I thought I needed a regular 8x9 card table to set up everything on, but my second show gave us REALLY tight spots. Thankfully I had brought multiple small tables that made it easy to adjust my set up.So I would recommend finding some easy and creative ways to set up and display your products. Go to garage sales or check out FB marketplace for stuff second hand.
I would also recommend checking out craft shows as they have a lot of awesome stuff you can use as a small business vendor. Price tags, jewelry cards, jewelry displays, signs, display items, etc.
Having a second person to help you set up and tear down can make everything easier. Not to mention easier if you need to use the bathroom or get food.
For my set up, I use three small patio tables. They are not high quality so they are not super sturdy. But they are lightweight and easy to take apart and set back up. I think being able to carry them easily and transport them makes a big difference.
Next, I also bring a small bookcase (one of those cube organizers actually) and use that for storage and display. To display my jewelry, I use a stand to hang Chinese ink brushes from. It’s easy to take down and set back up.
On one of my tables, I keep a sign up sheet for my newsletter so in case anyone doesn’t want to buy something then and there, I can follow up with them later. I also keep a box of business cards out and make sure that everyone who stops by takes one.
At my last show I handed out over a hundred business cards!
Finally, I have some baskets set out to display my notebooks in, although next time, I’m going to get some stands to give my table more height to it.
How to Set Up Your own Craft Show Table
Items you need:
An adjustable table set up, you never know what you’re exactly dealing with till you get there
The Square Reader: I recommend this over PayPal because it’s super easy and was free to get
Baskets of different sizes
mini product versions for cheap (I sell notebook scraps for .25 each)
Boxes (to put products in)
Personalized stickers (get some printer friendly sticker paper from Michael’s or Joann’s)
Gift bags and wrapping paper (pro tip always asked if they want it wrapped)
Thank you cards (to put inside gift bags)
Signs (get some cheap chalkboard signs at the craft store)
Scissors, tape, glue, pens, etc.
A signup sheet to collect addresses or emails for newsletters, promotions, contests, etc.
A table cloth
Coupons for your next show
Postcards with business info to hand out or mail from signup sheet
*A wall divider or something to hang up items behind you or next to you (not needed but nice to have)
Display decorative items
*A cart (not needed but makes it easier to transport your stuff)
Snacks (in case you can’t leave your table for 8 hours)
Price tags or stickers
More Tips for Having a Successful Show
Make friends with your neighboring vendors
Keep a spreadsheet with all your show info and how much you need to sell to at least break even
Create a theme to decorate your tables around
Find interesting props to display items on or with
Even if you don’t sell an item, try to get everyone who stops by to take a business card, postcard, or collect their info via signup sheet
Have a pitch ready (short and conscience)
Bonus points for making your products or items eco friendly
Practice setting up your table the night before, make sure you can get everything ready in under an hour