Monday, August 10, 2015

Craft Show Etiquette: Vendors Edition

 photo by Treefort Naturals

Summer is the start of the market season, where artisans, makers, farmers, and food vendors make their way out into public spaces to share their goods.  Visiting markets is a great way to spend a day out: the food is good, the sights are different, and there is usually a great community vibe.

It's especially important for vendors to mind their P's and Q's while at a craft fair- being a bad neighbor or a pesky participant can look bad on your business.  Our Nutmeg Collective members and friends have come up with a list of their biggest vendor-related pet peeves while at events.  (And yes, all of these things really did happen.)

1. Do not attempt to set up early.  Event planners have a set load-in time for a reason- one of which is that they have to wake up and get there earlier than you to get done the last-minute things you don't think about.  Be respectful and don't think showing up an hour early is okay.

2. Do not ask to change spaces.  A lot of planning goes into setting up an event so that similar products are not near each other and to accommodate special requests.  Think of your asking to move as knocking over the first domino.

3. Don't hog your neighbors' space.  Once you find where you are, stay within your given space.  Everyone is paying for the space they have, and you don't have the right to try and edge out a little more.

4. Be ready when the show starts.  No one should be hustling in 20 minutes before the show starts to set up, even if your display is easy-peasy.  Be professional by being set up at least 15 minutes before the show starts.  Plus, you never know when an early buyer (usually another vendor!) might come by.
Just don't, even if you're as handsome as this guy. (source)

5. Don't smoke.  Even if you are sitting in the space you paid for or in the walkway or whatnot.  Your smoke is likely annoying your neighbors, and perhaps the customers, too.

6. Don't endlessly chat up your customers.  Saying hi or letting them know you are there to help is great, but give them a chance to look at things without barraging them with chit-chat they may not care about.  You may be driving away a sale.

7. Don't endlessly complain about what a bad day you're having.  No one wants to be next to the drag who feels the need to dump on the show, the customers, the weather, and so on.

8. On the flip side, don't brag about the totally awesome day you're having.  If you are having an awesome sales day, that's great!  But your neighbor might not be so try and be respectful of their feelings.  It's easy to neutrally say, "Today's been okay."

9. Don't read, talk on the phone, or text your friends.  It's such a turnoff to customers and co-vendors who may want to talk to you.  If you are stuck to your book or your technology, you are missing an opportunity to talk to those interested in your product and your business.  Don't close yourself off.

10. Don't leave early.  While it's okay to start putting things away 5 or 10 minutes before the show is done if it's dead quiet, it's another thing to pack up an hour before you're supposed to.  Leaving early leaves a hole in the overall display, making the show look poorly set up.  Think about your hosts.

11. Clean up your space.  No one wants to throw away your coffee cup/snack plate/other accumulated trash that you've produced while at a show.  Find the nearest trash barrel and pick up after yourself.

Being a nuisance to buyers can mean a loss of sales and event planners may get you blacklisted from future events.  Always remember that you are a business and need to put your most professional face on while out in public.  And make sure to check out our tips for craft show buyers!

What other craft show pet peeves would you like to share?  Tell us in the comments!

Kristen Skelton of Milo and Molly is a self-taught sewist, Kristen who runs her business while staying at home with her two small children.  Fueled by an endless supply of tea, she sews late into the night when the house is quiet, most often accompanied by her faithful poodle, Casey.  Stop by and see her collection of bold modern accessories and home goods.
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