If you’ve sold at a craft show before, you’ve probably noticed those “IT” booths. They seem to have high-demand products and a steady stream of shoppers in their space all day. The handmade crafts they sell have a unique vibe, their display is on-point, and the vendor looks relaxed and confident.
You’ve likely also noticed that it’s not one category of product that’s consistently the most popular.
So if you’re looking for the most popular product to sell at a craft show, as in jewelry, mittens, or art, there isn’t an accurate answer because…
What sells best at a craft show has less to do with what’s being sold and more to do with HOW it’s being sold. Which is why this article teaches you how to turn any product into a bestseller at a craft show.
But first, we can explore some of the more popular products that are sold at craft fairs.
*You may also be interested in CRAFT TRENDS FOR 2021
What Sells at Craft Shows?
What sells best at a craft show is any item that improves a shoppers life or how they’re perceived. The item also must be easy to carry out of the event and a price point that encourages shoppers to take a chance on an unknown business.
There’s a reason behind every purchase a consumer makes, and each purchase is either a “need” or a “want”. Unless you’re selling food products at a farmers’ market, your craft show items are more likely a “want”.
A “want” can be a powerful motivator behind purchasing. When you need to buy a new fridge, you’re probably not that excited about it, but you must do it because your old one stopped working. But when you want a new pair of earrings, there’s excitement and a story behind where you want to wear them, what you’ll wear them with, who you’ll see when you’re wearing them, etc.
So let’s take a look at the type of items people might “want” more than others when shopping at craft fairs.
1. Self-Improvement Products
Everyone cares about themselves and everyone wants to feel good. We’re on a constant quest to improve ourselves to feel better and better. Think about the ways you seek to improve yourself and if there are any products you could make that align with those goals.
Self-improvement products may make us feel:
- More attractive
- More trendy/stylish
- More organized
- More skilled
- Like better parents
There are a wide range of products related to self-improvement, some of those crafts may be:
- Toxic-free products
- Toxic-free skincare
- Toxic-free cleaning products
- Toxic-free candles
- Workout products
- Meditation / stress-relieving products
- Toxic-free products
- More attractive
- Skincare products
- Haircare products
- More trendy/stylish
- More organized
- Calendar/Day Planners/Meal Planners/Notepads
- Home decor items that help us organize our homes
- Pantry organization products
- Jewelry organizer
- Office organization
- More skilled
- Gardening products/DIY garden kits
- Cooking products
- Crafting kits
- Learning toys
- Non-toxic children’s products
- Kids crafting products
Keep in mind, you must have a specific person in mind when creating your products. Jewelry can make someone feel more stylish, trendy, or attractive, but it can’t just be any jewelry.
We all have a picture in our mind and your products have to fit into that picture, or help consumers paint a new one. A variety of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets on a table don’t paint a picture for me. But a table full of bohemian-style jewelry either fits into my vision of being a bohemian babe, or helps me imagine being one.
Start with the specific consumer you’d like to target (this will help), understand their vision of their “perfect them” and create products that fit within it.
2. Improved Perception Products
We all care a little too much what others think of us (if you don’t, please tell me what your secret is;). This desire to have others think highly of us, drives our purchasing.
We may buy a new top because we love it, but we also think others will think we look: trendy/pretty/polished and successful/etc. If that didn’t matter, we would just wear what’s already in our closet.
When you think about the ways we try to influence how people perceive us, it’s often with products that help us look the way we want to be perceived, create events that tell others what type of person we are or the type of lifestyle we live, or help us send a message about ourselves.
- Attire – the way we dress influences the way people perceive us. One may want to be perceived as wealthy so they may wear expensive jewelry, while someone may want people to know they’re a gamer and wear clothing and accessories that hint at that interest/lifestyle.
- Gift-giving – we may give trendy gifts so we’re perceived as the “cool” one, or gifts that make us come off as very thoughtful, kind, and caring.
- Wedding – a wedding is a big event and people spend thousands of dollars on it because they want people to think they had “the best” wedding.
- Party planning/entertaining – when we invite people into our homes for a meal or a party, we want them to enjoy themselves and get the right perception about: our home, our cooking, our decorating, etc.
Crafts that fall under those categories may be:
- Clothing & accessories
- Gift-giving – gifts can be any type of product; it’s important to think about the occasion and the person to turn something ordinary (e.g. a bar of soap) into the perfect gift. For example, if the occasion is Christmas and the person it’s for is dad who loves to golf, a bar of soap may turn into the shape of a golf ball, come in a box that looks like a set of golf balls, and smell like pine or eggnog.
- Bridal jewelry or accessories (veils, hair accessories, purses, etc.)
- Stationery (e.g. invitations, wedding planning book, guest book, etc.)
- Decor (e.g. centre pieces, flowers, etc.)
- Gifts (e.g. bridal party gifts, party favours, etc.)
- Party planning/entertaining
- Party decor
- Table decor
- Cooking/drink-making/baking products
Remember, keep your target market in mind (this will help you find a profitable one) and the picture they want to paint. Some brides may want to give the perception of “laid back” and create a very relaxed wedding with bohemian decor, while another may want people to see them as a princess on their big day and give the perception of “luxury” with high-end details.
3. Purposeful Products
Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of what they buy. They consider the impact an item will have on their budgets, the environment, and their physical and mental health. They don’t need more stuff filling up their lives. So it’s important to think about the purpose your products are serving.
Are you making keychains just because you’re capable of making keychains? Or are you making keychains because they’re for a specific target market, there’s a void in the marketplace for them, and there’s actual demand? Just because you can make something, doesn’t mean you should.
Consider items that serve a bigger purpose in your customers’ lives. These are the items that tend to sell better than others and tend to be the favourites at craft fairs.
- Help craft show shoppers do their part to care for the environment
- Reusable wax food wraps
- Reusable paper towels / facial wipes
- Wool dryer balls
- Bring craft show shoppers joy
- Customized family portrait paintings
- Pet portraits
- Personalized jewelry
*Personalized or customized items can be sold at a craft show. Here’s an entire article explaining how: HOW TO DISPLAY & SELL CUSTOMIZED ITEMS AT A CRAFT SHOW
- Bring craft show shoppers comfort
- Candles / diffusers
- meditation pillows
- Bath products
- Keep craft show shoppers safe
- Hand soap / sanitizers
- Cleaning supplies
- Fill craft show shoppers’ tummies
- Soup mixes
- Dips / sauces / marinades
- Drink mixes
- Keep craft show shoppers entertained
- Gardening tools and accessories
- Toys to watch their kids play
- Crafting kits (e.g. teach them how to make their own pair of earrings with a kit that includes instructions and the materials required)
- Musical instruments
- Help craft show shoppers entertain
- Table decor
- Table linens
- Pottery / dishware
- Bar accessories
I did just give you a LOT of product ideas that could sell well at craft shows. But I do want to stress that it’s more about how you sell, rather than what you sell.
Please keep reading for lots of tips on how to make any type of a product a money maker at a craft show.
Types of Products that are Easier To Sell
Craft fairs, farmers’ markets, and festivals are unique shopping environments. When someone goes to the mall, they generally know which stores they’ll see and have a general idea of what they’re looking for. At craft shows, shoppers typically have no idea what type of products they’ll discover, which can make it more challenging to sell.
When deciding what to sell at craft fairs, you also want to consider the following:
1. Easy To Carry Products
People shopping at craft fairs and markets don’t know what they’re going to find. So they’re not typically prepared to haul something around for the rest of the day.
If you’re selling handmade goods at a farmers’ market, where people are out on a nice day to buy a few groceries and maybe wander around, be sure to offer items that aren’t too heavy or large.
If all of your items are heavy and/or large, consider offering options for them to pay now and pick up the item later, or offer a delivery service (for an extra fee).
2. Easy To Purchase Products
Products that sell best at craft shows are also ones that are easy on the budget.
That doesn’t mean high-priced items don’t sell well, but it’s an easier leap for a shopper to take when going from not planning to buy anything to spending that $20 bill that’s in their wallet, versus not planning to spend anything to dropping $100 plus.
Consider products you can sell that allow you to have a range of price points. The following articles will be helpful:
- HOW TO USE ADD-ONS TO SELL MORE HANDMADE PRODUCTS
- HOW & WHY A CRAFT BUSINESS SHOULD DOWN-SELL
- HOW TO USE UP-SELLING TO SELL MORE HANDMADE
3. Trendy Products
Products that are trending will always catch shoppers’ attention and help you make sales. The important thing to remember when selling trendy products is that you’ll constantly have to be changing your products.
If you’re interested in selling trends, check out:
- THIS YEAR’S CRAFT TRENDS
What Are The Most Profitable Crafts To Sell?
You’re selling at craft fairs to make money. So at the end of the day, you could be selling the most popular product in the world, but it doesn’t matter unless it’s profitable.
Before you decide upon a product, take a hard look at your numbers (THE SUCCESS PLANNER will help you do that) and ensure selling it will leave you with a healthy profit.
You also want to get your product pricing right so you’re building in enough profit, without making items over-priced to consumers. Here’s a guide on the right way to price handmade items and the popular pricing formula you most likely shouldn’t follow.
You set your prices and determine your profits, but there are some crafts that have a tendency to be more profitable than others. Those crafts have the following:
1. High Subjective Value Range
Yes, I made that term up 😉 But let me explain what it means…
There are certain items that allow prices to be higher, based on consumers’ perceived value of it.
For example, when it comes to art, some people are willing to pay thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars for a piece of art. Not because the materials to make that piece of art are extremely high-quality, or because the artist spent hundreds/thousands of hours to create it, but because they perceive it to be more valuable.
Crafts with a “high subjective value range” allow you to raise prices much higher than the costs to make them because their value is subjective.
2. Low Costs
The more you can lower your costs without reducing value, the more profitable your craft business can be.
For example, if you make high-end jewelry using 24K gold, you could lower costs by creating gold-plated pieces. But that would also decrease the value of your jewelry, which would reduce what consumers are willing to pay, so you’d have to lower your prices too, thus, reducing profits.
But let’s say you can use the same value of materials but lower costs by buying those materials in bulk to save money, or speeding up your production so you spend fewer hours on each piece. That allows you to lower costs, retain the value, and increase your profits.
Some crafts are better suited for higher profits than others. You’ll find an entire list of the MOST PROFITABLE CRAFTS TO SELL here.
You may also want to check out:
- CRAFT BUSINESSES THAT MAKE (THE MOST) MONEY
- CRAFT BUSINESSES THAT MAKE THE LEAST MONEY
How Can You Sell More At A Craft Show?
Anyone can have the best selling product of the day, regardless of the category they’re selling in.
The most popular booths at a craft show have one thing in common: A STRONG IDENTITY
>> They’re not displaying 50 different products in 20 variations, just in case someone isn’t a fan of their first version. They’re proudly showing off their style, even if it’s different, quirky, or edgy and aren’t worried about it not being a fit for everyone.
>> They’re not confused when it comes to their brand. They’ve built a craft show display based on what works for them, their business and their customers. Their brand’s personality and style are splashed across every element of their space. From their signage and photos to their tablecloth and display fixtures. (You may be interested in: HOW TO BRAND A CRAFT SHOW BOOTH)
>> They’re not hiding behind their craft show table, using pushy tactics to move product or looking desperate for a sale. They’re authentic and have a way of talking about their handmade products that garners interest and makes shoppers feel comfortable enough to stick around and ask questions. They know the identity of their business and they’re confident in their direction.
If that’s not you already, it easily can be.
Check out the 3 FACTORS that make a bestseller at a craft show.
BESTSELLER FACTOR #1 – THE PRODUCTS
Your handmade products are obviously the start of your craft show booth or table. They’re what your signage, fixtures, props, etc. revolve around. If you don’t have your products right, the rest of your display won’t matter.
Keep the following in factors in mind when creating products to sell at a craft fair:
A) Don’t Offer Too Many Options
One of the most common mistakes I see craft show vendors make is trying to offer too much.
I totally get it. I started doing craft shows years ago and have sold everything from pajamas and aprons to a wide selection of purses. We’re creative people and we want to show off and nurture that creativity by trying to make a hundred different things.
But I know from experience, as fun as it may be to go crazy with product selection, your sales can majorly benefit when you reel it in.
The cons of selling too many products are:
- You become a bit of a Jack of all trades, master of none. Focusing on 1 – 5 types of products allows you to master them. People begin to see you as an expert in your field because you spend all your time researching, designing, making, and selling one particular type of product. This leads to:
- Increasing your prices
- Creating a name for yourself
- Encouraging repeat customers
- Your products become less profitable. Each time you need to switch tools, patterns, materials, etc. you lose time and become less productive. When you’re focusing on one product you can pump them out much quicker and more efficiently, which means more profit for you!
- It’s harder to create an effective craft show display. You don’t have a lot of room at craft shows. When you have too many products that are all different, you have to find a way to fit them all on your craft show table. Narrowing down your selection allows you to have more fun with your display and communicate a message as opposed to worrying about how you’re going to fit everything in.
- You’re competing with more vendors. When you make an item like soap, you’re competing with every soap vendor for sales. If you get specific and narrow your products down to soap for dry skin, or soap for bridal party gifts, or soap for dogs, you’re competing with fewer businesses…especially in the handmade world. When people need soap for dry skin, they’re coming to you, not the guy who makes not-sure-what-type-of-skin-it’s-for soap.
- You don’t have time to focus on other areas of business. There’s a lot more to a successful business than making product. Your branding, marketing, sales channels, connections, customers, etc. need your attention too (a well-rounded guide to all the areas of business you must address can be found in HOW TO SELL HANDMADE BEYOND FRIENDS & FAMILY. For help organizing the tasks that fall under each area, check out THE SUCCESS PLANNER). Instead of spending your time learning a new technique, drafting a new pattern or perfecting another new product, you can spend it nurturing other areas or your business.
Instead of creating a wide range of products for people to shop (e.g. jewelry and paintings and wreaths and pillows), have your products serve a specific purpose and create collections within that purpose.
- How To Know If You’re Offering Too Many Products
B) Give Shoppers A Reason To Buy Your Products
If you’re simply offering products consumers can find down the aisle at a craft show, on Etsy, or at the mall, there’s really no reason for them to buy from you.
Your business needs a USP (unique selling position) and all of your products must follow a signature style. This ensures people have a valid reason to buy from you and that all of your pieces communicate what that reason is.
For example, let’s say I’m a soap maker:
>> If I didn’t have a USP, I may offer a wide variety of soaps that are suitable for a wide range of people.
>> If I did have a USP, I may offer wine-themed soap for women who love to drink wine.
Can you find wine-themed soap at the grocery store or drug store? Will there be 10 other vendors at the craft show selling wine-themed soap? Not likely.
When it comes to a signature style:
>> If I didn’t have a signature style, all of my soaps would be different colours, shapes, scents, etc.
>> If I did have a signature style, all of my soaps would be red, white, or rose color (for wine coolers), they would have the same shape, and they may all be wine-scented.
Do you see how having a USP and Signature Style help set your business apart and can help you sell more at a craft show? If someone didn’t buy my wine-themed soap at that event, they’d have a hard time finding them after, which is what encourages someone to buy now.
You may find the following articles helpful:
- 3 Mistakes Handmade Businesses Make With Their USP
- How To Define A Signature Style For Your Handmade Business.
C) Have Price Points That Encourage More Sales
We touched on this earlier in the article. Lower the risk and the level of contemplation needed to purchase from you.
How long do you take to think about a purchase when the item is $5 versus $100?
The more an item costs, the more contemplation it requires.
Most of the shoppers you encounter at the event will be hearing about your business for the first time. You can’t expect them to jump right into a full-blown, trusting relationship with you…you have to ease into that.
Don’t aim to unload your most expensive items on the majority of shoppers that visit your space. Instead, use craft shows as a way to introduce your brand and products to new people.
Your most expensive products may sell well IF you’re vending at a craft show that targets your exact market, competition is low in your category, you’ve invited your existing customers, and your higher-end product is your most popular product. But most situations will require you to stock up on lower-priced goods, offer a good selection of mid-priced goods, and have a smaller selection of higher-priced goods.
These articles may be helpful to you:
- HOW TO CREATE AN ENTRY-LEVEL PRODUCT FOR A HANDMADE BUSINESS
- HOW TO USE ADD-ONS TO SELL MORE HANDMADE PRODUCTS
- HOW & WHY A CRAFT BUSINESS SHOULD DOWN-SELL
- HOW TO USE UP-SELLING TO SELL MORE HANDMADE
BEST SELLER FACTOR #2 – THE CRAFT SHOW DISPLAY
A strong craft show display is essential. If it doesn’t attract shoppers, it doesn’t matter what you have on that table; you can’t bring in your top sales.
People see your display from a distance and it’s their first impression of your business. If they can’t see anything because your products are sitting flat or they see you but your display gives off the wrong vibe, they may not bother stopping at your craft show table.
It’s not about being over the top or flashy. It’s about creating a cohesive look your ideal customer will be drawn to as soon as they walk in the venue.
A) Your Display Must Be Branded
The difference between being just another jewelry, scarf or soap vendor at a craft show and being THE jewelry, scarf or soap vendor, is branding.
>> Non-existent branding makes your business less memorable.
>> Bad branding can make shoppers remember your business for the wrong reasons.
>> And good or great branding will help shoppers remember your business and encourage more sales.
Branding tells shoppers who you are, if you’re a fit for them, and why they should buy from you. If your branding doesn’t appeal to your ideal customer, you may be missing out on sales at the event and many more sales that could be coming in after.
You need a clear definition of your brand before you start designing your craft show display. It’s an extension of your message, so start there.
- HOW TO BRAND A CRAFT SHOW BOOTH
B) Know Your Message
Your business’s message is basically telling consumers WHY you exist. Why you decided to start an art, jewelry, soap, or handbag business when there are already countless options to choose from.
If you don’t know why consumers should buy your products over another business’, other than them being “your designs” or “made with love by you”, they won’t know either and they won’t spend their money with you.
Determine why you started your business, the hole in the marketplace it’s filling, and what you do differently and better than other businesses selling a similar product.
You’ll find help with defining your MESSAGE in the free email course: 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY. Learn more about the FREE course here.
C) Know Your Style
“Your style” is actually less about you and more about your potential customers. What’s THEIR style?
When you think about the style you bring to the table with your products, you may end up defining a style that no one else identifies with. E.g. “eclectic and quirky, for people who like to have fun and make a statement.”
But not many consumers would use a description like that if they were asked to describe their style. We tend to use the categories or boxes that are already defined by society. E.g. modern or vintage, feminine or masculine, classic or trendy, sophisticated or casual, etc.
As a consumer, I’d define the style I’m attracted to as:
Clean, simple, and feminine.
That may translate into:
- Clean and simple – an uncluttered craft show display, only using one or two colors, modern fonts used in signage, etc.
- Feminine – delicate details, touches of soft colors, florals, or bows, or ruffles, etc.
Your craft show display should tell shoppers whose style you’re appealing to.
I’ll help you define the STYLE aspect of your display in the free 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY email course.
D) Know Your Story
Your craft show display should also tell a story and help shoppers imagine who will use your products, where they’ll use them, when they’ll use them, and how they’ll use them.
A skincare line may be for “a little piece of luxury at the end of the day” when customers can lock themselves in the bathroom and take 15 minutes to complete their skincare regime. Or it may be on-the-go skincare; for customers who want to look put together but don’t have 15 minutes in the morning to get ready.
One craft show display may tell the story of luxury at home by creating a vignette with the skincare line displayed on a beautify gold tray, with a small bouquet of flowers in, a soft towel folded next to the tray, a spa-like candle creating atmosphere, and a free-standing vanity mirror.
The other craft show display may say “on-the-go” with a purse sitting on the table with a matching cosmetic bag in front, with the on-the-go beauty products spilling out. Signage may point out how getting ready is as easy as 1-2-3 and the 3-step process shown on the table with groups of products for each step.
Think about the story you want to tell, the picture you want to paint with your display, and how you want shoppers to imagine using / wearing / displaying / applying / consuming / gifting / etc. your products.
You’ll find help with uncovering your STORY in the free email course: 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY.
E) Create a Wow Factor
Something in your display must grab attention. Your display will be a busy room, with lots to see. Many craft shows are so big, there isn’t enough time for shoppers to stop at each booth. So yours must grab attention from across the room and make shoppers feel it’s a booth they have to stop at before they leave.
There are several ways to do that.
You don’t need a big, flashing, neon sign to catch the eye. It can be done in a more subtle way that’s in-line with your brand.
You’ll find 10 ideas and examples in 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY
BESTSELLER FACTOR #3 – THE PERSON
Last but not least, the person standing behind the table has a huge impact on sales at a craft show and whether your products sell better than any other at the event.
Getting to meet the vendors is one of the big reasons people shop at a craft show. Let them see the interesting person behind the handmade products.
Remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry finds out the guy who runs the tennis shop, Milos, can’t even hit a tennis ball? Jerry was once willing to spend $200 on a tennis racket because Milos recommended it, and he’s a pro. But once he finds out Milos can’t even play tennis, Jerry feels duped and is unwilling to shop at his store anymore.
If your products say trendsetter but you, the vendor, don’t dress or speak in a way that also says trendsetter, shoppers will begin to question the authenticity of your business and products.
Consider the following aspects when it comes to you selling your products:
A) Your Look
You are a part of the brand and you want to ensure you dress the part on craft show day.
Birds of a feather flock together
If you can put together a look that would be similar to one your ideal customer would select, you’ll have an even easier time attracting them. You’ll also strengthen your message.
B) Your Selling Style
Have you ever been around a salesperson who makes you feel uncomfortable? What does it make you feel like doing? Sticking around and chatting or getting out of there as quickly as possible?
So many craft show vendors are worried about coming off as a pushy salesperson that they figure it’s better to leave the shopper alone than start a conversation.
Wrong approach. Very few people actually enjoy selling. But if you simply allow people to shop your booth and don’t speak up, you truly are leaving money on the craft show table.
People shop at craft shows because they want to find unique items made by unique people. They want to be able to boast about the cool handmade products they bought and the interesting stories behind them.
You’re actually TAKING AWAY from their shopping experience if you quietly sit behind the table and don’t explain your handmade products.
No matter what you sell, you can find an interesting angle that makes talking about your handmade products a breeze and also helps you sell more.
You need to uncover your unique selling position (USP) and find a way to communicate it to shoppers in a natural and interesting way.
For example, a vendor saying “Did you know that your existing skincare products could be causing dryness? Yep, that’s right! Let me show you how mine are different” comes across a little infomercial-y.
On the other hand “I get such dry skin this time of year…these winters are so cold and dry hey? I would slather on thick creams and my skin would end up looking greasy and breaking out, so I started experimenting with different natural ingredients and creating my own moisturizers.” Shares a similar message (i.e. big-brand skincare products not working as you think they should and having a better solution) but in a more authentic way.
C) The Way You Speak
If your brand has a professional style, make sure you’re not using lots of “umms”, “likes” or slang.
“That would totes look good on you!” might evoke an eye-roll from the sophisticated clientele you’re trying to attract.
If your brand is a little more relaxed, you may want to talk to customers as though they’re your friends and you’re sharing advice on ____________ (jewelry, fashion, skincare, etc).
D) What You Speak About
Step out of the maker’s shoes and into the customer’s shoes when crafting sales pitches. What do they care most about?
As a sewer, I may understand serging edges and the benefits it provides, but if I told my average handbag customer that I “serge” all my edges, their ears wouldn’t perk up and they may not even know what that means. Instead, I may say “I serge all my edges so the seams are extra strong and your laptop or books aren’t going to poke through”. “serging” is not likely to make my customers’ ears perk up when talking about handbags.
Know the information your ideal customer cares about and don’t waste their time talking about things that make their eyes glaze over.
If you need help with selling techniques, I’ll show you how to craft the perfect sales pitch and deliver it in: MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT SHOWS.
And if you’re introverted like me, selling may not just be uncomfortable, it may feel unbearable. You may enjoy the tips inside THE SUCCESSFUL INTROVERT, or the 50 WAYS TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS WITHOUT SAYING A WORD.