One of my favorite hobbies is going to urban artisan shows. Lucky for me I’m currently living in Austin, TX, and there seem to be one or more every weekend! Being a former maker myself (maybe I’ll get back to it one day), I love meeting talented artisans that are creating beautiful and thoughtful items to enhance our lives.
Too often I go to these artisan shows and the makers can be so desperate to make a sale, that the passion behind their product doesn’t come across. They instead end up repelling their prospective customers.
Instead of this approach, I want you to be the professional in the building. Treat an artisan or craft show as an opportunity to introduce yourself and your product line to FUTURE customers. That’s right. Most of your sales will not be made in person at a show.
Repeat after me:
Most of your sales will not be made at the show.
An artisan show is a time when you get to bring your genius items out into the world to show them off, and talk to the people that could be interested in them. It takes people an average of 7 times to see what you offer to have it in mind when they need what you provide in the future.
So how do you do impress the hell out of them, and get in front of them more times than just the day of the show?
Don’t be a salesman
Nobody likes a salesman. We all know they are out for the bottom dollar, and it doesn’t take long for us to feel icky in that situation. You want to be as genuine as possible and not pushy or desperate. An heir of confidence will go a long way to building trust in your product! Be informative, kind, and patient with your audience. Just this act alone will make you stand out in their mind after they leave the show.
Practice saying what you do
What makes professionals stand out from the amateurs is being able to confidently declare what you make and who it’s for. Emphasizing the benefits of your product in a genuine way while also displaying your passion for it is the quickest way to impress your crowd of people.
Another word of caution: artisan shows can be overwhelming, meaning you will be talking to loads of people all day. Remember to slow down, breathe, and do your best to talk to each person individually as if they are the only person there. Otherwise, you risk coming off as treating them like just another dollar sign in the room.
Have a beautiful takeaway for them
Create a takeaway like a flyer or brochure that the person can keep to look you up later. A business card is fine, and you will still need these, but a small, visually branded flyer that showcases your company’s story will go a long way to explaining who you are and why you are special. Be sure you have your website, Etsy store and social media account addresses on it!
Have a mailing list sign up form at your booth
This is the best way to keep your audience in the loop, and the ideal way to get in front of them that 7 times like we talked about. Have a tablet with a Mailchimp signup form app up so it’s super easy to capture these. Explain to them they will not be sent any spam or salesy emails, only occasional newsletters about updates to your shop!
Practicing these tips at every show you attend, and out in the world, will go a long way to establishing you as a professional creator.