Craft show Etiquette: The DOs and DON'Ts
My wife recently went to a show as a vendor, and one of the other vendors acted very unprofessionally. The other vendor did everything they could to make sure my wife didn’t make any sales. They jumped up and down on the floor to shake their booth and make their wares make noise. They stood in the entrance of my wife’s booth and forced customers to walk around and away from my wife’s booth. When customers did come in to shop, the other vendor actually tried to physically pull the customer to their booth. This was not that particular vendor’s first show, and the behavior was completely unacceptable (and this doesn’t cover half of what went on).
It was because of this experience, I thought I would share a few DOs and DON’Ts for what should be proper behavior at a craft show.
- Be Friendly, Courteous, and Polite - You are a professional and you should act as such..
- Be Helpful - Help your fellow vendor if they need you to watch their booth for a bathroom or food break. You should cheerfully try and help keep customers in your neighbor’s booth until they return.
- Dress Appropriately - Dress casual but neat. If you don't make the effort to dress appropriately, your customers will think you craft is just thrown together as well.
- Setup On Time - Make sure to have your booth completely setup before the opening of the show. It is unprofessional to still be unpacking and setting up after the doors have been opened to the public.
- Be clear about your boundaries - Only use the space you have paid for. Make sure your display and products don't overflow into your neighbors space.
- Stay until the end - Packing up early sends a negative message that customers should stop shopping and leave.
- Use free time wisely - Get to know your fellow vendors, but be respectful of their time. If a customer stops in, excuse yourself immediately.
- Promote - Advertise and let everyone know about the show. The more customers that know about the show and come by, the more successful that show is for everyone.
- Don’t bring a product that was not approved for the show. Bringing an unapproved product to a juried show is a good way to be asked to leave.
- Don't phone the organizers repeatedly with questions. Save them all up and make one call or email. Better yet - read your show material - chances are the answers are there! The organizers are dealing with a lot of other vendors and if they all called three or four times, it amounts to a lot of time on the phone! Wouldn't you rather have your show organizer spending their time promoting the show to improve your sales? This doesn’t mean don’t ask questions. By all means, if you don’t understand something, or you need help, ask for assistance. Just try to ask as many of your questions as you can at one time. Remember to look for FAQ's and other provided information first, to see if your questions have already been answered.
- Don’t complain to/about other vendors - Customers overhear these complaints and get a negative image of the show. If they share that negative image with others, fewer customers come through the door, and you could potentially miss out on sales.
- Don’t steal customers - Always act professionally. It is okay to try and attract customers, but not at the expense of keeping them from your fellow vendors.
- Most importantly, Have Fun! Craft shows are an opportunity to find out what people like about your products. It also gives you a chance to see what other crafters are doing. Who knows, you might even be inspired for your next great project.