I have a small crafty business and ventured into the world of craft booths last year. As always, I made a last-minute decision to join the local weekly Farmers Market. I signed up without a booth, a plan, or any idea of what I was doing. Enter Pinterest. I searched pictures, ideas, lists, and guides which gave me enough info to get set up. However, as with most things in life you don’t really learn until you just do it! Which I did. I’m here to tell you what I did right and what I did wrong so that your booth will be super successful also!
On Pinterest I saw these adorable table covers. There were no details, just a picture. I made them from muslin fabric because it is neutral and super inexpensive. I was in a hurry so I just free-handed the table design on there. There really isn’t any other way to do it. Don’t over think it…just draw. There is absolutely no need for perfection. The need for perfection is a major delay tactic. Here is what I potentially did wrong. I just used craft paint because you know…last minute and that’s what I had. I didn’t think about the need to wash these and if the paint would run. I used the table covers probably 15 times and the bottoms got a little dirty when it rained a few times. I simply hand washed the bottom portion carefully and all was good in the world. I store them on pant hangers so they are easy to carry and they don’t get wrinkled. I sewed them without a pattern and so they would fit tightly to the table all the way around. That way the wind doesn’t blow them all over and you can store your inventory neatly under the tables out of sight. Just rough measure your table width and length and add about an inch for seams. Again, not striving for perfection here. The covers will have plenty of beautiful products on them which is what your customers will really be looking at. Before I had finished all of the table covers, I used quilts on cover the tables. Those were also good conversation starters with customers.
I can tell you that almost every week I changed the layout of my booth. Just because. I had a combination of two square tables and one rectangle table that was higher. I had room for another table under the 10 X 10 booth but I never added one for the Farmer’s Market. For a larger event, I think the additional table would be beneficial as long as the layout allows for people to wander in.
Cloths pins were my best friend. For my cinch bags they were useful to hang around the perimeter of the booth to bring attention. They were colorful and they closed my booth in somewhat. By hanging them with cloths pins customers could easily take them down and check them out. I also had additional ones folded on the table or in the vintage suitcases. When a bag would sell from the hanging display I would replace it from the folded pile.
I used old laminate samples as my price tags and used tiny clothespins to pin them onto the products. I work at an Architectural firm so I rescue old samples that will be thrown out and find something (like this) to use them for. The benefit is that I would write the price on them with a Sharpie and then just reuse them on the next product. I just kept a little drawstring bag in my supplies with the marker, extra clothespins and the laminate samples. Also, I printed cute signs to hang with general prices in case I missed tagging an item.
Vintage suitcases also made my display look nice. I will have a tutorial soon on how I recovered the interior of these suitcases to make them extra cute…and to rid them of the “old” smell. I absolutely love, love, love the suitcases. I found them for $5 each at a Volkswagen show and purchased them to use in my Volkswagen bus. Swoon. As I was putting the booth together I realized that they would be perfect. You can pack the stuff inside the suitcase to carry into the show. I always kept one with my supplies in it and stored it under a table.
The wooden crates are inexpensive at craft stores and they provide additional height to your table. Some of the booths on Pinterest show the crates painted in super cute colors. I want to do that but have yet to get to it. The crates double as your storage and makes it easy to carry everything into the show. Easy is a relative term. I never thought I had much stuff until it was time to set up! Set up in the Georgia heat and humidity, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I am forever thankful to my husband who would drive to the market and help me set up and take down every week.
I purchased the “walls” of the tent and kept them in my car in case I needed to put them up. Also, be sure to purchase the weights for the tents. I never did use the walls though. Georgia does this awesome thing where it gives you little to no warning before you are being slammed with a thunderstorm. There was no time for walls. If that happens to you just pull your tables to the center of the tent as soon as possible. lift up the table covers to prevent them from getting splashed and try to cover as much as your product as possible.
My other tip is to get to know the other vendors around you especially if it is a recurring event. I met some of the nicest people at the farmer’s market. The universe was on my side when I was assigned the spot next to Adictos a la Salsa! They have the best salsa ever and it would be my dinner every night of the market! It’s nice to be able to cover for one another when someone needs change or needs to go to the restroom.
I don’t know that I ever became a pro at connecting with people who came to my booth. I tried and met tons of great people. I would suggest not using your phone while at the booth. It never fails if you pick up the phone to make a call or text then a customer walks up and it just doesn’t look good. Thank everyone that visits the booth, they may circle back around or visit you again another week.
The chalkboard stand was one of my favorite features. I used chalkboard markers to make it colorful and listed the available items and prices. I think it made the booth look more professional! Mostly it was just adorable.
Of course you will need things like cash, pens, business cards, paper for notes, water, and a credit card processor. Thanks to my wonderful friend Holly for reminding me to take Gatorade in addition to water to the market. I think I’ve mentioned the Georgia heat once or ten times already but it’s intense. I kept getting headaches after setting up, standing in the heat for five hours and then loading up and I couldn’t figure it out. Holly reminded me about Gatorade and it totally solved my problem!
I hope your craft booth is a super success and you have a lot of fun! If you have any tips for me that I forgot I would love to know them!