Set-up and last-minute details for the Craft Fair


Or, things I’ve reminded myself of over the last few days:

1. Remember to bring:

  • recharge the electric drill/screwdriver. Take all bits and accessories with you
  • duct tape
  • extension cords – test and bring enough
  • power bar. If running any electronics (computer, sewing machine, etc.), bring two and make sure the surge protector is adequate.
  • wire & pliers
  • extra tags
  • extra thread & needles (or whatever it is you might need to repair whatever you make)
  • comfortable chair (but not a valuable one)
  • lightbulbs (at least one bulb of lighting will break in transit)
  • bandaids
  • safety pins

2. Remember to do:

  • write descriptions on tags as you want them written on your receipts. This is important because the person taking over for you when you eat (remember to arrange some such person!) will probably transcribe verbatim.
  • pack your stock in boxes that will fit neatly into some hidden corner of your booth. You really don’t want stuff spilling all over the floor and you definitely want to be able to pull out what you need, when you need it.
  • Plan what will go where in terms of storage (remember you’ll likely have a jacket and bag to store, too)
  • Have someone who can give you a break during the fair
  • Bring something to do with your hands, if you can. Preferably something related to what you make. Don’t read – it looks horrible and clearly says, “I’ve had so little business that I have time to pull out a magazine. You shouldn’t bother coming over.”
  • Make sure to give your booth a set-up and run-through at home first. Just to make sure that a piece didn’t get lost and that all of your lamps still work….
  • Plan for two stages of set-up: booth assembly and product arrangement. Both are important and both take considerable time, no matter how simple your system and product.
  • Don’t forget business cards and brochures, if you have them.
  • Pack components of your booth in the unit in which they go together (i.e. put all of the parts for shelf A in a box seperate from shelf B). Also pack in order. If you need shelves before lights, put them in two boxes and make it easy to get at the shelves first.
  • Roll your fabric onto a cardboard tube. You really don’t want to be ironing out creases during setup.

Think through any product-specific things you might need. Being a fibre artist, I have my stuff sealed in bags so it won’t accidentally get wet, either in transit or after purchase. I also carry a fabric pen, needle, threads and fabric glue with me, just in case. Knitters often have darning needles and an assortment of wool scraps, in case a customer shows up during the fair with a product they purchased last time that has suffered some sort of tragedy. It never hurts to be prepared!

Don’t forget your float, either. If any of your lower-end product is a multiple of five, get mostly fives. If you have $8 or $9 items, make sure you have an ample supply of $1 and $2 change. Getting change in the middle of a fair is always fun.

While we’re on that subject, plan ahead of time for places to eat, get change, pick up any extras you might need and get coffee. Fair venues often have food, but it is invariably expensive and generally mediocre. The coffee is also usually weak, which is a big problem for me.

More after the fair when I do a summation.


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