Hi! I’m Rebecca Saylor - head creative behind the tiny home decor brand OodleBaDoodle, a line of whimsical home decor pillows and accessories I create by hand in my California studio. I’m proud to be one of the leaders of the vibrant SF Etsy Street team, one of the largest communities of creative entrepreneurs in Northern California. I like to say “my superpower is networking” and I love helping Etsy sellers and creators of all kinds come together in business and in community projects.
Every year, I lead the creation of a wonderful Etsy seller holiday show called the Indie Holiday Emporium in San Francisco. You can also find Etsy sellers popping up all over the Bay Area all year through events I’ve curated and brought to life.
In-person markets, pop-ups and craft shows are so much fun! However, they can be intimidating!
Here are some of my top tips for having a great show and enjoying yourself while meeting new customers and selling your work:
What's your top tip for selling at a holiday market? Share below!
Ok, those tips are really really good! Thank you for sharing. I am surely not good in selling my work in person as I'm a bit shy to talk about it but I'm definitely working on it and with every event I think I'm getting better.
@OodleBaDoodle I agree with all of your ideas, just want to add, keep a smile on your face, answer all questions even if they seem endless, do not give away trade secrets, hand out business cards, package the items nicely, not in grocery bags. I use tissue paper for each item and have found that customers prefer bags with handles......easier for them to carry. I am sure I have more, just not coming to mind right now.
After 46 years of doing shows, and still doing them, here are some valuable lessons I've learned! Never use a cashbox. Keep your money on you with a money purse or vendor apron. Make sure your tablecloths go right to the floor. It looks a million times better, and gives you storage, for your coat, lunch, extra stock, etc. Don't have flat displays - use levels or display walls, for interest, to be seen easily from across the room, and to get the most out of the allotted space. Greet people coming into your booth, AND if they leave without purchasing, smile and tell them sincerely that you hope they enjoy the show - many will come back later! Cut your food (eg. sandwiches) into bite size pieces if you can't get away from your booth to eat. That way you can eat discreetly, and it is much less conspicuous than having a big sandwich. NEVER use second hand bags to package new products!! Keep those for your garage sales. Always use new bags and packaging! I do Christmas shows, so I never use clear bags - often people are buying discreetly for someone who is with them! Make sure a business card goes in with every purchase. Chat with people, smile, and enjoy yourself!
It was like I was reading what’s would. Also done shows 46 years
I would add as I do all
of the above. If your chair is not eye level I have a director chair. Then stand up and do Not have your face buried in your phone or a book Omg that is a huge turn off. Your product no matter how amazing will not sell itself always. I see more vendors lost in themselves someone walks in their booth no interaction. Lost sales. Keep displays clean. Wind wrinkles tablecloth fix it maintain that professional appearance
Thanks for this! What I also really love for the holiday season markets is to bring cute lights (such as Christmas lights on batteries) to stand out! It also attracts people from further away and looks very cozy!
Biggest learning -- DO NOT arrange your space so that the "checkout" area is in the back -- keep it to the front. That way when your space gets crowded, you can step out of the space and still watch/talk and run the sales. If needed, those waiting to check out can line up at the edge of your space (in the "alleyway" rather than clogging up your booth). OH, and it's OK to ask the lady with the mammoth Burmese Mountain dog as an assistance animal to NOT allow the dog to lay down in your 10 x 10 foot space (seriously -- I debated that one!).
Cash for change, credit card reader, signs with descriptions and prices for those who don't want to ask. Mirror if you are selling something like jewelry or clothing. Stay off your phone!
I am the captain of the Indian Etsy Team. We are planning to organise our very first Etsy Made Local. 1.What tips do you have for the sellers who are selling offline for the first time?
2. How can I convert those offline buyers to become buyers from our Etsy shops?
3. Also, if you do a lot of custom orders, how do you make the offline buyers to request a custom order from you? One potential idea I have is to create a sign up sheet or a QR code for gaining custom orders from a market event.
4. Lastly, how to convert buyers or onlookers into your social media fans/followers?
@LittleRedNook Business card in every bag, gives them all your follow and contact information.
I have a custom order clipboard, where I get them to describe what they want and give me their email and phone number. Make sure you read both back to them before they leave. Also, ask for a deposit to ensure they really are going to follow through. I usually ask for 50%.
To bring them to Etsy specifically, offer a coupon code to buyers that will be good for the next thirty days.
Thank You Rebecca and everyone for your tips! Lots of great advice.
I do some smaller local shows, mostly cider mills.
- If you are going to be outdoors, a tent is a must. One with weights and walls. Like an EZ Up Tent (waterproof; spray it with Camp Dry anyway). If it gets windy, cold or blowing rain comes, you'll have walls to put up (if it doesn't look like you'll need them, don't bother). If it's calling for really bad weather in the morning, I don't pull out (I've been in shows with 65 mph winds; when I didn't know better. It isn't worth it).
- Have someone go with you if you can. This is ideal for setting up, taking down, restroom breaks. I need to go out to the car for other physical reasons; when I come back I like my husband to take a break. It's also good for when you are busy and have a line up of a few people; you're not overwhelmed.
- Presentation is everything. I have a rack with Halloween Garland around the sides. Some items hang on that (there is also an arm on the side of the rack). Items also hang above the rack, on a strong piece of white string, which goes from end of the tent to another.
I like having items of different colors next to each other (unless of course you're getting down in stock). And I like to "pose" one up, one slightly down; so heads aren't all in a row. I also don't like looking up at "chins", so I pose their heads to make it look as if they are looking downward an a slight angle.
I will place items along the sides and back of the tent as well (whether walls are on or off). Behind the walls and at the back of the tent, we have our totes; under them is large lightweight plastic sheeting (it's under the rack as well). It keeps the bottom of the totes clean.
- Make sure everything is clearly marked. I have a sign on my "table" (which is 2 TV trays put together with a black cloth over it. I'm not fancy). People do seem to read the signs.
- Try to be set up about 1/hr. before the designated time.
- Take more items than you think you'll need; as much as will fit in your vehicle. You can always take them home if they don't sell. But you would hate to run out and say, "Boy I wish I would have brought this or that. And sometimes it's a guessing game WHICH items to bring, and how many per each style.
When we pack the night before, I make tic marks next to every piece's Name. Then I have a sheet which goes to the show. It contains how many of each piece has been taken. And at the top, how many of each piece is sold.
- Even if you're not having a good day, don't look bored (put on the mask :) I've seen people typing away on their phones; not once looking up at potential buyers walking by; or standing in their booth.
Smile and say Hi when someone walks up (or when someone looks at you as they walk by). I never heckle potential buyers (but I've seen it done and it's not pretty); and I don't talk them to death. After they come in closer, I will say a very quick blurb of what the items are made of (it's also on my sign). Because quite a few have asked me if the heads are balloons (they're styrofoam); and if the wings are coat hangers (it's floral wire).
- I like placing bags over my items for buyers (the same ones I store them in; garbage bags).
- (This will sound funny). We bring lots of baby wipes. The chairs, table legs, rack and tent legs get so dusty and muddy. And when we pack up, I like us to have everything wiped clean (even the bottoms of the walls, where they touched the ground). *An added bonus which I never knew: if you get stung by a bee, the aloe in the baby wipes takes away the sting. Believe me, I found out.
- I like talking to other Crafters and seeing their items; I've purchased from them as well. It's neat to see the various creativity.
It is very exhausting, I won't lie; especially if you have some issues (some don't mind it as much). And it can be a very long day. But I sell seasonally only, smaller volume. So I have 2 months and 1 1/2 wks. to sell items I've started creating since end of Feb. So it helps with that. But I'm drained when we get back.
(This is just an added extra). At one show, there was a llama and baby goats. Usually llamas are stand offish and will spit. But this one kept sticking his head way out over the fence thinking you had food (he was eating alfalfa from the owner, I didn't have anything to give him so he wouldn't get sick. Anyway, we had this love fest going on, he put his muzzle right up to my nose. While I was stroking the sides of his muzzle and talking to him, we rubbed noses back and forth (of course I first asked the owner if he bit or spit :). But he was a lover; so were the goats; they had their heads over the fence as well).
If you end up in a torrential down pour (like we did a couple weeks ago), don't try to unpack in the pouring rain (you don't want to give your money to the doctor later). When it came on, my husband wanted to go now. But I said, let's just pack everything WITHIN the tent (the items, rack). And stay in our chairs until it stops for a brief moment. Then take down the tent.
He wasn't too happy; wanted to bolt, but it makes no sense to take your tent down in a heavy downpour and get soaked. So indeed it stopped for about 20 minutes. Then we took it down and got out. It came down again on the way home (we were only a half hour away).
Main thing; have a good time.
I used to do the One of a Kind Christmas Show in Toronto for many years selling my unique smoke fired pottery. I used a video, on a loop, of me working in my studio. Often people would stop in the aisle and watch the video which would lead to conversations and sales.
Also have lots of small items to sell because often people want to purchase something from you, but can't always afford to purchase high priced items. The $10-20 items used to cover the cost of my booth and other show expenses. And the OOAK show was an 11 day show and not cheap.
@ItsVera One of the things that was brilliant about the video is it was something moving, that would catch people's eye. I went up on the second floor of One of a Kind and looked down. Any booth that had something moving was spotted first, a dancing Santa, or whatever. I am at Nepean in Ottawa every year, and did Lansdowne for 28. I have a $2.00 item that pays for ALL of my shows at one show!