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Craft Fairs

What to Bring to a Show

Do you have nightmares about showing up at a big craft fair only to realize you've forgotten something extremely important at home?

I do!

In fact I always over-prepare for big events because I worry I'll forget something crucial.

So, to keep you calm, organized and on track, here's a list of what to bring to craft fairs so you won't forget a thing.

I have a checklist list that I keep with all of my display items that lists everything I need to bring when I'm attending a juried art fair or a home party. I keep separate lists, one for shows and one for home parties because I bring different items to each. When I'm ready to pack up, I just pull out the list, and I can easily be certain that I haven't forgotten anything.

To get you started on your own list (because it won't be exactly the same as mine), here's a list of items to bring:

Display

  • canopy and side walls 
  • weights for canopy 
  • tables 
  • table covers 
  • screens 
  • risers 
  • shelves or other display boards/stands (write down specific items you use for display when you create your own list of things to bring to a craft show or home party) 
  • floor covering 
  • mirrors 
  • business card holders 
  • signs (i.e. signs that say you accept credit cards if you do, display signs about your product) 
  • banner (with business name and possibly photos of your work if appropriate) 
  • price tags or other method to mark prices (price everything before the show, but you may want to make some changes) 
  • clamps 
  • binder clips (these clips can be easily hidden and are great for holding fabric, such as table cloths, in place) 
  • lighting - lights, power bar, extension cords

Promotional Materials

  • business cards 
  • media folder 
  • portfolio of your work 
  • guest book

Inventory

  • all items you intend to bring to sell at the show
  • supplies for polishing, cleaning or customizing your items

Sales/Payment

  • change
  • cash box (I prefer a discreet wallet/small bag that I wear, it discourages theft) 
  • credit card machine / scanner
  • credit card authorization phone number
  • cell phone
  • calculator
  • receipt book

Packaging

  • bags and/or boxes
  • tissue paper

Administrative Supplies

  • notepad
  • pens
  • acceptance letter and any other correspondence from show organizer
  • vendor's permit

Tools

  • I just bring the whole tool box
  • scissors
  • duct tape (solves a multitude of problems)
  • tools and supplies to repair or alter your craft items in case someone makes a special request that you can accommodate (for example, being prepared with chain and pliers to add an extender on to a necklace may make the difference between making a sale and not making a sale)
  • string

Food

  • snacks and meals for the day - food that's not too messy and can be eaten quickly and discreetly 
  • plenty of water

Personal Items

  • change of clothes
  • makeup (if you wear it, you may want to freshen up)
  • deodorant (particularly for outdoor shows on hot days)
  • wet wipes
  • sun screen for outdoor shows
  • breath mints

Misc

  • garbage bag
  • paper towels
  • camera (so you can take photos of your booth)

Of course, you'll have your own specific items that you need to bring to art and craft fairs. So I'd suggest using this list as a starting point, and then adding to it so you have all of your own specific items listed on your own master list.

For example, under the display section, I've included screens, risers, shelves, display boards, stands, mirrors etc. You won't necessarily use all of those items in your own craft display, and there may be some things specific to your own display that are not on the list. So, use the list as a place to start, and add or remove items to the list so you have your own specific list that notes everything you'll need to bring to a juried art show.

After a show, take a minute to note whether there is anything you did not bring with you that you wish you had. If you've forgotten to bring any important items, add that on to the list for next time.

My list of items to bring to a craft show really goes a long way to help me stay organized. You can be very busy during the days leading up to art and craft fairs, so anything that helps you to be a little more organized will help things to go smoothly and allow you to focus on other tasks.

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