I have attended close to 50 shows as a vendor and sell out at almost every show I vend at. With spring time shows just around the bend, I wanted to share some of lessons I’ve learned as a toy maker in the craft show circuit with YOU to make the busy show season the best it can be for you!
Create an inviting display.
|A mini display of my items at a pop up shop|
When I catch a kiddo eyeing my display I get down to their level & ask them which monster is their favorite, or what their favorite color is. This leads to them pointing to or picking up a monster they like. That magic moment when a child finds “their” monster makes my heart burst with joy! Parents love it too, and get involved in the fun of picking out monsters & comparing hair styles and numbers of eyes or teeth. Make sure you are approaching & engaging not just the adults but the children at the events. Don’t be afraid to get on their level & talk to them – you’re a toy maker! This is what you DO – unite kids with toys they will love!
Bring baby wipes
Sometimes, kids (or adults!) can have dirty fingers, especially if there is food trucks at the event! Greasy, powdery, funnel cake trucks. Or hot dog trucks, with mustard & ketchup & all kinds relishes. All kinds of things that can potentially stain & ruin products! My advice:
If there is going to be food at the event, set up a display with a sign encouraging people to take a wet wipe (diaper wipes are perfect for this!) for their hands & have a waste basket for easy disposal. If you see kids with food, feel free to offer the parents a wipe – it’s not rude, believe me, they will appreciate it! – before the kids touch your displays/products. This protects your products, and opens up a line of communication with browsers. I’ve only ever had browsers express gratitude when I’ve offered them a napkin at shows, even though I’m primarily doing it to protect my products.
Offer stickers or an activity
Kids love stickers! I always keep some in my apron pocket at events and as kiddos pass by I ask them if they would like a sticker – this results with families pausing at my booth, kids getting excited about my products & often, purchases! Starting conversations with kids & parents is key in selling toys at craft shows.
You can download these free sticker templates designed by Kenzie of Bewhiskered Blankets here or purchase the full color set with 25 designs for just $1.50 here! They are sized to print on standard address label paper, so you can print them from home!
I also sometimes have a coloring table set up with pages of Mon-stors to color and buckets of crayons. ALWAYS a huge hit with small children & again, it gives families a reason to pause at your booth. I can only do this at shows with 10×10 booths though, so it’s not a show time staple but always results in happy families & lots of interaction and purchases at my booth! Try to think of small, free activities you could offer to young craft show patrons – maybe if you sell children’s clothes, a dress up trunk & mirror? Think outside the box & get creative with freebies & activities you can do to get people excited about your booth at events!
Do you make & sell toys or items for kids at craft shows? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments! What craft show advice would you offer other toy makers before their first show of the season?