How to Be a Great Neighbor at Craft Shows
One of the best-kept secrets of having a successful craft or conference show is being a great neighbor.
Craft shows can be downright stressful as it is but being placed next to an exhausting vendor neighbor can make a show unbearable. Here are some of our top tips for being a great neighbor at your next craft show.
Know Your Boundaries – In the most literal sense, knowing the boundaries of your vendor site and being sure to stay within them shows you are respectful of your neighbor’s space and value your own. The dimensions of your vendor site should be readily accessible in your craft show application as well as available from your contact person when you are setting up. During set-up, make sure to stay within your site as well as provide yourself enough space to navigate in and out of your presentation site. Being mindful and respectful of aisles and shared space is also critical to getting along with your vendor-mates. At one of our shows in the past, a vendor across the aisle from our set up stood next to our table to direct traffic away from our table and back across the aisle. Don’t be ‘that guy/girl.’
Introduce Yourself – Even if you find yourself elbow to elbow with someone selling the exact same products or services, there’s no excuse for being adversarial and a “grumplestilskins.” Typically, craft shows can last anywhere from 4-8 hours of a day (not including set-up and tear-down) so getting familiar with your fellow vendors can not only help the day go by a little quicker, but it can also diffuse the typical tension that comes along with a high stakes sales environment. Getting along with your craft show neighbors creates a great vibe which can also help increase your sales collectively and opens up opportunities for networking. Some of our most successful craft shows and conferences were referred by new vendor friends from previous shows. Great neighbors look out for each other. So make sure you take some time throughout your next show to venture out, smile, and meet new friends by introducing yourself. If you’re a little shy and need a few icebreakers, here’s a link to some networking conversation starters.
Make a Purchase or Two – Another fantastic way to be a great neighbor at craft shows is to become a customer yourself. This gets you out of your own 12 foot by four-foot world and out interacting with your fellow craft show vendor-mates. Leading by example, you can help create a great buzz at the show by showing value yourself as a consumer. Remember, there’s no winner when a craft show doesn’t do well. We’re all in it together. If you’re strapped for cash and want to participate, it’s not uncommon to exchange products or services, business cards with a promo code for a discounted purchase, or maybe inclusion on a free e-newsletter. Any way that you can exchange value with other vendors will help you share your brand, make a new friend, and be a great neighbor!
Be Mindful of Food (and other smells)– This may not be as much of an issue if your arts and craft show is held outdoors, but if you are attending an indoor show it could be huge. Even if you are in a sizeable gymnasium, strong odors can make for a very long craft show for you and your neighbors. Coming prepared with ample dried snacks, fruit, nuts, and bottled water can help you get through hunger pangs throughout the day and most times is more economical than purchasing fast food. Laying off heavy colognes, perfumes, and body sprays can also go a long way to making a fragrance neutral experience.