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Selling as a #vendor for start-up businesses. Handmade crafts and local artisans

#Streetfairs, #craftshows and music festivals are a great way to showcase your product to the public, at a low cost and (most of the time) with a high audience and energy.

Through this blog I'll go through the basic steps to prepare yourself and your crafts as well as what you may need, what you should consider and how to successfully execute your first pop-up show!

Do. your. Research.

There isn’t a lot of ‘insider information’ available about each show; previous year attendees, age groups, busy seasons, other vendors attending and so on. So hopefully this blog can start to fill those voids.

When selecting a show, check out all their social media outlets. Instagram Feed and Facebook followers can tell you a lot about the event and how popular it will be. Also, dont be afraid to email the vendor coordinator with a list of questions:

Things you should ask for street fairs/ craft shows:

  • Size of booth?

  • Vendor Fee

  • Permits and Licensing required to participate

  • What is provided? Tables, chairs.

  • Rain or shine?

  • What is the lighting source? Is an outlet source provided?

  • Set up time/ Show Open Time/ Load out time

  • Parking provided?

  • Expected number of attendees

  • Age group/male or female dominant

  • Promotional ads so you can start advertising the event on your Social Media

  • *Also consider seasonal shows, when will be high traffic vs. low traffic

Literature & Online Presence:

If you are in the beginning stages of your business it is okay to have the basic social media outlets like #Instagram and #Facebook set up, as well as a business name picked out.

*( Some festivals do require an LLC or some tax ID proof. For smaller shows, you should be just fine without.).

Once you have set up some platforms for your craft, try to come up with a basic logo that you can design yourself and get some business cards.


Whether your aesthetic is simple and clean, or crazy and colorful, your booth must be unique and have an impressive look to it. This is where your branding starts and will continue to develop as you do more shows. If your budget is low, take the time to make hand painted signs (that look professional). Buy clothing racks or display materials at a low cost on Facebook Marketplace or ask your handy friend to build you a display. People walking through admire artists and craftspeople who are fully dedicated to their craft and take their brand seriously. I always imagined I was setting up for a brick and mortar shop. And trust me, your display will continue to evolve.

Things you should have for your booth at every show:

  • Table & Chairs

  • Lighting; hanging lights, spotlights

  • Business cards, Mailing list,

  • I would frame larger literature and hang it “Custom Denim Jackets”

  • Also frame social media accounts

  • Large business name sign to hang from the back of your booth or in front of your table

  • Clothing racks, mannequins, hangers, clothing tags & tag gun

  • Zip ties, guerrilla duct tape and scissors

  • POS device (Square Reader)

  • Decorations: Table cloths, Rug, disco ball (personal preference) Fake flowers

  • ^Whatever it is that represents your brand.

  • Change

  • Water & snacks

The G O O D S:

If this is your first show, it will be hard to scale how much product you should bring to the first one. My advice is to be prepared. You want enough product to sell to cover your cost + enough product to sell to make some profit. This is all dependent on the success of the show, but do your best to feel confident that your display will be full but not over crowded. Also you have to be prepared to sell nothing, so bringing too much sucks when you have to pack it all up, shit shows happen. Its OK.


  • Give yourself a week or two to prepare, select your best 10-15 pieces and focus on making them perfect.

  • Tag them, steam them and price them. It will be helpful to have an itemized list at the booth so you don’t get confused.

  • Figure out the sales tax if you are a registered business.

  • I always have accessories paired with the jackets. Wrapping a scarf around the hanger or a belt that pairs well with the jacket

  • Shopping bags for customers from Walmart ( I handpainted my brand name on them)

  • Care instructions for each garment

Selling the G O O D S:

I’ve found that a friendly, passionate and curious sales technique has always worked in my favor. I could never be a pushy/crazy sales lady, it always felt unnatural. Instead I would welcome the shoppers into my booth, let them have a look around and engage in CONVERSATION. Start by introducing yourself, answering their questions about your products and telling them a bit about your technique, design etc.

This is a great time to hear feedback and listen to what customers are looking for*

I would start to style them and lead them towards a jacket that fits their style.. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR PRICES ON THE ITEMS. I found that people are sometimes afraid to ask the price of a handmade garment and might not engage because of it.

If the shopper was really in love with the item and I wanted them to rock the piece, I would consider negotiating the price for them. Never go lower than what you would want yourself to be paid. If they cant afford the product at the lowest price than I would offer them a business card and inform them of the #customdenim option to work out a design at a price that is right for them.

This has worked more times than I can count! I found that people will reach out to have something designed specifically for them. Always offer another way of selling if the initial sale doesn't go through.

Every customer who visited should: (Ideally)

  • Leave with a business card and social media connection

  • A genuine understanding of your brand and yourself, as a designer.

  • A positive experience and a reason to reach out in the future.


Pack your belongings up NEATLY. Hopefully you have less product than what you came with and it was a successful show. If it wasn’t, and you didn’t sell a goddamn thing, #DONTSTOPCREATING YOUR CRAFT.

Step back and analyze what went wrong. Was there not enough people at the show? Was the audience right for your brand? Are your prices too high, too low? Was your booth messy? Were you not engaging. As time goes on, you will master the #vendorlife. And figured out what works for your business.

Keep a professional and friendly relationship with the coordinator so you can return to sell with ease. And make a document noting how you felt about each show so you can decide to return or not.

All this being said, being a vendor is hard. You are vulnerable, your craft is at the mercy of strangers and you may or may not have wasted 8 hours of your life. The point is to get out there and try, and to make the best of each show you attend. Try to stay positive and make connections with other vendors and take the opportunity to learn from others along the way. #NewJersey and #NewYork have great opportunities for artists to #selltheircraft, check out my next blog as I share my notes on each show I’ve done this far.

I wish you the best of luck on your business! Remember to stay organized, showcase your best with a good-lookin’ booth, good lookin’ products and a good-lookin’ sales technique.Be Genuine, and others will do the same.



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