Top 5 things that drive me nuts at shows 8

I haven’t ranted in a while, and this isn’t a rant, but more of a cautionary tale. I go to various shows where people sell their wares, they range from little local bazaars to big industry shows and there are things that some vendors do that really stick in my craw.

Now, you’d think that in the top five would be lack of crochet or supplies, but it’s actually not, well unless “Crochet” is part of the show name, then it’s in the #1 slot.

But here are five things that if you have a booth at a bazaar, farmers market, or a big time show that you need to think about:

1) Anti-social behavior: Chewing gum, talking or playing on a cell phone, reading a book, or talking to someone who obviously isn’t buying and not acknowledging customers are all NO NO’s.

   This. Drives. Me. Nuts. It drives me nuts in a store, it drives me nuts in an airport, it drives me nuts in a box and with a fox…If you are selling your work you are PERFORMING. Put on a show, figure out what your show is, and get it sparkling! It’s called being on your game.

2. Cluttered Displays

If you have a lot of stock, having it all hung up willy nilly (especially yarn type things) where it’s easily mussed up by grabby hands, you look unprofessional. Go to a thrift store and get creative with display containers; crates, boxes, racks, coat racks, hangers, heads, feet, whatever you can find and use it. Also, make space for people in your booth, having too much stock can overwhelm customers as much as too little can turn them off. Keep your area neat.

3.  Uninformed helpers

I know how hard it is to be a one person business, and it’s hard to find good help. Believe me, I know. I fired my husband and son at one show. Yes, I fired them. They were not presenting the CLF the way I wanted and I fired them on the show floor quietly and told them to take a vacation. My daughter and I ran the booth from there, it was better to have one well informed staff member to trade off with so I could do important things like eat and use the bathroom, than to keep a full staff that didn’t know diddly or follow the branding guidelines.  (Jeff has forgiven me since.)  

I have seen more sales go down the tubes because the staff didn’t know anything about the product. Have a cheat sheet with prices, and a little product info if you have to, but don’t lose sales because you have someone who just sits like a lump and says, “I don’t know Suzy will be back soon.”

4.  No marketing materials right up front.

People, you at LEAST need business cards or post cards. You need a way to contact you, and find your website. If you’re really with it, you should be adding to that mailing list. You can do coupons and discounts at shows you know! 

5. No prices!!!!

The biggest bugbear of them all. No prices=you don’t want to sell.  Now that’s silly isn’t it, you just shelled out money on a table or booth space and then you don’t have your items PRICED! You can have signs that say, “Everything on this rack X $” or  5 for $30 or some such thing if the idea of putting prices on everything overwhelms you.

People. Do. Not. Ask. How. Much. Things. Cost. Period. 

These are very simple matters that are easily remedied.  I’ve been working on several sales training webinars for micro-businesses, as well as materials to download. Very soon you will have professional and micro business resources here to help you iny our crafting business. I’m putting the same care and attention to detail into those reports as I used to when I trained the sales staffs of large corporations.  Yes, that’s part of CLF 3.0, bringing that kind of quality to the little guy.


About Laurie A. Wheeler

Laurie A. Wheeler is a blogger, crochet addict, yarn designer and champion for independant artisans and crafters. She is also known as Fearless Leader of the Crochet Liberation Front.

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8 thoughts on “Top 5 things that drive me nuts at shows

  • Reply
    Robyn Boling

    “3. Uninformed helpers”
    Silly me- I scanned this post quickly and my mind said “UNIFORMED helpers” For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with wearing a uniform :-) Didn’t check back until the end of the 2nd paragraph to see that it was “UNINFORMED” Crazy!

    • Reply
      Fearless Leader Post author

      LOL, that’s funny! I’ve seen some pretty cool uniforms though :D Sometimes that’s not a bad idea :D

  • Reply

    Really good stuff. I just went to my first show. For the most part, vendors were pretty good, but there were some booths that were SO cluttered I simply walked by because the show was already overwhelming enough and I was on SENSORY OVERLOAD just walking in. Truly overloaded. (did I already say that? I don’t think I can say it enough and express how I felt. LOL) And because I’m kind of a yarn idiot, even the stuff that was really WELL MARKED!!! (yes, screaming at me from the signage) sometimes didn’t help me a whole lot in its simplicity, but I blame myself for that. Huge bins full of sale bags that you could buy bags or individuals were probably great deals, but as a noob, I didn’t ask questions. So I didn’t buy. *sigh*

    The vendors with their backs to me who were still busy hanging stuff on the back walls or stuffing more things in nooks and crannies or chatting amongst themselves didn’t get me stopping, either. I stopped where things were already finished and not too cluttered, where I could grab a card of info off the front when I saw something that interested me, and where people said hello to me when they saw me coming and asked what I was looking for and took an interest in the crocheted item I was wearing, too. (I took out several cards and brochures and I immediately went home and looked them up online and bookmarked them for future shopping needs.)

    I concur, FL!!!

  • Reply
    Fearless Leader Post author

    Thank you Keri! That is exactly the kind of feed back from the “average shopper” that people need to hear! More on these topics soon!

  • Reply

    First of all, the phrase “sticks in my craw” reminds of of that episode of ‘Will & Grace’ when Woody Harrelson started showing up, but I digress. I ran into violation #3 at a YARN STORE! Please do not have the sole employee at your store/booth have no idea where the sock yarn is. If anyone’s looking for some cute business cards, check out – cute stuff for good prices. And as an addendum to violation #5, if you don’t have price tags on everything then your sales staff should have a price list so you’re not asking ME how much stuff is. Because I tend to lowball. ;)

    • Reply
      Fearless Leader Post author

      LOL Well, what can I say, I’m an old fashioned Westerner :D We actually say those things, ya know :D