Having an online shop is great but sometimes it’s nice to get out, ya know? That’s why we love getting involved in our local scene through shows. Shows are a great way to get your name, product and business out there. Whether you are doing a craft show, bridal show or trade show, you are in a unique position to meet people you otherwise would not be able to meet online.

Shows can be great sources of income but also take a lot of time and energy. Over the years, my experience with shows has taught me that there are things that can make or break your show experience.

Here are 10 things you need for a successful show:

  1. Great displays – You want to merchandise your booth like someone is walking into your store. Use things from around your house and get creative with how to display your work.
  2. Eye Catching Signage – Your sign should draw people into your booth! Invest in a good sign that you can use again and again.
  3. Business Cards or Hand Outs – Make sure when you connect with someone or they make a purchase that they have know how and where to find you later. Include an incentive to encourage them to come to your website such as an opt in or coupon.
  4. Water, Snacks and Chapstick – Lordy it gets exhausting talking to people for hours! Be sure you have the essentials to keep you going, especially if you are unable to leave your booth.
  5. Card Reader – If you are at a show that is cash and carry, be sure you have a way for people without cash to pay. There are some really great options for credit card readers including square, etsy, and paypal. Figure out what works best for you and be sure to test it before the show.
  6. Enough Cash – Can you make change? If not, be sure to grab some cash and a safe place to keep it.
  7. Comfy Shoes – I know those boots look super fab but can you stand in them for hours? Standing and talking can get exhausting especially on concrete floors so be sure your feet can handle it.
  8. Custom Order Forms – One of my favorite things to do at shows is to take samples of some custom items such as stamps or photo cards and then have order forms available if someone is interested. At trade shows, be sure you have enough order forms, clipboards and pens.

    My Booth at the National Stationery Show in 2016; Photo by Jenny Solar

  9. Backup – Have someone available to help you out and give you a break. Sometimes the booth can get slammed and you need an extra hand and sometimes, you just need to go potty. If it’s an all day event, have someone bring you lunch or give you the chance to walk around and check out some other booths. Have them text you if you need to come back to the booth and chat with someone.
  10. A Positive Attitude – Keep a smile on your face! If the show is not going your way and you start to reflect that in your demeanor and attitude, people will not come into your booth. Remember that sometimes the connections you make and people you meet are just as important as the sales and can impact your business in the future.

There is always more to remember but these tips will get you headed in the right direction.

What is something you’ve learned doing shows? Share your show tips in the comments!