1. Plan Ahead
This is something to consider during the summer, when schools and churches are getting the details of their bazaars together. Know which ones you plan to attend and make as much of your inventory ahead of time as possible. It also helps to know how you are positioning your tables. Have a map or general idea about the layout of your products, and leave early enough in the morning that you have plenty of time to set up.
2. Stand Up
This is very important. Standing behind your table instantly communicates to customers and other vendors that you are prepared to serve. It’s okay to sit if you’re taking a lunch break, though, or if there are very few customers. So make sure you have good, supportive shoes, and stand up!
3. Be Up Front With Prices
It’s a real turnoff to customers if you don’t have prices on your products. They usually don’t want to ask, and they don’t want to barter with you. If it is inconvenient to label each product, make sure you have a sign out that clearly shows items and prices.
4. Make Friends with Vendors and Coordinators
We’re not talking schmoozing or brown nosing here, but genuine friendship. Or at least a friendly business relationship. It will help a lot in the long run and establish a good business atmosphere at the bazaars. Just use basic propriety and good manners and it’ll get you a long way.
5. Don’t Go to 1st Time Bazaars
I know there has to be a first time for everything, but, for the most part, first time bazaars are unprofitable. They have not yet established a good customer base, and they usually don’t have very many vendors. It’s better to wait and see if they go for a second year before attending.
6. Pricing Tips
This is strange, but it works. People are more likely to buy things that are priced as following: $1, $3, $7, $8, $17, $18, and $25. We don’t have many items priced over that, but the same principles still apply.
For some reason, $2 items are perceived as either an overpriced $1 item, or a cheaply made $3 item. Lastly, it is very, very important NOT to overprice your items. Make sure it covers materials, but be reasonable when charging for labor.
7. Customer Interaction
The best thing you can do for your customers is to make them feel important. Stand up, use ma’am and sir, listen to them and answer their questions. Say hello, briefly let them know of special offers (although you should have a sign for that!), but after that, only talk to them about products if they ask about them. When they leave your table, tell them thank you for visiting, or something like that. The main goal here is to let them know that they are a valued customer, not a money ticket. Common courtesy is a must.
8. Be Diversified
The more diversified your products, the better chance of success you have. “If you have to live from hand to mouth, you’d better be ambidextrous.” (from the musical Hello Dolly!) Have at least ten different kinds of products. Things for babies, things for boys, girls, older people, moms, dads, teenagers, everyone! That way, no matter where you end up having a bazaar, you’re guaranteed at least some of your products will have customer interest.
9. Build a Repeat Customer Base
Vending at the same bazaars year after year will help you gain repeat customers. We had a lady come to a bazaar we were at, make a beeline for our table, and buy a cinnamon roll. “I knew you’d be here!” Then she left! We were amazed. When customers can count on you to be there, you’ll be able to count on your customers. Coupons are also a good way to draw repeat customers.
10. Be Prepared to Advertise
Bring business cards, flyers, brochures, or whatever else you have to advertise with. If you have them laying on the table, interested customers will pick them up for later. It’s okay to put a business card in the customer’s bag if they buy something, but it’s a good idea to ask before putting in a flyer or brochure.
Have fun and God bless!
How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less, by Nicholas Boothman
This is a great book on how to relate to people (customers) in a short time.
Handmade for Profit-Hundreds of Secrets to Success in Selling Arts & Crafts, by Barbara Brabec
At Barbara Brabec.com:http://www.barbarabrabec.com/handmade_for_profit.htm
This book talks about pricing and advertising, and everything you need to know about making crafting profitable!
A great place to get free and/or inexpensive advertising.