STAND OUT AT A CRAFT FAIR WITH CLEAR, CONSISTENT AND CREATIVE BRANDING
Be True to Yourself and Stand Out as Yourself.
Savvy marketing and clear, creative branding can help our audience understand us and our offerings at first sight.
Welcome to Part 2 of 4 part blog series 'How to Stand Out at a Craft Show: Tips to Get Noticed."
1. CONSISTENCY – Echo your Brand Palette and Texture
Your brand is your personal creative universe. When you have a brand it’s important to be consistent in order to present a cohesive universe, an image people understand, and in time, recognize. We do this through repetition.
Brand assets include the name you use to identify your wares (some people sell under their own proper name, other’s use a different name for their collection of merchandise), a logo, a message, and these are packaged using a style guide to create consistency and recognizability. If you don’t have a style guide for your brand yet, create one – a style guide outlines a brand’s colour palette, textures, shapes. It exists to helps you stay true to your brand’s styling across the board, which makes decisions such as website colours and show booth styling systematized and effortless. Vancouver Island Market recommends using Canva to create your brand style guidelines.
At every craft show, we get to set up our space exactly as we wish. Whether it’s a booth or a table, a good practice is to set-up your space in a way that aligns with your brand’s style guide. If you have a booth, bring a sheet or table-cloth in the same colour(s) as your logo, website, or that match your Instagram feed. Make sure our stall has a cohesive look that suits the aesthetic of your brand, and even consider wearing colours that match the brand too! In fact, VIM Vendor Etchy Things sells banners at approx 4 foot wide which can act as a cover over the front of the table OR if there's hanging space, at the back behind the boothe.
2. ACCESSIBILITY – Bring Marketing Materials to Help People Find You at the Show and Onwards
Marketing materials help our clients discover us and give us a way to keep in touch with each other. Many people go to craft shows to browse, and then make sales digitally afterwards. Here are the marketing materials I suggest artists and craftspeople to have at their show and in general.
Have a prominent sign with your name and logo – bigger is better at a craft fair, so you may be seen from a distance
Guest book – have a book or a sheet where people may sign up for your email list for newsletters and other communications
Business Cards and/or Flyers
Social Media – Social media is an incredible tool that artists and craftspeople can use to stay connected with their audience, and keep in touch with their clients and each other. It’s an amazing way to show off your products as well – for example Instagram is an instant portfolio! Vancouver Island Market loves connecting vendors on social media as well.
Website - Having a website presence allows creative entrepreneurs like artists and craftspeople to showcase their work and be found, and gives credibility to a brand. A website acts as a virtual location that enables customers to find you on the internet. It’s the space where you can feature everything to do with your business, from your products to your bio, in a clean and styled way, so clients can understand what you offer, just like in a shop but with photographs. Being a platform, a website offers security to vendors, as while social media channels structure and algorithms change according to industry trends, which changes the way content is displayed, a website platform allows you to control the way your content is presented and trust that it will remain as is, until you decide to change it.
Vancouver Island Marketplace is proud to be the internet home for over 200 vendors. We love creating the platform for our incredible vendors so much that we have an amazing update to share with you soon! Being a member of a website helps gives you a place to be discovered and allows you to focus on your work. Register here to become a VIM member and be a featured vendor on our website and learn tips from the best in BC.
3. YOUR BRAND STORY – Sell Yourself and Your Work by Telling your Creative Story
As discussed above, the best way to stand out is to be yourself. As artists and craftspeople, this is especially true, since we put a little of ourselves into everything we create. We spend the long hours in the studio on our own or with community, developing our one-of-a-kind, custom-made arts and crafts. We all go through our own journey, playing between form and function, to create something useful, something interesting, something beautiful - something that will impact the lives of others in a special way. Something to create memories around.
Share your story with the world. For many clients, the artist’s story is as exciting and important as the art itself – we all like to know where and how the items we treasure came to be. Our audience loves to know the story – not just what you create but why and how you do what you do. People are often fascinated by creative process, even if it is second nature to you, and this is especially so for custom or bespoke work. People who shop at arts and craft fairs are especially interested in handmade products and natural materials. Be sure to go into plenty of detail about your process and the way you developed it.
You can feature your story on social media, by including posts that give a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse of your business. If you have a website, in your ‘About’ section, include your story in your bio. For craft fairs, create a flyer or a brochure that features your story too. Not everyone has time to stop and chat, but if you make a flyer with your story in it, it helps create that human connection.
4. CONNECT - Be Personable & Get Custom
Be friendly and be yourself. When people visit your stall, you have an opportunity to make a connection. It’s a chance to get to know your clients and let them get to know you. Don’t worry or focus on ‘making the sale’ – just be present with people, and focus on the connection. Focusing on your client and community, rather than the sale, helps prevent us from accidentally getting nervous and trying too hard or seeming desperate, which may repel people, and helps us maintain a calm, open center and stay present, which attracts people.
As well, for those of us who create natural, handmade bespoke work, our journey and our brand is often about quality over quantity, in terms of the work we create and in terms of our clientele. Offering personalized, custom and bespoke work goes a long way with many clientele. It’s a unique joy to create specific work for a specific person or family.
Providing personalized customer service goes a long way - people will remember you and refer you. People love offering their feedback and support, don’t be shy to let clients know you accept testimonials! These can be featured on your website, for example near the bottom of Etchy Things site, or after your bio on the platform you are featured on. Reviews help others understand the nuances of what you have to offer with your work.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this 4 part series on how to stand out at the next show, and See you in August #vimfamily #amazing #creativitythroughkindness