Craft Fairs and Quilt Trade Shows: Making the Most of Your Booth

by Charlotte Colmon

Quilt shop owners live for the seasonal craft fairs and trade shows that allow them to showcase their goods. But if you decide to attend one of these events – and why wouldn't you? – remember that the convention center or auditorium will be packed with men and women displaying their finest quilts and quilting wares.

So, how do you make the most of your booth space in such a way that you stand out from the other quilting faces in the crowd? There are a few things to keep in mind.

First, try as hard as you can to get a booth space near the main entrance/exit. That way you'll be able to wow people whether they're coming or going. It's also a way to engage attendees in conversation. For instance, if someone walks into the auditorium and he or she looks lost, you – stationed behind your booth – could say something like: “Are you looking for a particular type of quilt?” If he or she responds, you might be able to compel him or her to take a look at the quilts or quilt wares available in your booth.

Another tactic to employ involves using a unique booth. If, for example, you can do whatever you want with your booth, feel free to customize it, make it look very much unlike the other booths in the auditorium. That way, attendees will naturally be drawn to your booth.

Also, make sure everyone who is supporting the booth is at their best behavior. If you can, make sure there are enough people so you can do shifts. Standing on the hard floors of a convention center or auditorium can be tough, so you want to make sure you have a chance to rest every couple of hours. And make sure the booth staff is trained to greet people and answer any of the questions. A little pre-show training will go a long way in preparing them for the show.

In terms of what you bring to the fair or show, bring your best quilts or quilt wares. And bring as much of it as you possibly can. To save on space, consider bringing not only a good sampling of the quilts that you sell, but also a good sampling of the complementary quilting items that you sell. The more diverse your collection of quilting products, the more interest you're likely to generate and the more sales you're likely to make.

Another surefire way to keep people flocking around your booth is to offer a raffle for a free prize. You need not give away one of your quilts. You can simply give away a small complementary quilting item. Everyone likes to receive free goodies, so you can be sure that people will stop by your booth and sign a ballot if they could win a prize.

And you absolutely must bring sales materials to hand out. People who go to quilt shows like quilts. So the people who attend are your target market. You need to have brochures and flyers and newsletters to hand out to anyone who wants them. And be sure to include the contact details for your quilting business.

Craft shops and quilting trade shows offer excellent opportunities to show your wares and make some sales. But you'll ultimately do more selling if your booth is as inviting as you are.

Chuck Smith is the owner of, the web's only site dedicated to helping you make money with your quilting. Visit today to sign up for the FREE email mini-course: “7 Unique Ways to Make Money with Your Quilting.”

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