Everything You Need to Get Your Side Hustle on the Road

Everything You Need to Get Your Side Hustle on the Road

What’s more summery than the beach, Fourth of July and baseball? Not much, except maybe art fairs, craft shows and farmers markets.

‘Tis the season for eager shoppers and casual browsers alike to flock to outdoor vendor booths displaying wares. For talented artisans, this means great exposure for their products and hopefully some extra cash.

So how do artists and growers turn the hefty foot traffic into sales? They plan. They prepare. They present.

If you’re the one putting yourself out there, we have compiled a few suggestions on how to stand out in the crowd:

Presentation Is Everything

Your booth — or pop-up shop — gives a customer their first impression. You only have a few seconds to catch a passersby’ eye, so you want to make sure your setup looks inviting and is relevant to what you’re selling. In that same vein, you want it to be obvious what you’re selling.

Place items strategically by displaying your best products at the front where people can see them. It’s overwhelming to walk up to a booth if there’s no focal point or if there are too many things to look at. It’s also hard to see items if they are laid out horizontally on a table instead of at eye level.

You’ll want a professional-looking sign, such as an affordable printed vinyl banner, that clearly shows your logo/brand name and whatever other pertinent information you think should be on the sign. Be sure to give the sign shop a vector file so that when it’s printed it’s crystal clear, not grainy, when blown up.

Don’t Forget Your Business Cards

Providing a stack of business cards within reach of your visitors is key. A visitor may not be ready to buy at the moment, but they will have your card if they decide at a later date to purchase. Or they may grab a couple cards to give to their friends.

Place some cards on the table and some at the cash register if you have one. Be sure your business card contains your email, website, phone number and social media handles. Some creative vendors use a smaller version of their business cards as a price tag.

“Instead of using blank price tags, we punch a hole in our business cards and string them on the back of every piece of wood art,” writes artist Lindsey Archer of ARCHd. “We design them as a smaller square, just for this purpose. We print sticker labels with prices, which we then stick on the business cards. This means every buyer is walking away with at least one of our business cards.”

If you don’t want to do the business card idea, you could just do a custom printed label that sticks directly on the item you’re selling. It depends on what you’re selling, of course.

Accept Various Forms of Payment

Most people aren’t carrying wads of cash these days, so it’s almost mandatory that you are equipped to take credit cards … unless you want to lose a sale.

A Square card reader is a popular solution. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can use Square to swipe a credit card. You get the card reader for free, and the rate is about 2.75 percent per purchase. Another common option is ProPay.com, which is micro reader that attaches to a laptop.

Make sure you advertise the forms of payment and types of credit cards you accept. Some vendors go as far as displaying this on their main signage.

Welcome Your Guests

Displaying your work is a good opportunity to cultivate real connections with customers. There’s a fine line between being too pushy and being aloof. Sometimes you see vendors just sitting there without saying a word. They look bored. Other times, you see them talking too much when you may not be all that interested or feel overwhelmed because you’re just browsing.

Be ready to tell a story about your products for those who are intrigued enough to ask about your work.

“Let people know if your sterling silver lobster clasps are made by a local company or how you tried 20 different types of yarn before finding the best one for your knitting,” according to website Brittany’s Best. “Being able to tell customers where your supplies come from and why you chose them for your creations will build a personal connection with your items that people can talk about when they take them home.”

Don’t forget to sincerely thank your customers when they buy an item, no matter what it costs. Customers will be more likely to spread the word to their friends and maybe be a repeat customer.

The Power of Social Media

Your business card should have your social media handles, so they can follow you after the show. People may want to take photos of what they buy and tag you in their post. If you don’t have a Facebook and Instagram account, consider it as part of your marketing efforts.

Social media could positively impact your bottom line because you never know who’s going to see you on social media and want to buy something. There are millions of potential customers using social media every day as a place to shop for goods.

These are all beginner tips on how to set up and stand out at a art fair, craft show and farmers market. Remember presentation, personality and payment methods matter. Good luck and have fun this summer!

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2 Comments

  1. Judy Thomas July 23, 2018
  2. Janice Dean July 23, 2018

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