Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Soap and Craft Fairs

Spring means a busy craft fair season. If you want to promote your handcrafted soaps, one of the best ways to do that locally is through craft fairs and farmers markets. A few tips we've learned by attending several shows:

*Have an attractive display. With oodles of tables to look at, customers will be drawn to the tables that pique their interests. Decide on a theme for your product, then set up your table accordingly. Be careful how you lay things out so that they are not overwhelming to the customer as most people tend to browse quickly and move along.

*Display your prices clearly. It never fails, we can have three pages of prices plastered all over the table and somebody will ask, "How much is your soap?" Unfortunately, most people won't ask and won't buy because of it. Prominently and clearly display your prices, and don't be afraid to tell people how much your products are when they are browsing.

*Talk, or don't talk. In any case, make eye contact, smile, and be available. Some customers want to know everything about you and your goats and your mother, but others just want to enjoy their afternoon without a sales pitch. Some customers like their space, but most appreciate your sincere interest in them and their needs. Don't sit hidden behind your table all afternoon, but feel free to come out and mingle with your crowd. Remember, the customer is always right.

*Offer free samples. With every batch of soap we make we cut a couple of bars into little slices for samples. Once cured, we put them into a baggie, staple our business card and soap class advertisement on them, and offer them to everybody who gets close to our table.

*Don't oversell. Most people simply want to see what you're offering. If they ask, "How do you make that!" don't go into a detailed explanation of cold process versus hot process, gel or not gel (unless of course they are a soap maker, too, and really want to delve into the various options), rather offer up a brief explanation of how you raise the goats and have been making soap for several years and love, love, love what it does for your own skin. Ease right into the oil bar versus the lard bar you offer, exfoliates or not, and -oooh- smell this Cranberry Pomegranate.

*Make sure to have bags available to package your soap- nobody wants to carry around three bars of soap on a hot afternoon. Have business cards printed up and tuck one into each bag, and if they haven't taken a sample, add one of those, too.

*Remember - many craft fair customers become long time buyers and friends, so treat them as such.

Happy Craft Fair/Farmer's Market season!