9 Vendor Booth Ideas that Increased My Craft Sales

The JoJo's So Creative vendor booth at Ontario Comic Con Revolution.

My experience selling handmade crafts at a local comic con

Under my business, JoJo’s So Creative, I’ve been selling my handmade headpieces and accessories for 10 years now. When I sell in person, it’s usually at comic conventions like Comic Con Revolution Ontario and local craft fairs. These types of events can cost between $100 and $1500 in fees. However, I’m proud to say that by focusing on vendor booth ideas to increase my sales, I’ve never once failed to make back my booth or table fees. Not even at my lowest, when I “invested” in a beautiful, custom-made wooden display. As it turned out, my “investment” was completely unusable as it didn’t fit in any non-commercial vehicle on the planet!

Pause your artist brain, rev up your marketing mentality

What’s more, my booth actually makes a profit. Aside from quality products, the main reason I continue to profit at craft fairs and comic conventions is that everything about my booth is designed to increase sales. In fact, I approach selling my handmade creations with a marketing mentality at all times. Unfortunately, the hard truth is that it’s not enough to make beautiful things, you have to market them! As artists or crafters, it can be very hard to set aside the heart and soul you pour into your work. However, if you want to increase your sales, you have to learn to think like a marketer. For example, you can use the psychology of freebies to build traction and brand recognition (i.e., lure potential customers to your trade booth).

Keep reading to find more vendor booth ideas based on tried-and-true marketing strategies that can help you increase your sales.

At Comic Con Revolution Ontario, we offered everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, a free sticker to draw them to my booth. Even daleks that needed some extra help!

1) Free stickers are my secret weapon for any vendor booth

Of all the vendor booth ideas out there, giving out stickers is the one you need to start doing immediately. Generally, businesses use freebies as part of their marketing strategy to create goodwill and cultivate brand loyalty. However, when you’re vending in person, the benefit is much more immediate. Consider how big conventions are and that craft fairs are usually outdoors in the sun. Attendees can very easily become worn out and tired. I call it the “zombie walk” because they’re moving through the space but not taking anything in. Even so, a cheerful “Hi, would you like a free sticker?” does two things.

First, the offer of a free sticker snaps tired attendees out of the zombie walk and grabs their attention. Second, it forces them to move closer to your vendor booth so that they actually notice what you’re selling.

A redheaded woman with pink heart shaped glasses and wearing a pink cottage core dress hands a free sticker to an attendee at Ontario Comic Con Revolution from inside her vendor booth.

I order custom stickers using the Avery WePrint® service because it’s fast, easy, and doesn’t break my budget.

My design is a simple circle, and I ordered kiss-cut individual stickers. However, you can also get custom die-cut shapes for no added charge!

2) Manage customer expectations—don’t be shy with prices

One of the biggest mistakes new vendors make is not displaying prices. When brainstorming vendor booth ideas, consider grouping items by category and writing prices on blank business cards. I prefer this approach because it gives me flexibility for end-of-con discounts on day two.

Avery 28311 Kraft brown business cards are essentials for my vendor booth. These ones are also eco-friendly, which is a nice bonus.

3) Make sure you offer a mix of prices & profit margins

When considering vendor booth ideas, ensure you have a mix of high and low prices so everyone can walk away with something. For instance, my handmade headpieces are priced appropriately for the time and skill they require. To balance these, I offer small items like buttons and greeting cards, which have a high profit margin and can be reprinted quickly.

A display of custom-printed greeting cards is displayed in a clear acrylic step-shelf stand for easy browsing.

I ordered custom-printed 5″ x 7″ greeting cards through Avery. Then I switched out the plain white envelopes for Kraft brown and packaged the cards in 6″ x 9″ poly bags to increase value.

You can also print your own cards at home on a variety of greeting cards, postcards, and notecards.

4) “Eye level is buy level”—use the vertical space in your booth

Objects lying flat on a table are easy to overlook. In comparison, vertical trade booth displays make your goods visible from a distance and allow you to position valuable items at eye level. This is important because customers perceive eye-level items as the most valuable. I know it works from years of firsthand experience, but it’s also a fundamental visual marketing approach supported by oodles of data on product placement.

I use square grid shelving, hanging baskets, and Styrofoam heads covered with stockings to create a vertical display.

Then I arrange the items so that the most valuable ones are at eye level.

Grid shelving, hanging baskets, trunks and acrylic step-shelving are used to create a vertical display for a vendor booth.

5) Call in favors to help staff your vendor booth

Comic conventions have heavy foot traffic, and one person can’t effectively cover a booth all day. For a 10×10 vendor booth at a convention, I recommend a team of at least three: one to attract customers, one to close sales, and one to handle payment. For craft fairs, two people are usually sufficient. Fortunately, I have wonderful friends who work together like a well-oiled machine and also make it fun!

Two women wearing JoJo's So Creative headpieces and accessories take a selfie while working the brand's vendor booth at Ontario Comic Con Revolution.

My friends Stevie and Mandy dressed to impress and accessorized to show off my product.

6) Make it easy for customers to connect with you

Social media is essential for crafters selling online without a big advertising budget. Each in-person event is a chance to grow your audience and generate future sales, so I never let an opportunity pass me by. In addition to QR codes displayed around my trade booth, my business cards also link directly to my website and social media accounts.

For my main business card, I prefer this dark green with a full bleed, so I chose to have them custom-printed. For lighter colors or smaller quantities, you can print cards yourself at home.

An example of Avery custom-printed business cards with a saturated color and full bleed. The design features images and a QR code for JoJo's So Creative.

7) Use your vendor booth to encourage repeat business online

At my vendor booth, I also hand out business cards that encourage additional purchases online with event-specific discount codes. The cards have a permanent design explaining that customers can DM me with a code for a discount. I add labels with unique codes for each event. For example, my Comic Con Revolution codes start with CCR.

Avery QR code business cards for a trade booth at Ontario Comic Con Revolution featuring custom discount codes applied with clear labels.

I used custom-printed business card books for these coupon code cards. For printing at home, I recommend Clean Edge® business cards (Avery 28878)

For the codes, I used clear 1/2″ x 1″ labels, which is a custom size. Custom sizes are available for custom-printed labels or blank labels by the sheet.

8) Branded packaging ideas for small items at your booth

I use business cards and 3″ x 4″ self-sealing poly bags to package small items like necklaces and stick pins. The branding makes them stand out and feel special, and the packaging keeps them from getting scratched or damaged during transport. This article on jewelry display cards is a great tutorial for making your own similar packaging.

Avery business cards fit perfectly in 3″ x 4″ poly bags. I use custom-printed cards and a hole punch to package necklaces.

A branded packaging idea for necklaces  using Avery business cards and poly bags.

9) Engage and show enthusiasm—make your booth irresistible

One of the best vendor booth ideas is totally free: attitude. Engage with customers by offering stickers, chatting, and showing enthusiasm. Wear your products or offer free demos and samples to highlight unique features. Over the years, I’ve learned that no one really cares about the products themselves. What they want is the benefit or feeling they’ll get when they use them. When I’m dressed up and having fun wearing my headpieces, my customers see that they can feel that way too.

The best vendor booth ideas came to me over time

Selling crafts at comic cons and fairs over the last ten years has been amazing! I’ve learned invaluable lessons about attracting customers while keeping costs manageable. Here are some tips that helped me turn a profit even with unexpected challenges:

  • Think like a marketer! Fun giveaways, like free stickers, can grab attention. Plus, clear pricing helps customers understand your products’ value.
  • Offer a range of prices. This caters to different budgets and maximizes your sales potential.
  • Make social follows easy. Use QR codes on business cards and displayed around your trade booth to get folks to your accounts on the spot. Share your work online and connect with potential customers long after the event has ended.
  • Reward repeat business. Online discounts can encourage happy customers to keep coming back for more.

Ultimately, combining enthusiasm, strategic planning, and attention to detail has made my vendor booth irresistible and helped me grow my business. If you’re selling handmade crafts, these strategies can be helpful for you too.

Follow my journey at @jojossocreative on Instagram and get inspired with the Avery Pinterest board for small business. We’ve also got tons of blog posts you can use to boost business next time you vend. You’ll find a huge range of topics, from custom product labels and promotional stickers to business cards, barcodes, and so much more.

Author: JoJo Mrgich

JoAnn (JoJo) Mrgich is a copywriter and SEO content writer who began her copywriting career in 2011. A musical theater major at the time, JoJo began writing blog articles, product descriptions, and other online content for a dancewear brand. Since then, she has gone on to write in a variety of fields, from essential oils and natural beauty to fashion and swimwear, finally landing at Avery, which she affectionately calls her "forever home." At Avery, JoJo writes content for the Avery blog, covering everything from organization to party planning, as well as contributing to other online content for avery.com. She is also a technical and content writer for Avery Industrial, where she writes in-depth articles that span a wide variety of topics, from safety compliance to 5S lean practices. In her personal life, JoJo is a big fan of fantasy and science-fiction works such as Lord of the Rings and Star Trek (especially the original series). She also loves going to Disneyland and runs a non-profit social organization of 600 members that brings fans of "nerd culture" together for meet-ups and events in Southern California.