Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Craft Show Tips for Indie Nail Polish and Cosmetic Companies

Hey everybun! 
In an indie nail polish making group I'm a part of on Facebook, the question was asked if anyone had any tips for craft shows. I've done a total of four craft shows now, and while I'm by no means an expert, I feel like I have some knowledge worth sharing when it comes to being an indie nail polish maker in the craft show world.
There are plenty of guides for craft shows in general, including lists on what to bring, what to expect and even more lists on what you should bring and what you should expect.
The information in this is post is in regards to cosmetics and though I do speak a lot about nail polish, that doesn't mean I forgot about you soap, eye shadow and lipstick people!

          Let's begin!

First, I'd like to give a little advice on what constitutes as a "good" craft show. A "good" craft show should have a mix of both vendors and crafters, not too much of one or the other. Vendors, such as Scentsy, Origami Owl and Tupperware, will surely fill spots up fast, since they're already established companies. Crafters on the other hand have to give a little more fight to get noticed. Leesha's Lacquer? What's that, a paint store?

Nail polish is not something that you'd expect to see "handcrafted" and thus a lot of huhs? and what's? are heard throughout the craft show day. Be ABSOLUTELY sure to have big, bold signage stating your brand and what you're selling. Jewelry and knit goods can sell themselves by glance. Like that sweater? Boom. Sold.
Nail Polish, on the other hand, takes a second or even a third look.

Now you may be asking yourselves, how much product should I bring?
This is all up to you. Do you sell One of a Kinds? I do! .
A butt-ton of OOAKs made especially for the craft show
One of a Kinds are the BIGGEST seller at every craft show I've been to. They're super easy to make with either excess glitter that I have or sample baggies that I'm not sure what to do with. I line them all up on 1 of my 3 shelving units and continuously replenish stock as polish gets sold.
Don't have OOAKs?
That's fine too! 
Grab a smaller shelf to house your polishes and prepare to have backups in case certain ones get sold.

From the latest craft show, you can see the sign I had made with my brand and stuff in the background.

As for types, I absolutely positively 100% recommend having more stock of minis than full sizes. 
I've sold 1 full size in my entire craft show time. 
Customers want to take a smaller "sample" of your product before they invest in a larger, more expensive item. Why buy large if you're not sure you'll like the small?

What about the customers, Leesha?
I find that, while on the internet there are tons of customers among various ages and backgrounds this is also true with craft shows. While not necessarily a bad thing, I'm pretty sure grandpa won't be taking a second look at your jelly glitter bomb. The customers that I notice who tend to gravitate to my booth are young to tween girls. If it's not a little girl, it's a mother or grandmother buying for their daughter/granddaughter.
Seize this!
Little girls LOVE shape glitters, pink, and more pink. I ALWAYS sell my glitteriest and girliest polishes first.

How do I set up my booth?
Like I said before, I have 3 shelves. 1 for full size, 1 for minis and 1 for another item that I sell which is nail sets. Below are a couple pictures that I have from craft show set ups.

I used swatch rings, which you can find on ebay,on my Full Sizes so customers can see what the polish looks like out of the bottle and on the nail. 

Label facing away so the customer can see the polish. I also placed dem minis in order of ROYGBIV
You may be able to see in a few pics, that I always have a craft show special. My special is "buy two minis, get 1 half price". Sales and specials are a great thing to have, as they draw more attention, people LOVE deals!

These were some impromptu signs I had to make for one of my craft shows after I lost the ones I made in the hustle and
bustle of getting everything together. I've since made ones out of felt, for more durability!

My last bit of advice for you all is to have fun and not worry about anything other than how absolutely fantastic your product is, and how happy you are to sell it to your customers.
At first I was caught up with worrying about prices being too high and people not liking my product, but once I let that go I was able to fully enjoy the craft show for what it was, a huge opportunity!

Thank you everybun for reading, and I hope that this post has informed you well!
Feel free to AMA (Ask Me Anything), and I'll add info to this post as requested.


  1. Your booth is nice and it looks like a fun event.

  2. I enjoyed reading the thread in that group and it's fun to see this more in-depth post, too! :)

  3. Marian Frisone SheridanSeptember 10, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    What a great post. My husband and I are considering a holiday craft fair and your information is very timely.

  4. Hello! I was curious to know what the name of the Facebook group is?

  5. It's called Making Indie Nail Polish 101.
    It's a great group of girls from indie makers to hobbyists!