5 tips to gain more customers for your craft store
Lessons I learned from selling online and at vendor booths
Close your eyes and picture who you expect to see in an arts n’ crafts store like Michaels or JOANN. Chances are you’re thinking of someone older, probably with gray hair and whose claim to fame is knitting. Guess what? While you will find those customers in either store, there’s a younger crowd navigating those aisles, too. I should know. I’ve been painting ceramics since high school, so I’m no stranger to a craft aisle.
But while my mother’s interest in painting and five years as a Girl Scout boosted my interest in crafts, I used it to make side money in college and beyond. When Valentine’s Day, Halloween or housewarming parties rolled around, my ceramic sales significantly increased in person and online — and it was mainly from my peers.
While retail stores such as Michaels and JOANN are tweaking ways to get younger consumers into their stores, craft vendor booth attendees are too often not taking notes. People just assume millennials are not interested in the arts and crafts that they’re selling. Meanwhile Etsy and its competitor Amazon Handmade are luring those customers right in.
Selling online is smart business. But for craft vendors (or any vendor, really) who want to ditch the shipping and handling and rent festival booth spaces instead, here are five tips that they should keep in mind for a younger crowd.
Know your audience before picking out the items to display.
At a charitable event for a prior job, I displayed various crafts — ceramic items I painted and ceramic items that my mother painted, too. Two of the items were a 3-foot tall African-American handyman and an equally tall black Jesus. Then I piled a few crotchet bags, blankets and kitchen decor (crotchet cupcakes, ice cream cones and chocolate chip cookies) off to the side. While my main attraction was meant to be the ceramic pieces, I sold numerous crotchet dessert items, bags and blankets. My co-workers were primarily white, not handy nor particularly religious. I didn’t sell one ceramic item regardless of how well they were selling on the joint Etsy account my mother and myself were using.