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Craft Shows: How Much Inventory to Bring?

Every craft show season, vendors everywhere are struggling with the same question: "How much inventory do I make for my shows?"

paper artist sitting at a craft show booth

Want a quick answer that works? Here's the most common formula:

Figure out how much you plan to make in sales at the show and bring about 3-4 times that amount in merchandise.

Example: Planning on selling $500 at the show? Bring at least $1500 - $2000 worth of merchandise. (Keep in mind this is a very, very general guideline)

Very Important:

The idea here is you have to have stuff to sell stuff. Use the back-stock inventory to add on to sales (suggestive selling) or replace items that have sold throughout the day to ensure your booth never looks picked over.

This does NOT mean that you have to put out ALL of your inventory on display!

Now, the 3x / 4x factor very effective starting point - HOWEVER..

Before you can set your sales goals, you need to know how much you can realistically expect to sell at any one craft show.

Of course, we all would LOVE to go into every craft show with the expectation of selling $1000 every single day. We also know that is just not a realistic way to look at it.

This is why I suggest figuring out a MINIMUM amount you need to sell to make any one particular show worth your time.

But wait a minute. What does "worth your time" mean to you?

What it SHOULD mean is making enough to cover your booth fee, any extra supplies you purchased for that particular show, your time away from your studio, the time it takes to set up and break down, meals at the show, etc., etc. PLUS an amount for pure *profit* above and beyond all costs and labor.

What it should NOT mean is just "making your booth fee back".

That is just NOT enough to make a show worth your valuable time. It just isn't.

Nope. It isn't. And I'll tell you why:

In order to sustain your business and yourself, you have to value every moment you spend on your business. You convey this value by the choices you make every day.

  • If you don't make enough at your shows, you won't have enough to reinvest back into your business

  • If you don't reinvest in your business, your business can't grow

  • If it isn't growing, you will find yourself struggling needlessly every day wondering why it's so difficult to make a living selling what you love to make

You believe in yourself more than that, don't you?


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