Tips for Hosting a Successful Trunk Show

by Caroline Nelson of Little Cupcakes Company

Little Cupcakes Company items on display at a trunk show

Trunk Shows and Craft Shows/Fairs are a great thing to do to build your business! Local craft shows and fairs are easy to find if you search online or talk to other business owners in your community – but do your research on set up, attendance, and be careful of entry fees. Even if you don’t sell a ton, craft shows and fairs are a great way to get your name out into the community.

Little Cupcakes Company items on display at a trunk show

Trunk Shows (Home Shows) have been a very successful part of my business. I started doing these about 2 years ago just locally (in Dallas) – and now we have them all over the country. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Get a good list together – the more people you invite – the more people will come!  Use Facebook or other social media outlets to advertise your event – create an Event and invite all of your “friends”  in the city where you’re doing the show.  Evites also work well to get the word out.
  2. Send a “Save the Date” about 2 weeks before the event – including all the e-mail contacts you have (that are appropriate for this type of event) — and send a reminder e-mail the day before the event – include details of location, time, and any other details you’d like your guests to know.
  3. Set Up – start setting up early – and make an effort to display your items in a creative and fun way. The better the display = the higher sales!
  4. What you will need at the show: Order Forms, Business Cards, Calculator, Bags, Pens, and a Stapler.  You will also need to consider forms of payment.  Accepting credit cards will definitely increase your total sales! Propay is a very easy credit card processing site that has been successful for me.
  5. Most importantly, have FUN and do not stress if your sales aren’t as high as you anticipate.  I’ve found that it sometimes takes 1-2 shows in a city or location to draw more customers. You will always gain a few customers at each show that will give you repeat business.
  6. Show Treats: It is also a good idea to offer some little treats for your guests – esp. if there will be children there – offer them a snack to keep them occupied while your customers shop!  Providing a basket of toys can also be helpful!
  7. Show Follow Up: Sending a post-show email to all the attendees can be a good way to thank everyone for attending the show. You can also include your website in case the customer wants to pass along your info to a friend who couldn’t attend!

In summary, hosting a home show is EASY – and a great way to build business.  You can team up with 2-3 other local artists/business owners and make it a great event.

4 comments

  1. I’m about to host my sixth or seventh home show for my card & stationery business and agree with your summary: that it’s fun, easy and a great way to build business. I’d also add that it’s always energizing/rewarding to see people “ooh and ahh” over your hard work and new designs. I’m always so glad I did it!

  2. Debora says:

    This is a fabulous idea. I have been thinking about doing some sort of holiday show this year if I have enough inventory, and combining with other artists is a great idea. Now I have more thoughts running through my head…thank you!

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