What I Learned Being a 1st Time Vendor at a Craft or Quilt Show

Have you ever thought about being a vendor at a craft or quilt show? It took me a long time to get up the nerve to do it but in 2023 I finally did. I had inventory and supplies lined up and I was ready to go. Overall I had a great experience, but I definitely changed up things for future shows. Here’s what I learned being a 1st time vendor. I hope my experiences will help you out.

For reference, my first shows were either entirely quilt, fiber arts or craft related.


This is a big one. Originally I was only going to take cash. However, after talking to some friends, they suggested I get a payment processing card reader. Wow was I glad I did.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of people who paid cash, but a lot of my customers were pleased that I accepted cards. In fact, I would have lost a number of sales if I had not had the card reader.

Tip: Have a money box or money belt. I used a fanny pack. In one show I made a mistake of commingling my vendor cash with my personal cash. After shopping I realized I had mixed the money and I couldn’t figure out how much I actually made doing the show.

Make Connections

Get to know the vendors around you. I got a lot of tips from more experienced vendors and it was fun making new friends and connections.

I spoke to a quilt shop and gave them a copy of my wholesale catalog. We both happened to be vending at another show and they bought a bunch of quilt patterns from me. That was very exciting for me.

Another vendor asked if they could barter with me. I swapped one of my tote bags for a cool new quilt rack.

Have a Helper

If at all possible, have a friend to help you out. Not only does it help with set up and take down, it’s nice to have someone to talk to during down time. Need a bathroom break? A helper can watch the booth while you step out. That’s another reason to make connections. I found that the vendors I spoke to were always willing to keep an eye on my booth when I needed a quick break.

Bring Enough Supplies

Make sure to bring enough supplies. I found it hard to figure this one out and was short on bags at one show. If you think you have enough supplies, throw in a few more. It can’t hurt.

Be Organized

This may be one of the most important things I did. Make a list of everything you will be taking. Double check it a few times. This was a huge help to me.

What I learned being a vendor was that organization helped with so many things.

Think About Your Display

I’ll be the first to admit that displays are not my strength. I got this tip and it helped me. I did a practice display in my basement, making sure to use the same area that my booth was going to be.

My display supplies are not very plentiful so I made do with things from around the house. It wasn’t bad, but I definitely need to step up my game in this area.

Take a look at the vendors around you and see what you like. That helped me with ideas for future shows.

Hint: My husband gave me this idea. Because I do a lot on YouTube he suggested I have a laptop or tablet with one of my videos on repeat. It worked nicely and it brought some people into my booth.

Have a Good Cart to Move Items

I cannot recommend this enough. Have a good rolling cart to help you when setting up and taking down. This was a life saver for me. In fact, in one show, a neighboring vendor did not have one and she ended up having to walk back and forth to her car many many times to pack up. I leant her my cart for a couple of trips.

I used a cart from Amazon and it works nicely.

Take Business Cards and an Email Sign Up List

I can’t tell you how many people asked for my business card and I was glad I brought a lot of them. One person even emailed me with an order because she had taken my card.

Another thing I suggest, especially if you have an active email list for your business, put out an email sign up sheet. I added a lot of new emails to my mailing list this way.

Bring a Copy of Your Vendor Contract

I only needed this once, but it came in handy. One of the venues thought I had only paid for one table, but I had paid for two. The mix-up was quickly fixed and all went well. I was glad I brought my contract along for reference.

Note: Every contract I signed said that vendors need to stay to the end. With the exception of one show, where everyone was told they could leave early because no one was there, I stayed. I was glad I did because I ended up having a nice sale about 10 minutes before a show closed down.

Bring Snacks

You may think that the show you are going to will have lots of snacks. That is not necessarily the case and I was glad I brought some water and a few snack bars to get me through a long day of vending.

Go With The Flow

When I was coming up with my list of what I learned being a 1st time vendor at a craft or quilt show, this kept creeping back into my head. Every show I did in my first year (5 of them) was different and I learned a bit from each one.

I had various results with each one, met so many wonderful people and made some money. Will I do it again? Yes I will, but probably not a huge show. I like to keep it on the smaller side. Maybe one day I will expand.

Happy Quilting!

  • Claudia


  1. Dottie

    February 15, 2024 at 8:13 AM

    Hi Claudia,
    What a treat to watch/listen to your video re your experiences at the different quilt shows. You certainly shared some great ideas. I remember signing Square when it was first introduced to pay for my goods.
    So glad you are doing well. I really enjoy your videos and plan on making the friendship star. Clever idea.

    1. createwithclaudia_7j76hs

      February 18, 2024 at 9:50 AM

      thank you so much!

  2. Pam

    February 15, 2024 at 9:03 AM

    This is my Bucket List.
    How do you find Venues?

    1. createwithclaudia_7j76hs

      February 18, 2024 at 9:50 AM

      I search online for quilt shows that are near me and via word of mouth. Many guild websites have links or email addresses where I can send questions.

  3. Fauntie Phillips

    February 15, 2024 at 9:08 AM

    For 7 years two friends and I sewed doll clothes for 18″ dolls. One of the things that we learned early on was to ALWAYS bring a lunch! You could take it home if there was a concession with good food, but junk food has so much sugar in it and additives that we ate healthy. You MUST have some way of advertising so that people know where you are going to be and when. We chose Facebook to advertise on . We let everyone on our friends list know that we were going to be at a show a few days ahead of time. Then on the day of the show I took pictures of our booth set up and for sure individual pictures of dolls in different outfits. That way if someone wanted a particular outfit they could message us and we put it away for them. We never left a show early…..and made some great sales at the end of the day! Good luck on vending at shows…some are well done and advertised…and some not so much…..but we depended on our own advertising mostly.

    1. createwithclaudia_7j76hs

      February 18, 2024 at 9:49 AM

      Thanks for the tips!

  4. lynda crocker

    February 15, 2024 at 9:28 AM

    I sure don’t plan to be a vendor, but I enjoyed reading your tips. I go to the Houston quilt festival every year and enjoy, visiting with vendors and checking out the booths. Of course, I spend a lot of money too! And I have also ordered online from vendors who ran out of their products.

    1. createwithclaudia_7j76hs

      February 18, 2024 at 9:49 AM

      Oh I really want to go to the Houston show one day!

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