It’s happening. You’re about to sell at a craft fair. You’ve been packing and preparing and you whip out your phone to check the weather.
51% chance of rain.
AKA, it’s probably going to rain during your craft fair.
Now what? Do you back out? Panic? Scream? Do nothing?
Take a deep breath. There are just two areas you need to think about a tad differently. How you pack and how you set up.
First, you’ll want to pack with the potential for muddy puddles in your future. Make sure all your products, set-up supplies, and everything else are in waterproof containers. That means no cardboard boxes. Instead, you want plastic storage tubs or bins of whatever size you need. Most hardware stores or even your local Walmart will have these on hand if you need something last minute.
My favorite are these clear Rubbermaid branded ones (paid link). I like having clear for my own sanity when unpacking and then I hide them under my table covered by a floor length table cloth. If your bins might be seen during the event, then a solid dark color might be better. I currently have three different bins that I've slowly stolen from our home storage room...
When you are unpacking, especially if the event is on the grass, you might want a tarp to lay down as a floor. This isn’t something for customers to walk on, more like a behind-the-scenes floor and landing zone for your items that aren’t on your table.
The last thing you’ll want to do is waterproof your product. This is something that can take more time so it’s good to have this option ready beforehand, or always do it if you sell at events often enough. If your products are susceptible to water damage (fine art, paper products, soap, fabric, etc.) you will want to package them in plastic. Plastic sleeves or bags are a pain and not very eco-friendly so if you don’t want to use them all the time, I totally get it. But, having some on hand for that one time it does rain during your craft fair can protect you financially and keep your products safe even as they travel home with your customer.
Once you have your tent and walls up it’ll be time to set up your tables. When it’s raining, or even if there’s a threat of rain, you’ll want to set up your tables and displays a few inches further inside your tent. Water can drip off of your canopy and wind can blow in the rain further than you might think.
Along with keeping your product out of the rain, your customers will also want to stay out of the rain. This is a major difference from selling in any other weather. Usually, my advice is to keep your products right out front so people are enticed to come closer and yet they don’t have to commit to coming inside your tent. When there's rain during your craft fair, it's different. Yes, you still want to entice your customers by having easy-to-see items and signage, but you want to create a cozy space out of the rain where they will want to stay for a while. Because customers won't be able to see your products as easily, you'll have to amp up your fun persona. I talk more about how to act in this post.
When it comes to setting up your booth for a rainy day, I’ve created a diagram to give you some ideas. Be sure to pin it for later so you’re ready for your next rainy event.
First, make sure to pack your weatherproofed items in waterproof bins. If you might be on a wet or muddy surface, bring a tarp to set your items on during set up and take down.
The second is set up. When you set up your tent, add walls on open sides that aren’t where customers enter. Then arrange your space so customers can come in out of the rain while still allowing your products to be easily seen.
What will you remember to do the next time rain it might rain during your craft fair?