Selling Soap at Craft Shows – Mistakes I have Made Part 2

Booth Display For Natural Soap at Craft Shows and Farmer’s Markets

I have made many craft show mistakes over the years since I
started on my soap making path in 1997.  The best part is that I have
learned from them.

I shared 2 with you in the last post, and here are 2 more.

One of the biggest mistakes and the one I have repeated the most
is my booth set up and style.

For some reason I decided long ago that every show should have
a different booth set up. Change it around, keep it creative.

Now I realize when it comes to selling natural soap in a craft show
or farmer’s market, there is only one successful booth set up style.

This is what I would describe as a deli counter set up, where everything
you are selling is in plain view for the visitors to see without entering your
booth or tent.

The visitor never has to leave the path that they are traveling on.

I was in denial because I like the interaction of the boutique style booth set up.

My potential customer walks in, they are greeted, and the soap and natural skin care products
are on display in a u shape set up along all 3 walls.

The visitor is free to walk around and browse.

I thought it felt inviting, but it only works in a mall or at a trade show.
Not at a craft show or farmer’s market.

People at craft shows and farmer’s markets walk along a safe path with the rest of the visitors.

Stepping off the path and entering into a booth is a commitment.
The visitor has now left the safe zone of browsing and has moved into an atmosphere
where they are expected to purchase.

I am not a pushy sales person.  I quickly greet the visitor
and let them know I am here to answer any questions.  I am almost too passive, but while in my own booth
I hear a lot of sales pitches and insincere compliments coming from other booths.

I don’t blame visitors for not wanting to enter into a booth.

I have watched visitors avoid stepping into my booth by contorting their bodies into strange positions
to see something on one of my shelves.  They probably don’t even realize they are doing this, it’s very interesting to watch.

My lesson is the only booth style that works for natural soap at a craft show or a farmer’s market is the deli counter style.

I will never use another type of booth setup again.

I leave a small space so I can slip out front for personal interaction with people who have questions
and I bring a tall stool to perch on while I am in the booth so
I am never below eye level of the visitor even when I am behind “the deli counter”.

What Type of Natural Soap is Best
for a Craft Show and Farmer’s Market

Another mistake I have made at Craft shows and Farmer’s markets was my perception of my soap.

My soap is beautiful!
Everyone is going to want it.
Not true.

I make a lot of art soap.  It’s beautiful yet natural and great for skin.

It’s also too fancy for the average customer.

For the longest time I watched people gravitate to my display,
spend 10 or 15 minutes just smelling and looking at my soap,
telling me how beautiful it looks and smells.  Then they walk away.

I would then see them go to another soap display and start buying.

How disturbing!

They left  my beautiful , natural,  Palm Oil Free soap behind to go to another soap maker
with boring soap filled with chemical fragrance oils and palm oil.

I get it now.  Just because I am willing to hop in the shower with my beautiful soap and use it without thinking twice,
doesn’t mean everyone will want to do this.  Some people like simple no frill soap for everyday use.

I now accommodate both types of shoppers.

I have a good mixture of both everyday natural soap and art soap.

The art soap brings them to the table to browse
and the everyday natural soap goes home with them.

My lesson is that not everyone wants beautiful soap in their everyday routine.

Keep them coming back for the basics and they will pick up the art soap for special occasions.

I will be back next week with a few more mistakes I have made and learned  while participating in  Craft Shows and Farmer’s Markets.

Thanks for reading this post.  I would love to hear what you think!

Happy soaping


More to explorer


  1. thank you so much ,I wil learn from your sharing. I will join in craft show next week in small town in Thailand ,it’s my first time.WoW!

  2. Nailed it on the deli counter style. I feel that way as a shopper. I make soap and am thinking of opening an etsy shop. Due to my fear of wasting time and money on booth rentals I am thinking only online sales.

  3. I am just starting in soapmaking and I have found this article helpful. I want to make affordable and simple, natural soaps. I like the idea of having artistic soap to attract them to my soap to get them to buy the simple soap.

  4. Thank you. The information you provided was soooo helpful. I was invited to be a vendor at a Mother Day event. My thought, before reading your post, was to make more artistic soap. Now I can move forward with a different perspective. Very Very Helpful. Thank you. Shirley

  5. Yes! At the market where I had my stall, many people picked up the “beautiful” soap, but bought the plainer one. Interesting, same in both countries. (I’m in Australia)

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