Wisdom of the Craft

What the commercial firm can learn from the craft fair

Christmas nutcracker king at a Christmas market decorated and illuminated in Bruges, Belgium.

Boutique, artisan and handmade: the craft fair is the world away from the trade exhibition. You can be forgiven for assuming that the two events are so disparate that there is little point in comparing them. We beg to differ. So when you are looking at your next trade exhibition, what new ideas and concepts can be learned from the humble craft fair?


This is something that does not emerge at the craft fair.  For both craft and corporate fairs, the customer or client is there to peruse, bargain and test the water. Often the sales patter at a trade fair is reminiscent of that of a car sales floor when, if you consider more carefully, the mindset of attendees has more in common with the craft fair. So try to step back and take an approach that is markedly more relaxed and open.


‘Tis now the season for the Winter fair, the Christmas market and the Festive bazaar. Nothing quite achieves a theme like the craft fair. With its vibrancy of colour and variety of skills on display, a theme or season is reflected without effort. Take this vibe to your trade event – consider the overall focus of the exhibition, the season or area you find yourself in and find ways to tie your offering to these aspects.


This is something that can be too often missing amongst the muted tones and hard lines of the corporate event. There is no reason why this should be the case, and indeed considering your use of colour carefully can make your offering visually appealing and approachable. So why not shun the typical corporate monochrome; stand out from the crowd and embrace vibrancy of colour.

collection of dried fruit, vegetables and spices at the fair


Crafting offers a tactile and multi-layered method of display. You will find items draped, tied, dangled and tucked. So why limit yourself to just a display stand? Finding ways of displaying information, items and literature in an original way is an advantage of creating a bespoke event shell scheme.


Just because the focus of a trade exhibition is business doesn’t mean that the images on your stand can’t be artistic or appealing. The nature of the craft fair or market is intrinsically artistic and the items on display often intricate and beautiful. The same can go for your pop up displays or flags. Enhance your branding with well-considered images, furnish your zone with interesting shapes, employ levels to give a sense of depth.


A handmade market is buzzing with conversation. The artists and crafters are a passionate bunch, always keen to chat about their processes, ideas and inspiration. For your trade event, it is key to ensuring that your representatives are fully briefed, understanding and sharing your passion for the industry.


At a craft fair, potential customers take the time to browse in a way that is rarely seen at the trade exhibition. The environment is relaxed, low key and the very opposite to the high tempo found within a corporate exhibition. However, it needn’t be this way. Aim to build a calming atmosphere within your scheme. Look at zone lighting, reflective soundtracks and a sense of space to bring comfort into your stand.

A trade exhibition is in many ways a different world to the craft fair; the clientele are poles apart and the pace of the day is vastly at odds. When you consider your next trade stand, however, spend a moment on considering the crafty cousin to this event and pondering the ways that you can make your stand more visually appealing, personable and open to a slower, more thoughtful pace. It may well work to your commercial advantage.