I had a booth for the first time at a Mini Maker Faire and wrote it up on my blog:http://crazybutable.com/blog/entries/minne-maker-faire-2012
I thought you all might be interested. I learned a lot! I don't want to just paste in the blog post, so here is a summary of what I learned from a kit biz perspective (none of this is in the blog post):
1. You probably aren't going to sell as much as you think. Don't bring too much stuff, because you'll be bringing it back out again. I sold exactly one kit to a friend who was going to buy one from me anyway.
2. Try to arrange someone to watch your booth for you, so you can step out and enjoy all the rest of the Faire (I didn't do this and regret it).
3. So. Much. Fun. Everyone you meet is awesome. Seeing people's eyes light up on their faces when I explained that I had a solar powered guitar amplifier.... it was so cool.
4. Make sure you have a good sign and enough business cards for everyone (I had 250 cards printed and I think I handed out about 75 -- estimated attendance at the Faire as a whole was 3000 people over 5 hours, obviously not all of them walked past my booth). I spent over a week getting the design of my sign exactly right, and then made the mistake of putting it up on a cluttered wall so it got lost in the overall feel of the room.
5. Make sure you have food and water, I forgot to get lunch before I came and almost passed out from hunger by the time my wife came back with some food. Even then, I could only get in about 1 bite every 2-3 minutes.
6. If you have any questions, try to find a maker who already had a booth at the faire you are interested in. Adam Wolf from Wayne and Layne answered a ton of questions that I had before the show even started, which was great.
7. Get a Square account! I listened to someone who convinced me I didn't need one, and was that ever a mistake. All day long I heard "Wow, this is great, but I don't have any cash on me."
8. You think your idea is super simple and easy to understand, because you have been working on it for 8 months. In reality, every single aspect and design ramification of your kit is not going to be obvious to the other people you are talking to, so you really need to practice explaining what, exactly, your kit does. Be prepared for some amazingly... basic.... questions.
All in all the whole experience was positive, and I think the key is to think of it more as "show and tell for grownups" and not "I'm going to sell everything I bring to the show!" Any sales are a bonus, especially if you are starting out for the first time.
How about you? What was your first Maker Faire like as an exhibitor?