December 27, 2013

Ten Tips For Craft Shows **Updated**

I'm sure some of you, like me, want to do more craft shows in the future therefore I have been evaluating past ones I have done, along with researching, to come up with ten tips (for now) related to craft shows.

Ten tips, in no particular order, are:
  • Ask a friend or family member to be with you the whole time of the show. There is nothing worse than needing a bathroom break and having no one to cover your booth. In those situations I had to ask a person in the booth next to me to please watch my booth. It felt very unprofessional. If need be ask more than one friend to help for a couple hours each.
  • Make sure to find out what will be provided to you with the fee you pay to set up. Does the fee include one or two tables, chairs, electricity and so forth? You may need to have your own table and chairs so make sure you know this well in advance. 
  • Don't forget about business cards, flyers, postcards or other hand-outs you can give out. Just because a person doesn't buy at a craft show doesn't mean they won't later on. Vistaprint sometimes offers 250 free business card (plus shipping & handling) and more on their site. Promotions change so check out often. You can even make your own on your computer. Make sure the information is up-to-date, don't just cross out information, like a phone number, and write new if some aspect has changed. You want to be as professional as possible. 
  • Try to keep your displays "stocked". This will make it appear that you have a nice selection of items to sell. Rearrange items or remove some displays if your stock is getting low. In relation to that, have an inventory list if possible so you can remember later what sold and for how much. Perhaps even have a photo album of sorts showcasing your work so you would be able to take orders if certain items sell quickly. 
  • Make a checklist of what you need to bring that day, as detailed as possible. It may sound overboard to write down you need to bring pens or drinks but think of how it would be if you forgot them. Think "outside the box" as well. If you are doing an outside craft show, don't forget about sunscreen or bug spray even. Little items matter and will hopefully make it go smoother. Don't forget bags for customers to put there purchases in if possible, simple grocery bags will work. 
  • Think vertical and horizontal in terms of display. Sometimes going vertical will attract more visitors to your booth because they can see your items better than when they are just on a table. Take a photo of your display at the beginning of the event for future reference. Also, once everyone is set up at the event, take a step back (provided you have a helper) a few feet or so just to see how it compares to others or if you want to tweak it. Walk around and see how others are displaying items as well. 
  • Wiggle room on prices. Give yourself "wiggle" room on your pricing to allow you to still make a profit taking less for your items if someone wants to negotiate. Perhaps even have a "Prices Are Negotiable" sign to encourage them to talk to you. Also, have price tags on all items.  
  • You are not selling used cars. Think of how you would want someone to sell you something. You don't want to feel pressured, right? You want to feel relaxed in your purchases. So be friendly, have a little bit of sense of humor, basically put your customer at ease. If you are a quiet person, this is where having a  more charismatic friend with you might help.  Not a loud person but a more "approachable" person. 
  • Time Management. I tend to be early for events because I want to give myself enough time to set up and relax before the event opens to the public. Find out the earliest you can arrive to set up, some allow you time the night before. Try not to break down early even if the event is slowing down. You never know if the last person to come to the event could be your biggest sale. 
  • Have fun! This is the most important. As long as I am enjoying the event I'm happy. Selling items is great but think beyond that. You may not sell a lot that day but did you interact with a bunch of people? Success is not just measured in sales at a craft show. 
But wait there's more! 

  • Keep a bin handy to fill up with your items throughout the year. This way if a craft show decides to happen on short notice (like in two weeks) you are prepared and able to sign up. 
  • Keep track of your "best sellers" to know what people in your area are more likely to buy. "Best sellers" doesn't have to be defined by what actually sells but what is getting attention online or at previous craft shows. Money is tight so you might see items receive a lot of interest but a person may not be able to purchase at that time
  • If you are serious about being at many craft shows as you can, create a Facebook page or group to let your family and friends know where you will be and they can help spread the word!
  • Don't forget to wear one of your items, if possible, to show you wear what you create as well. The knitted item it could be a simple skinny scarf which can be worn in both warm and cold weather depending on the yarn you use. Make sure whatever you are wearing you have some to sell. 
  • Don't forget a mirror, big or small, so the customer can see what they look like in the item and not just take their friends, or your word, for how great they look! 

If you have any tips, please comment below.