Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Craft Show Newbie 101 : Putting It All Together

Part 5 of a 5 part series

Putting It All Together

If you make anything by hand you may already be selling your items in an online shop such as Etsy. Another excellent source of income is selling your products at a craft show. Preparing for a craft show takes some time and a lot of planning. I hope this craft show newbie 101 series helps you along the way. Be sure to check out all of the previous lessons. Below is a summary of each lesson along with links to each complete lesson.

Be sure to decide asap what categories or types of your products you will offer and how many of each you will make for the show. You will need to decide this and figure out what supplies you will need. Order your supplies asap and get to work! Once your products are made you still have a lot of work to do! 

Labeling and pricing your items can be very time consuming, but well worth the effort. Your customers will appreciate the extra time you take to pay attention to detail. Keep in mind you may need to reconsider and change your prices after your first or second craft show if your products are not selling as much as you would like. You will get better at pricing your items with experience and the price you can sell at also has a lot to do with the area you live in. It may also take time to perfect your labels, but eventually your customers will come to recognize your brand. Always pay special attention to the appearance of your items and never try to sell anything that you yourself would not want to purchase.

Bed sheets work well for covering tables and are inexpensive. You may decide to add a little extra, such as decorations or a pretty table cloth over the sheet. Take your time when creating your display. This is a skill you will get better at each time. It will get easier with each show. Make sure your items are not lying flat on the table. Add dimension and height. Customers like items to be eye level. For my candles, I set jars on the table stacked and smaller candles I place in bowls and other containers. The front and center of your table is a good place to have samples if you're offering. I like to set unwrapped candles, such as tea lights up front. I have found that customers prefer to be able to pick up several small candles at a time to smell the different scents rather than have to take the lids off the jar candles. If they smell a fragrance they like in the small candles, often they will ask if I have that scent available in a bigger candle!

A list of basic supplies to take with you.

Find a show....

Once you decide to participate in a craft show, you will need to find one and apply for a space. The application process is fairly simple. Most likely, there will be an application to fill out asking about the products you wish to sell, a registration fee that needs to be paid in advance, and will need to send a picture of your product either by mail or email.

Begin your search in advance. There are deadlines for applications and fees. Normally, you will need to plan the application process about 6 months prior to the show date.

Here are some websites to check for upcoming craft shows: 

Once you receive your approval from the facility either by mail or email, it is time for some major preparation. Organization and professionalism will both play the main roles of your success.

Keep in mind that a craft show should be fun! It will not be fun if you stress yourself out. Please don't wait until a week before the big day to start preparing. Start now! As a matter of fact, I recommend being done and ready to go 2 days before the show. That will give you some time to relax and get plenty of rest. Also, if you forgot a last minute detail, you'll be able to get it taken care of without the stress of needing to finishing everything else.

Are you set up to receive credit cards?? This is something you will need to consider far in advance. You can order a card reader for your smart phone but it will take a few weeks to arrive. The card reader is free so why wait? Also, you'll need to download an app on your phone that is also free!

I highly recommend the Square. The reader is free and the app is free. You will only be charged 2.75% per card swipe. Customers sign your phone with their finger and they can choose to have their receipt sent to them via email or text.

I love that I can now accept credit card payments! I originally started using the Square card reader at my first craft show, but have found it useful also for home parties and phone orders! If you have the app on your phone, you can manually input your customer's credit card info for easy processing. Very awesome and the money is typically deposited in your bank account the next day!

Summary : You will get better with each show! As with anything, the more you do, the more practice and experience you will have. The time and effort is well worth it.

Your space should be a stress-free zone. The more relaxed you are, the happier your customers will be! Always be friendly and smile, smile, smile! Take a buddy with you. You will need the extra hands, and someone to talk to during slow times.

When you are looking for craft shows, be sure to read all of the details such as the physical address of the show, set up time, does the facility provide a table, show times, registration fees, and application deadline.

I hope you've enjoyed this series!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Craft Show Newbie 101 : Supplies

How to prepare for your first craft show : Supplies
Preparing for your first craft show can be very exciting! It can also be very stressful and nerve racking. I have decided to put together a series that will consist of 5 parts discussing the main ingredients of a fun and successful craft show. We will be discussing my experiences as I prepared for my first craft show.

As some of you may already know, my area of expertise is selling my handmade candles and soaps. My pictures and examples will reflect this, but the lessons may be adapted to whatever your own craft is. Let's get started!

Welcome to Part 4 of a 5 Part Series! 

You've come a long way! You're feeling a mixture of both excitement and nervousness as your first show draws near. Today's lesson gives you a list of basic supplies to take along with you. Use this list in advance to plan for what you will need the day of the show. Check items off the list the day before the show as you pack up. The morning of the show, double check the list to make sure you have everything before you leave.

* Name tag

*Credit card reader

* Cell phone, charged

* Change ($32 - $1 bills, $10 - quarters, $2 - nickels, $5 - dimes, $1 - pennies = $50)

* Clipboard

* Receipt book

* Pens

* Bags to put customers orders in

* Logo sign or framed logo

* Extra price tags

* Stapler

* Packing tape & Scotch tape

* Calculator

* Water/Snacks/Lunch

* Paper towels

* Business cards

* Large binder clips for holding down table cover

* Black & Red Sharpie Markers

* Trash bag

* Tissue paper and/or bubble wrap

* Scissors

* Table cover

* Prepared inventory

* A picture of your table set-up

* Price list

* Email sign-up sheet

* A list of product descriptions

* Brochures or other promotional items

* Bowl & candy, optional

* Fish bowl for raffle, optional

Stay tuned for lesson 5 : Putting it all together 

Previous Lessons 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Countdown ~ Day 18

Welcome to my 25 Days of Christmas Project! We're counting down the days til Christmas, sharing activities, ideas, and cheer with you!

Day 18 : The week before Christmas checklist

For a lot of us, the true business of the season is really going to be in full swing this week. I am a person who lives by making lists. So I thought for today's post, I would just drop a list for you to help wrap up your holiday plans. These are things that should either already be done or need to be completed asap. Have fun and try not to stress!

* Tree should be up and all decorations should be displayed

* Gift shopping, before going to the store make a very specific list for each person on your list of what you would like to purchase for them

* Check Amazon for last minute gifts, prices are amazingly reduced this week and you can still get free shipping on a lot of items. So why not save yourself the headache of fighting the crowds at the packed stores. And believe me, I have saved at least 50% on most of my presents this year just by shopping at Amazon!

* Christmas Party coming up? Have your gift exchange gifts wrapped and ready to go in advance. You'll thank me later.

* Decide what you will be serving for Christmas Eve

* Decide menu for Christmas appetizers, dinner, dessert, and beverages

* Make plans to relax with the family in the evenings and watch Christmas movies while sipping hot cocoa

* Begin gift wrapping if you haven't already. I am a procrastinator and always wait til the last minute. Not this year! I am making a gift wrapping schedule and getting a little bit done every night this week.

* If you're like most of us, you seriously have a lot to do this week. Do yourself a favor and plan now to split up your duties throughout the week. Do 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 things each day and start checking off your to do list. If you wait to do 20 things in one day, you won't get everything done and you'll make yourself crazy.

* Try to get some extra cleaning done this week. So then you won't have to worry about it this weekend or even worse, Christmas Eve.

* Neighbors' gifts

* Teacher's gifts

Anything else? I would love to hear your ideas!! What are you doing this week. Do you have any tips or suggestions? What helps you get through this week with as little stress as possible?    


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Countdown ~ Day 17

Welcome to my 25 Days of Christmas Project! We're counting down the days til Christmas, sharing activities, ideas, and cheer with you!

Day 17 : Have fun with cookie cutters!

Today's is a very short post. I just had to add this to my Christmas countdown as a very fun activity if you are looking for a way to keep the younger kids busy ;)

We made handmade playdoh and scented it with pumpkin spice. Smells good! We actually made this playdoh in October. Let me know if you would like the recipe! The recipe makes a huge batch. 

Give a bunch of playdoh to your child with a rolling pin and holiday cookie cutters! Sit back and enjoy hours of play time!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Countdown ~ Day 16

Welcome to my 25 Days of Christmas Project! We're counting down the days til Christmas, sharing activities, ideas, and cheer with you!

Day 16 : Treat yourself to a manicure & pedicure

This is a nice relaxing and fun way to celebrate the holiday and the season. Decorate your nails for Christmas! One of our advent calendar events was to have a manicure & pedicure night. We already had tons of nail polishes in several colors. I got some nail art paint which came with white star manicure stickers and I also went to the craft store and got some clear rhinestone blings.

My oldest daughter did her own nails. She polished them red and then applied a white streak across each nail. Very pretty! I helped my younger two with their nails. They both chose pink polish and then every other nail was applied with the white stars and then a rhinestone bling. Very festive!

Some other cute holiday manicure ideas? I ran across an article from Woman's World, Have a very merry manicure! Check the Dec 10, 2012 issue. The suggestions are The Twinkling Tree, The Candy Cane French, The Pink Present, The Rudolph Nail, The Shimmering Holly, and The Glittering Snowflake. They are all lovely!



Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Countdown ~ Day 15

Welcome to my 25 Days of Christmas Project! We're counting down the days til Christmas, sharing activities, ideas, and cheer with you!

Day 15 : Decorate Cookies, Cupcakes, Gingerbread Houses

A tradition in my family is baking and decorating Christmas cookies. Now my children always spend the night at my mom's on a weekend before Christmas, usually a week or two before Christmas. They enjoy going to Grandma's house and spending a day baking and decorating. 

They don't always do the same thing every year. One year they covered everything in chocolate! This is super fun and super good! Anything, such as oreo cookies, pretzels, marshmellows, strawberries, apples, bananas, etc. Basically, if it's edible, it can be covered in chocolate! LOL The girls used milk and white chocolate. YUM!

They have baked the traditional shaped sugar cookies and decorated them with icing and sprinkles. Gingerbread men is another option. 

This year the girls will be baking cupcakes. They will then add frosting and decorate with sprinkles and such. My mom is also planning on making a gingerbread house. These are A LOT of fun and super easy thanks to the pre-made kits now available at stores. These kits are great because they come with everything you need to make a nice gingerbread house. The kids enjoy building the house, decorating it, and then eating it!!!

Whatever your holiday baking tradition is, have fun! Let the kids participate as much as they can depending on their ages. These are wonderful memories!!     

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Countdown to Christmas ~ Day 14

Welcome to my 25 Days of Christmas Project! We're counting down the days til Christmas, sharing activities, ideas, and cheer with you!

Day 14 : Make Reindeer Food

This is a really fun craft and a brand new tradition in our house! All you need is some old fashioned oats and a lot of glitter in several colors. Mix the ingredients and you have a magical treat for Santa's reindeer!

The kids loved this project. They can mix this up in advance, divide it between the children in sandwich baggies, and sprinkle on the lawn on Christmas Eve! Sprinkle shortly after dark so the glitter will sparkle in the moonlight. Hopefully there will be snow on the ground!

Tell the children the glitter is to help the reindeer find their house. The reindeer will love to snack on the oats while Santa is doing his job inside!