Monday, May 21, 2012

Craft Show Fair ~ Tips & Ideas

Plan to attend a craft show or fair? Here are some very basic tips for you to plan your day for a smooth & successful event!

The first and most important step in participating in a craft show is to bring plenty of inventory to sell. Have a plan in place as to what you want to bring with you keeping in mind the more variety you provide customers with, the more likely you will have a lot of sales. Place all similar items together to make unpacking easier. Carefully pack your items for safe transportation.

Set Up & Display
You will need to spend quite a bit of time before hand concentrating on what you want your area to look like. Consider this: You are attending a craft show as a customer only. What kinds of displays would draw your attention? Do you like bold & flashy with bright colors? Or small, quaint, & unique? Use your personal tastes and practice creating your display using your own flare. Practice on your kitchen table or your actual table you're taking with you. I would suggest using all of the inventory you plan to set out at the fair and then packing it up in an order that will make it easy for you to unpack & recreate on the day of the fair. 

Be creative! You don't have to use a plain old table cloth. Use a sheet, curtain, beach towel, or even a quilt. Anything that emphasizes your style and your products! Plan to give your products some height. You don't want everything sitting on your table flat & looking crowded. Put your table together neatly and give it a professional appearance. Make your products visible from a distance. So that maybe someone from across the room will catch a glance at your display and come over for a closer look! You can accomplish this simply by using shoe boxes set directly on your table and hidden from sight with whatever you're using as a table cover to drape over the boxes. 

Create a warm and inviting appearance. Always have a smile on your face. Don't make potential customers feel uncomfortable by giving them the stare down while they are shopping! Just make yourself available to answer questions at any given time. You want your products to be facing the crowd and easily accessible for examination. 

Also, keep your extra inventory hidden out of sight under the table. Be sure your table cover drapes down low enough so this does not show. Replenish stock as you sell your table items.

You can make your own banner or hire a professional to make it for you. I would suggest stringing your banner on the table over top of your products so it is easily visible from a distance. Or you can hang it from the front of your table. Either way, you need to have a banner or some kind of sign with your business name and/or logo on it.

When you go to the store or a yard sale, is it a pain in the neck to have to ask what the price is because it's not marked? Consider how annoying this may be to a potential customer. I know there have been a few times when I may have purchased something if I had known the price. But because it wasn't labeled, I just left it there. When marking your items with the prices, keep in mind a professional appearance. You may be able to use manila labels with a hole punched in them. Just attach a string and loop it around your products. You may also be able to use stickers depending on what you are selling. Or, you may consider having a price sheet or a sign clearly visible detailing your prices.

Accepting Payments
I for one almost never carry cash. I pay for everything with my debit card. How about you? Are you set up to accept credit/debit card payments? This is definitely a convenience to your customers and it will most definitely increase your sales. 

I am going to recommend getting set up with SquareThe process takes less than 5 minutes and you'll receive the square for FREE. I love FREE! The square connects to your smart phone or iphone via the hole for headphones and enables you to slide credit or debit cards including Discover & American Express. Here is a wonderful article that tells all about the device and getting set up from Sunday Afternoon Housewife. This is a must read!!

After requesting your FREE Square Card Reader, you'll need to download the app onto your phone and you're ready to accept cards for payment! And oh yeah, the app is also FREE. You will only be charged 2.75% of each purchase plus 15 cents for each card swipe. And customers can choose to have their receipt emailed to them. That's it! So easy!!

Create a Mailing List!
This is so very important! Put your contact information on everything! A stack of business cards on your table is absolutely necessary & be sure to either hand a card to anyone who buys from you or stick one in their bag. A stack of brochures, fliers, or business post cards on your table would be great too.

Always create a mailing list!! One idea is to set out a list for interested parties to add their contact info to. This is a way to collect names, email addresses, and postal addresses. It would be great for you to follow up after the show by sending a quick email just to say thanks for stopping by my booth. Or mail them a brochure. Do you have a monthly or quarterly newsletter you could send to them?

Another idea is to conduct a giveaway at the show. Not only is this a great way to collect info but it also creates interest and may draw a crowd to your booth. You could use a fish bowl or a medium sized bowl for people to drop their business cards into or create your own cards for them to fill out with their info. Have a drawing & be sure to display the prize near the fish bowl so they will know what they could win.

Stay organized! Pack up your items the day before the show. You will be less likely to forget something and you will be stress free the day of the show. Here is a printable checklist from funkyfinds to help you.

*Be sure to bring plenty of change ($1s & $5s)
*Drink plenty of water throughout the day
*Pack a lunch to save money
*Charge your cell phone the night before ~ Take your cell phone & Square card reader
*Advil or other pain reliever just in case (you will be on your feet all day)
*Don't forget business cards, brochures, fliers, etc.

Extras & Ideas
Wrapped candy, like suckers, is a great way to get potential customers to your booth!
Plan to spend lots of time brainstorming ideas for your display.
Each craft show you attend is a learning experience & you will get better from each one.
Stay organized & have fun.
Smile, smile, smile!
Chat up the other vendors, be friendly, and take note of any new ideas while you're there.
Don't forget to take a camera & take pics of your table. Please feel free to post your pics in the comments of this post!
Let me know if you have any tips or additional suggestions.

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