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!!