Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Preparing for a Craft Show

As we get deeper into fall, the craft shows will be coming out in full force! Fall is a great time to attend shows as both a shopper and a vendor with Christmas just around the corner. I've been doing shows now for several years and I've learned a few things along the way that I thought I'd share with you today. I broke this into a two part post and today I'll talk about Preparing for a Craft Show.

How much product should I take?
*One question that gets asked a lot is "How much product should I take with me?"
My answer...have enough product to fill your table and have extras as things sell. I know this is a pretty generic answer, but it will really depend on how big your space is. I've done shows with a 7'x7' booth and the last show I did was a 5'x16' booth. Every show will be different.

Make a variety of items. Take my scrapbooks for example...I make my word albums in Family, Friends, Baby and a few other premade options. I make about 3-4 different color combinations of each word so buyers have a choice.

Booth Mock Up
*Another good tip is to set up your booth in your home before you go to the show. Mark a spot on your floor the size your booth will be and set up a mock booth. This way you will know for sure if you'll fit in your space and if you need more product or a different display idea. It helps to do this ahead of time so you're not scrambling the morning of the show trying to figure out how your want your booth to look.

Read the Fine Print
*Know what will and won't be provided for you. Some shows provide tables and chairs while others don't. Read your application and know what all you need to bring with you. Some shows even require a certain color of table covering (most don't, but read your application to know for sure.) Other shows require you to put down a drop cloth to protect the floor if you have a standing display.

Do Your Research
*Do your homework/research. Before attending a show as a vendor, it is a good idea to find out as much information about a show as you can. Talk to others who have attended and find information online if you can. How many years has this show been taking place? How well is it advertised? How many people have been in attendance in past years?
By doing your homework, hopefully you will save yourself from a bad show.

Be Knowledgeable
*Know your products. People will be asking questions all day and they expect you to be the expert on your items. Know what they are made of. Know what size they are. Know if they are waterproof, stain proof, etc. Know your product inside and out and be prepared for how you will answer questions about your work.

Show Me the Money
*Know how you will accept payments. I accept cash, personal checks and credit/debit cards. Most people come to shows with cash, but they may make a bigger purchase if they can use a card or write a check. Read my post on Accepting Credit Cards at Shows to read my review on the Square for your smart phone.
Also, know what information you will need from people if you do accept checks or cards. I also ask people to write their phone number on their checks. And each company is different for what info you will need for processing credit cards. Getting a phone number on these transactions is always a good idea.

I hope this helps you prepare for your next (or first) craft show. Let me know if you have any other questions you'd like answered and I can reply to those in the comments :)

Look for Part 2 of my Craft Show Tips next week!


Edi is the creative mind behind Memories for Life Scrapbooks (and Laser Engraving). She has been paper crafting for over 15 years and recently purchased a laser engraver that is keeping her creativity at an all time high!


storybeader said...

great reminder of all the things to consider at your craft show. I reminded me to fill out a form I got a few months ago! {:-D

SarahBeth said...

Great tips! I haven't done a craft show in so long that I definitely need a refresher course!

Judy Nolan said...

These are all great suggestions. I don't do more than a couple of shows (so far), but I learn something new at every one. I do as you say and set up a mock space in my living room before I go to a show. I even snap a picture with my iPhone so that when I do actual set-up, I don't have to think about what I'm doing; I have a visual reference!

Memories for Life said...

I'm glad you ladies like the tips :)

And Judy...what a great idea to take a picture of your mock booth!

Unknown said...

Question, do craft shows allow digital goods to be presented? I really never gave it much thought, but it would be fun to show off digital good even at a craft show :-)

BeadedTail said...

Great tips Edi! I've only done a few shows so I can always use more advice and ideas. I still would love to shop at your booth one day!

Rose Clearfield said...

Awesome post, Edi! This is a great resource for people who have never done shows and a good reminder for those who have done them.

Doing a booth mock up before my first show was so helpful. It greatly reduced my set up time.

Splendid Little Stars said...

I take something with me I call a kit. It's a small tackle box. It holds so many things. pens, pencils, extra paper for making signs, scotch tape, business cards, ribbons, scissors, decorative scissors, safety pins, lip balm, emery board, jewelry pliers, etc

I try to pack items on or in display pieces when possible. For example, I display a lot of my earrings on mirrors. I can stack these mirrors inside a box.

I take photos of my booth set-up as a reminder for next time.

Splendid Little Stars said...

Another tip is to bring items with different price points. Make sure you have a number of lower priced items as well as the expensive ones.

Anonymous said...

Great advice Edi! I think your tip about researching the show is great- I have yet to do one, have applied to some this year and am generally clueless about them (and tend to be impulsive). It may seem like a no brainer, but I do need to be reminded to really look over the info and rules!

pasqueflower said...

Timely tips. I'm vending at my second-ever craft fair on Saturday.

Donna (Twinmountainpottery) said...

Great advice. Thanks for all the tips.