Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Getting Ready For Your Craft Show

Last week, Rhonda shared a tip a day on google+ and facebook on how to have a successful craft show.  We also shared ideas and stories on a past Tuesdays Live Show.  I thought to help those who might have missed the show, we'll review everything here.

1) Scope Out The Possibilites
If you are able, visit the shows you would like to participate in in the future.  I have been tossing around the idea of craft shows for a few years now, and so I have attended most of the yearly fairs in my area. This way you can get to know not only the venue, but the area and the customer.  Not every craft show is a good fit, and it's better to be discerning then to try and participate in every show.  You need to know your demographic and if what you create will be a hit - or a bust.

Oh My Handmade

2) A Checklist
I am a chronic list maker.  I have one for everything I, house chores, homeschool, and crafting.  So creating a checklist is a no-brainer for me...mostly because if I don't have a list in front of me, I will surely forget something important.  Even with a list I can forget things. :0)
Here are some lists to work with....
items for sale
a printout or checklist for items sold (so you remember to remove them from your online presence)
display shelving needed for show
odds and ends such as drop cords and tape
tools of your trade

Life in the Making(s)

3) The Display Area
The first thing you need to think of is your "area".  The majority of shows allow you an area of 10' x 10' or 12'x'12', so if you use a tent or canopy, you need to know how much room you have to work in, you can't fit a 12' x 12' tent in a 10'x'10' space.  The second thing you need to remember for your tent....WEIGHTS.  You do not want the wind to share your talent with everyone. Right Rhonda? lol
So, anticipate the weather, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
If possible, do a dress rehearsal before the show.  Set up your tent in your yard, complete with display racks, chairs for you, and items.  Then once you have it perfect, take pictures to remember where/how to place things when you get to the show.

mama made them

4) Inside The Tent
Display is everything....get creative on showing off your creations.  Don't be afraid to use rugs and lighting to make your space welcoming.  This is why a dress rehearsal is important....
use layers, and levels, and anything to draw your customers eyes and really show off your items.
Have a wide variety of items, and a wide variety of price points.  Make some child friendly pieces, and once the child is happy, the parents can shop for themselves.
And don't forget your want people to find you, and remember you at the next show.  I just purchased my tent, and it's bright pink!!!!
If possible, set up a demonstration area in your tent.  People love to see the process of creating, and if they can see and understand the work involved, you hopefully won't have them trying to bring you down on your prices.

5) Odds And Ends
Before the show....PROMOTE!  Don't just depend on the organizers to promote the show.  Get on board, and help.  Most shows promote on social tweet, pin, and share!
During the polite.  Let's face it, some customers can be a bit of a pain, but we cannot afford to respond the same way.  Be diplomatic, speak clearly and concisely (try to avoid cuss words and bad slang).  Learn to read body language...start a conversation, but if the customer doesn't seem to respond, don't hover.
Making a sale...packaging is another way to impress your brand on your existing and future customers.  Natalie suggested a "guess the number of beads" jar, and I used it at my show.  Not only did I get more email addresses to build up my email base, but people enjoyed it.  And have nice bags or boxes complete with extra business cards and a little something special to put the items into, try to avoid the plastic grocery bags...tacky.
End of the sure to know your show rules.  Most shows frown upon vendors who close up early.  If you signed up for a 5 hour show, expect to be there 7, for set up and break down.  There is nothing more disturbing than having your neighbor pack up (usually loudly) while you are trying to make a sale.  Plus, many people prefer to purchase at the end of the show, so you could be missing sales.

Arts and crafts shows are a great way to get your brand join in, and have fun.

If you have any suggestions, or your own "war" stories you would like to share...please comment below.  And all the links above are clickable.

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