Tag Archives: craft show tips

Craft Show Tips from a Total Beginer, part Deux

Okay so I have a few more pointers after Sunday's Dash and Dawdle:

— Credit Cards are your Good Friends
Half of my sales were charged onto credit cards. No, I couldn't process them on site, but I took the customers address, phone number and ID info and hoped for the best. Every one of them went through fine.  I love Authorize.net, you sign up with them and you can very easily enter the CC info when you get home.  I would say to get a 'knuckle buster" (why is it called that???) so you can use the whole carbon receipts — makes you look more legit I think. I couldn't find one on Craigslist and the only new ones I found were $30 and up so I just write the CC number down on my copy of the receipt and promised to shred it later which seemed fine to the 10 or so people who used credit cards with us.
If I wouldn't have accepted CCs this weekend I woulnd't have even made back my booth fee. You would be reading a post from a very sad Amanda today if that had happened.

— Mailing lists are your Best Friends.
Lots of people asked me if they could sign up for our mailing list. The answer sadly was  'no' because I didn't think to bring a sign up sheet for one. Now, why do you need addresses for interested parties? Because you can send them postcards, coupons, show dates, and thank you notes for coming to your booth. I did get a few addresses for people who ordered tags or used CCs so i sent them thank you notes with a coupon inside the card. They liked our stuff then, they have to like our stuff even more with a discount right??!!??  Email addresses are great and yes I should have had a sign up sheet for those too, but physical addresses that are willingly given are  worth their weight in gold. Here I have a stack of postcards for a Dec. show at a coffee house that I need to send to Albuquerque residents. If I had just had a sign up sheet this weekend I could have those addressed right now ready to mail next month!

I stole this cool photo of the start line for the 5K run from my friend Christina. While I stood in my booth drinking coffee with half and half, eating scones and decorated cookies (basically getting fatter by the minute!) Christina and her dog Max ran the 5K in great time. There was even a huge hill to run! I would have never of made it. Yes, I do run everyday but keep in mind that my average is 2.22 miles in 35 minutes which is a good try, but laughable! 

N1302273415_30194792_6548

This leads me to my thrid and finaly tip for the day:

— Stuffing your face because you are nervous is bad.
You will be mad at yourself the next day and it won't help your sales. I know that leaves very few other stress realving options since scotch, finger nail biting, smoking, and hair pulling are not really good options either, but try deep breathing. I really can't totally blame myself for this one since Flying Star had their booth right next to ours and they were giving out free food which was great for the runners, not so great for yours truely 😉 Point is, find a way to manage your nerves and you will have so much more fun.

Craft Show Tips from a Total Beginer

So I have been reading the week of Craft Show Tips on IndieBizChicks.com — which btw is super helpful — so I thought that I would make a list of things that have helped me.  Yeah, I know I haven't done very many and I am kinda a beginner, but here's my two cents worth:

 I have to say that at first I HATED doing shows, hated it more than anything. Now, after a few times and using these tips I am pretty nuts about it.

So here are both my lists of why shows kinda suck and how to make them better and more profitable.

Reasons shows are no fun:
1. Shows are exhausting, but you get over it after a day (or two) of really good sleep. Plus, if you do it right the money you make more than makes up for how tired you are after them.

2. Yes people are rude, but the people who you meet that are nice really make up for it. Take what those people say home with you and leave all the negative
comments there. No sense in dwelling on things that make you feel bad
unless the rude person had a point.

3. Many people think that they can make exactly what you do for less money, but really most of them can't. Those are customers you don't want anyway. They would be way too high maintenance since they think that they can do it better. Just shake them off.

4. Sometimes you don't make any money or you break even. I heard some great advice about this a few weeks ago at the Tijeras Open Market. A guy said it is like making an investment. You have to do as many shows as you can because sometimes you will sell out and sometimes you won't sell a thing. It works itself out. But if you quit after not selling anything once you will never give yourself a chance to sell everything you have in one weekend. Plus, what is the point of paying for a set up and not using it as much as possible?

How to make your show run smoother and make more money:

1. Smile as much as you can and try to talk to everyone who comes up to your booth or table. You can tell if someone doesn't want to talk but I have made a lot of sales by just chatting it up with someone about their dog. Most people like to talk about themselves. Ask them a question and boom, instant conversation with your potential customer.

2. Make your display unique. I never stop at booths that are all black velvet and all the goods are just laying on the table.  There is always going to be like 5 other booths just like that. I like colorful booths that highlight your product. If you read AnnaMarie Horner's blog you see how she even covers the furniture in her Quilt Market booth with her fabric. Last show I wore the apron that I made with fabrics similar to those on my collars. Then it was like I was part of the display!

3. In that same vane, make your booth multi dimensional. Some things have to lay on the table, but most things can be elevated in some way. On the IndieBizChicks blog someone said to drape fabric over the boxes you bring your product in. I love that idea, it not only gets them out of the way, but gives you something to build with.Then you can put your products up at eye level and people can see them from booths away!

4. Bring photos of your product in use! I did that last show and it was a hit. Everyone liked actually seeing the collars on dogs. It brings your product to life. One thing I will do next time is get really cool stuffed dogs to wear the collars since like 3 people asked my sister if the were necklaces at our last show. That goes back to how annoying shows can be. But 75 other people understood what they were, so I guess that isn't so bad.

5. Pack a lunch! There is nothing that I hate more than making $50 at a show and then saying, "oh but I really made $30 because I got coffee in the morning, bought lunch and got a latte that afternoon." Totally ruins the show for me. And then also you can just eat when you are hungry in between customers. Otherwise it is just another stressor you have trying to figure out when you can get away to get food.

6. Bring more product than you think you will need just in case. Last show I told my sister that I had done enough and I couldn't possibly sell more than 3 sets of leashes. She said "no you can't sell more than that if that is all you have!" Such good advice. You never know how busy a show might be.

7. Kinda keep going back to this, but display, display, display!  You have to think about how you will display EVERYTHING including your business cards. Which if you haven't had printed or aren't bringing any you are really missing out. Some people need to go home and think about it. That is just their personality. Now what if they have no clue how to get a hold of you? That would really suck.  See my new business card display:

IMG_1022

I am going all out with a vintage candy plate(s). I can't get with the whole plastic Office Dept holder. It looks yucky. My grandma offered me this awesome plate and I think it is a winner. It adds both depth and decoration to my booth — the basic ingredients to making your booth pop! 

8.And lastly, Have fun. If you are like me you spend most of your time behind your sewing machine or changing diapers. Take this day to be charming self and to socialize! And make sure you do it with the other vendors too — making connections is key to keeping up with all the shows going on. Plus they are in the same boat you are and they probably have lots of helpful advice too!

Craft Show Goodness

I had so much fun at my first craft show. My grandpa made me a super cool display, my table looked pretty good for my first time, and the other artists were really sweet and nice to meet. Img_0370
It was Noah’s idea to bring his puppy;) She was wearing a Mimi Green collar of course. Img_0373

My mom and sister stayed with me all day and Dan brought the kids, including Cessie, down for a bit. But I have to say that it was exhausting. I did learn a few things that may help anyone who wants to do a show.

Craft Show Tip #1 — Dress in layers. I would have been doing a bit better in the morning if I had brought a jacket and a bit better in the afternoon if I had worn shorts. Yes, it is still cold here in NM in the morning time – can’t wait till we are over that!

Tip #2 Have a game plan about what you are going to say about your product. I didn’t think too much about that, and I am sure that even if I had it would have needed to be tweaked in practice, but at least I would have had somewhere to start. I may have sold more if I had "sold" my collars and leashes better.

Tip #3  Make sure to network with the other vendors. I met a lot of really cool women that I hope to work with again– plus now they have my info which is key. Sometimes it is about who you know.

Tip #4  Go in without expectations. Just like anything else in life, if you don’t expect things to happen you won’t get disappointed if they don’t. I wasn’t sure how it would go, which I was glad about later when I realized that I had a massive show/sewing  hangover of sorts.  I was so tired, I am still getting over it!

Tip #5  Have a colorful display. I looked at craft displays on Flickr before the show and got some great ideas. The more attention you can draw to you the better– this really means color and multi level views. If your display is flat you might find that your sales are too. And you can quote me on that one;)
Img_0372