Spring is almost here in Texas. Monday the high was 89° at DFW Airport. Today’s high is supposed to be in the mid 80’s. (I write these articles the day before they are published to the site)
And Spring brings out the craft shows and fairs.
If you are a person that would like to work the show circuit or just a few shows, I’ll try to give you some hints.
Remember, if you plan on keeping everything you make, you will soon run out of room and either have to move or add-on to your existing abode.
If you are a person who likes to go and look to see what might be something you want or need, I’ll try to show you why some crafters get grumpy when certain comments are said in another article next week.
So You Want To Sell At A Craft Show
You have been working all winter to get stock made to show your talent(s) off and have people purchase them to show that you are good. So what are the steps to take?
- Search the internet for shows that are available and their requirements and price.
- Pack all of your items and displays in movable containers.
- Make sure that your canopy or tent are in good condition and that you know how to set it up.
- Check that your vehicle and trailer (if you use one) are ready and can hold everything.
Search the internet for craft show listers. There are many to choose from, but make certain that the one you use covers the area you want. Also make certain that they don’t just list fine art shows or speciality shows like comics or dolls (unless that’s your thing)
Get out your calendar and start making a list of shows available for the dates you want. Make certain that the ones you list will take your type of product and it’s within your price range.
Once you have been accepted for a craft show, do a trial loading of product and supplies so you can make certain everything needed fits. If you have extra room all the much better. That will allow you to do a quick tear down and throw into the vehicle in case of bad weather or for other reasons. Having extra room means that you don’t have to plan so much for a fast departure.
And don’t forget to take a cash box with some bills and change with you. Normally $50.00 in the box and a spare $50.00 in bills will do for starters. We have been known to start out with just the $50.00 in the box and be OK. But better safe than sorry. I seems that sometimes te first 5 customers don’t have small bills for their purchase and you have to make a lot of change quickly.
And be sure to set up your canopy or tent a few times at home so you don’t have to figure ir out on site and take extra time to be ready for customers. If the show is outside, remember that customers can start showing up at anytime after you arrive. And some of your customers may be other crafters that are done setting up and wandering to see what other crafters brought.
Try to have at least two people at the show. You will need breaks for food and bathroom. And it is better if you don’t impose on your neighbor to watch your booth. They may get real busy at a time someone stops by your booth to look and want to buy.
Supplies That May Be A Good Idea To Have
Some items that most crafters may use:
- A current inventory of all items packed and brought to the show.
- Business cards.
- Handouts showing pictures of your product and maybe a bit about you.
- Heavy weights to hold down your canopy in wind.
- Tables, tablecloths or coverings and displays.
- A chair for the other person or yourself to take a break on.
When we used to do the craft show circuit, we always had tri-fold handouts. Mimi is great at using a card program to make our two-sided tri-fold brochures. With a good card program, there are options to make items other than just cards. A good program will help you with business cards, letter-style brochures and tri-fold brochures plus many other items.
Business cards and brochures are not that hard to design in a good program. You design your crafts or at least modify someone else’s design to get your own. So you can do it. Look at other people’s designs to get ideas. And don’t forget to update any information that has changed, as needed.
With all of the possible social media available, it never hurts to let people know what you do and to be able to show your products off. And don’t forget to use your social media (especially Facebook and Twitter) to let people know where you will be showing.
And don’t wait until the last moment to start letting them know. A good schedule might be two weeks before, one week before and once a day for the last three days before the event. But you know your crowd and if that might be too much or too little. Just remember that you don’t want to spam them, that can get them to forget about going.
Leads for custom work can come from many places and at any time. I have gotten leads while at Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and different restaurants. So always be alert to possibilities. So make certain to always have business cards with you. Don’t just hand them out to everyone, that can get you kicked out of a store or restaurant. Engage people in conversation, if they are willing, and if the subject comes up about your work, hand them a card.
We normally carried at least 250 business cards and 150 brochures with us for a two-day show. The first time out, it never hurts to have plenty of extras. You don’t know how many you will need.
And don’t be afraid to handout business cards and brochures. Sure, most will probably end up in a drawer or the trash, but at least they will have a chance to remember that one item they saw and wished they had purchased.
I realize this is a long article, but these are things that I felt needed to be said. Mimi and I have been making and selling handmade crafts since 1989, shortly after we were married. It has not always been the same craft. We have evolved over time and changed our focus. But all of this is stuff we have learned over the years. We hope it will help others.
Next Wednesday there will be a continuation of this post as to why crafters can be grumpy. So please come back to see what the next thing is that I ramble on about.
Please leave me a comment below to let me know if this article was helpful. Also, let me know if there is a subject you would like me to ramble about.