Craft Show Tidbits

Last year I did a whole series of posts about craft shows as I was getting ready for the Fall season. This year not so much. I was rereading them this morning to reassure myself that I was ready for the Strange Folk Festival this weekend and thought I would share some of the highlights.

From the post Craft Show Ideas:

Another thing to consider when choosing a show is whether it is juried or not. Personally I prefer juried shows since it keeps the resellers out but there is the stress factor of waiting to see if you got in. I am not in the league to consider the high end art shows but if you are than you need to plan pretty far in advance and be willing to put out some bucks in fees. The most I've ever paid for a booth fee is $90 but I have heard of shows that cost in the hundreds of dollars that attract a high end clientele. Shows that have been around along time and have a built in clientele are worth the investment in most cases. You should consider how long they have been doing the event and if possible find out how many attended the year before. I've never done an event that charged attendees to enter but I've been told they bring out people really ready to shop.

Missouri has a site called MissouriArtsAndCrafts with a list of events and I'm sure your state probably has something similar.... Another comprehensive site is Festival Network Online. You can search events for free here but to get full details and other services it costs $49 a year. This is more than I can justify paying but I do use it to search and then I google events that sound interesting to see if I can find more details.

From the post Fall Craft Show To Do list:

Figure out how you are going to accept credit cards. I think that it's vital to have a method of accepting plastic. You are missing out on so many sales if you just take cash and checks. I use Propay and it's super easy and very reasonable. I just renewed my membership and it was around $30 for a year which is so worth it.

Stock up on business cards. I recently bought 1000 cards from Vista Print with one of their many coupons for around $15. I have heard that some people had bad experiences with them but I've put in 3 different orders and never had a problem. You have to be careful to opt out of all of their silly promotions and you will get spam e-mails from them but I'm okay with that for such a good price on a business necessity. I've also been thinking about ordering some postcards to use as follow up with some of my return customers.

From the post My Craft Show Checklist:
  1. Vendor information. The organizer will usually e-mail you info like your booth number and parking directions that you will want to have that day.
  2. notebook. I like to keep a running tally of how much I've made. Be sure to keep track somehow of how much you make so that you can pay sales tax.
  3. calculator
  4. receipt book
  5. credit card receipts

  6. cash, I usually bring $100 in cash.
  7. cash apron, I prefer to keep my cash on me rather in a cash box that could walk away when I turn around.
  8. Mirror, I'm always amazed at how many vendors forget this one and ask to borrow mine.
  9. Shopping bags of some sort. Paper lunch bags can work for small purchases.
  10. Tools to "fix things", if you make jewelry bring some extra findings just in case.
  11. camera, so you can take lots of pictures of your booth for your blog!
From the post First Craft Show Anxiety:

The best way to elevate your anxiety is to be as prepared as possible. Set your booth display up at home and get everything just the way you like and then take a picture. Save it to your phone or make a copy of it so that you have something to work from on the big day.

Don't be disappointed if you don't sell a ton of stuff at this first show, just look at is as a dry run to get over those first show jitters. Keep telling yourself that this is your hobby and it's supposed to be fun. That helps me for some reason. I will also tell myself that this is not my job and my mortgage doesn't depend on it. If it did I can't imagine how nervous I would be. I'm usually a mess until I have my first sale and then I will calm down a bit. Once I make my booth fee I breathe a sigh of relief and am much calmer for the rest of the day.

Definitely get a good night's sleep the night before. Don't, I repeat Don't, stay up all night making new items to sell. If it relaxes you to work on your craft do so but having a few extra things will not be worth the all nighter if you are tired and cranky the next day.

Try not to have a thin skin and don't take it personal if someone turns their nose up at your booth or doesn't get the inherent wonderfulness of you and your product.... As creative types we tend to have a more sensitive disposition. Don't let this stop you from trying something new and putting yourself out there. Most people will be complimentary and you will get more feedback in one day about your work than in a year on line. I have had some wonderful interactions with customers that gave me warm and fuzzy feelings for weeks afterwards. When someone really gets you and wants to actually buy something you made with your own hands it's one of the best feeling in the world.

From the post
What I learned about craft shows:

Too much is not necessarily a good thing. I always brought all of my merchandise to the shows but I found that over filling my quilt racks and table actually overwhelmed shoppers. If someone was interested in a different color I could always get out the plastic tubs with the rest of my inventory and let them look through them. I sold a bunch of scarves right out of the tub.

Make friends with the organizers and keep a smile on your face even if it's painful. The last thing you want to do is to be seen as a trouble maker by the organizer, especially if it is a juried show.

If you can't set up the night before than at least pack up the car and be ready to go. Have the mapquest directions printed out and read through carefully. Try to get a good night's sleep.

I know this is not my first time at the rodeo but I still get those pre-show jitters. Hopefully I will be able to take my own advice and enjoy the weekend!


Ann said...

That's a very informative and helpful list, if I ever get to that point, which I highly doubt, I'll keep them in mind. I'm sure you're going to do splendid at the show.

Nancy said...

Wealth of info! I wish you luck with Strange Folk, and hopefully I eventually do a craft fair one of these days!

randomcreative said...

Thanks for the comprehensive list! Before I started doing shows this past summer, I actually Googled one of your earlier posts that had a list of show supplies. :)

Lin said...

What happened to #6? Is that "take a nap?" ;)

donna said...

Accept Credit Cards Online has excellent customer service, no contracts or cancellation fees and very reasonable rates. I have never had any issues with them, and plan on keeping them as my processor for a very long time. My sales rep was great call at (877) 877-9592.

Tara Beaulieu said...

Paige, can I ask you, if you don't mind- I use an online credit card processor too (Propay). I am new to doing shows and am going to do two holiday shows this year and I am wondering what I do if I process a card once I get back home and it's declined. The buyer is long gone, and so is the merchandise. Do I just chalk it up as a loss? Do I have any recourse? Thanks!


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