Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Creative Shows...Continued!

by Jessi Sawyer of CholulaJewelry

This is a continuation of the article "Creative Shows - an Inside Look" where I interviewed Jen Clark of Rochester, MN. Her etsy shop is here:

If you missed part 1, please follow this link:

And now onto Part II...the setup!

4. What do you do to prepare for a craft show?

We find that what really helps when preparing for a craft show is organization. I like to organize my merchandise by how they will be displayed and bag them accordingly. I also make sure I have plenty of drinking water and cold beverages, snacks, and layer my clothing to prepare for possible weather issues such as heat or rain. All of our displays are in large plastic tubs, we use colorful table cloths and scarves to dress up our displays, and we make sure to use layering and steps to add variety. Be sure to have hand mirrors if your items need to be tried on. We also make sure we have everything packed the night before the event and in the vehicle so we had minimal work in the early morning hours. It also helps to set things up in advance if you can, like in your basement or yard, so you have an idea of how you would like things to look.

5. Do you have any tips for first timers?

Don't be afraid to get out there and represent yourself professionally. Get to know other vendors, most artists are friendly and will give you helpful advice if you ask. Remember that shows are sometimes a risk and you may not make a ton of money every time. Some shows are great for networking even if you don't sell a lot and you might find out about other shows and places to sell, so take every opportunity that you can. Make sure to have stacks of business cards on the end of your tables. If your booth is full of customers, some people might grab a business card on the way by and stop back later. You don't have to spend a ton of money on displays. Your local Goodwill or Salvation Army can sometimes have great displays if you have some imagination. Use color, but try not to drown out your items. Get your name out there and revel in every sale and compliment you receive, no matter how small it may seem. Make eye contact and say hello to potential customers as often as possible and be friendly.

6. Describe your setup. How do you make your booth customer friendly? What kind of displays do you use? Do you decorate your tent?

To make our booth customer friendly, we try not to sit in front of our items as often as possible. Sometimes, space is limited, but we like our booth to be as open as possible when we can. We offer gift bags, receipts, business cards, and accept Visa, Mastercard, and personal checks with valid I.D. Having the ability to do custom orders and create on the spot items is something I would recommend. It was especially helpful for the TOF market, as there are many business professionals as well as people visiting from other countries that fill the plaza, so if customers can see you making items, it adds interest and an aspect of availability that they might not get anywhere else. People really love one of a kind creations made just for them!


M. B. Karger said...

Great tips, sage advice and excellent post! Thank you for sharing so many great "nuggets" of craft fair know-how. My first is coming up in August - I'm so excited and so nervous!