Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Basic How-to for Craft Shows Part 2 of 2

Getting Ready to Go......

Ok, we learned in my last post what you need for your first craft show, now lets learn what to do with it...

You should have everything packed and ready to go a day or two before.  I always like to have everything loaded in my truck the day before. Make sure you have your list and check it twice.  Once you arrive and check in, the show coordinator will tell you where your booth will be, find it first, then pull your car around if possible.  Depending on the set up and what time you arrive, the earlier the better, you may be able to pull right up to your space to unload. If not make sure to have your dolly with you to help move your things.  I have forgotten it before and had to carry every thing from pretty far, believe me it is no fun.

Always set up your tent first, then your banners, tables, and table coverings.  From here you can start decorating and set up your displays.  Give yourself plenty of time to set up, it takes me 3-5 hours to set up my display.  You can set up your booth anyway you like, but I recommend you keep the customers in mind.  Try to have a good flow, I like to have them come in one side and exit out the other, of course it will not always happen this way, but it is good to keep in mind while you are setting up.  It is also good practice to do a trial run before your show, so that when the time comes for you to set up, you are familiar with how you want to display your merchandise.

Once you are all set up, and the show is starting it is time to sell, sell, sell! Make sure you have plenty of change, and a calculator, as referenced in my first post, and get ready for the customers.  Always smile, be friendly and answer any questions that the customers have about your products.  As a rule I never bargain with customers, you may want to, but I decided after I let customers talk me down a few times, that it was not worth it.  My things are priced reasonable and not too much over what I have put into them including my time.  If I let everyone talk me down on my price, I would just break even.  It is up to you how you want to handle this, but have a plan, because you will be approached several times over the course of your show.  Ask the customers what they are looking for and what they like and that may help you promote your items, for example, if you sell handmade soap, ask what their favorite scents are and maybe you carry that scent or something similar.

You will need to charge tax at your shows, the easiest way from me is to figure it into my price, that way I do not have to deal with change. I will round-up to the nearest dollar in most cases. Do this before hand so that you do not lose on money on taxes. Most shows will collect city taxes at the end of the show, you will be responsible for mailing in your state taxes.

Never leave your booth unattended, if you have a friend or family member that can come and relieve you for a break, do that.  If not you will need to stay in your booth or close it down, to take a break. Most shows do not like for you to close it down, so if I am at a show that is far from family, I sometimes ask my neighbor to watch my booth.  In most cases the people around you are very friendly and will be happy to do that, make sure you do the same for them.

Once the show is complete, turn in your taxes, if required, and start packing up.  All shows request that you do not start packing up until the show is over.  If you do they may not allow you to return. Some are very strict about this and some are not, especially if the show has wound down for the day.  Take the time to pack things back up nice and neat that way it is ready to go for the next show. Believe me I have learned this from experience!

Each craft show is different and with the economy today, it is hard to tell you how you will do at a show. Some shows you will do great, some you will break even and some you may even lose, the point is to try!  The more shows you do, the more you will learn what to do the next.

Congratulations! You have completed your first craft show!  Count your profits, and whatever they may be and be proud of yourself for making it through.  Craft shows are a lot of work, but can be very rewarding.

Now let's get started working on the next one!! :)

--Mary Lindsey

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