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Archive for Craft Shows

What To Do At A Slow Show

We had a hole in our show list for this weekend so I grabbed a show because it was available.  After I just got done telling you to be sure to do your homework on a show first, I broke my own rule with this show.  My justification was that some show was better than no show on this busy craft show weekend.  As a result of not doing my homework, here we sit at a very slow show.  We are almost 2 hours into this 5 hour show and we have not had a sale.  We will be lucky to make back our booth fee and the cover the donation I was required to make.  

The problem with this show is the lack of shoppers.  This generally means that the coordinator did little or nothing to promote the show.  This supports a county 4H program so I would have expected at least 4H members to be aware of the show.  The location we are in is a bit off the main roads but well placed signs would have helped with that.  We only saw one small sign.  The few shoppers here are also lookers not purchasers. Normally by the weekend before Thanksgiving, people are starting to think Christmas gifts.  This is not the type of show where our items sell best so I already know this one is a no go for next year.  

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What Makes a Great Craft Show?

For the past at least seven years we have exhibited at Mark Twain Craft Bazaar in Westerville, Ohio.  I have spoke of this show before.  This is a long established popular show that benefits the PTO of an Elementary School.  Every year I wonder if we have tapped out this show but every year it continues to exceed my expectations.  Once again this year it was a great show.    But what makes a great show?

Not every show fits every item so it is really about what shows you feel work best for the items you sell.  It also depends on how serious of a crafter you are.  Maybe just one or two shows a year in places close to you is enough but if you are a crafter who considers it a business, finding the right show can be crucial.  Here are some things to consider as you determine the shows that work best for your items.  

Every show is different. Some allow commercial items and some only handmade items.  In the past craft shows or bazaars were a way to show off and sell your handmade items.  Now with the shift in how commercial items are marketed (31, LuLaroe, Lipsense, Scentsy, etc.), craft shows have become an important way to sell and market these type of items.  Since a shopper only has so many dollars to spend you could be competing with commercial items for those dollars.  We  have exhibited in shows that allow commercial items as well as ones that are only for handmade items.  Our sales tracking shows that we do better in handmade shows so these are the types of shows I look at for our products.  You will need to carefully read the show information before you apply in order to know if commercial items are allowed at the show if this is an important consideration for you.  

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Ultimate Craft Show List: People

All week we have look at each section of my Ultimate Craft Show List.  Day 1 was the Selling Group.  Day 2 the Display Group.  Day 3 the Business Group and day 4 was Supplies.  Today we are looking at what you need to get through the show.

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Ultimate Craft Show List: Supplies

Here we are at day four of my Ultimate Craft Show List and today we are going to take a look at the miscellaneous supplies that you will want to have.  Once again, since my background is administrative, these seem like logical things to have but maybe not to everyone.  You may have additional needs based on the way you do business.

Pens/Pencils/Sharpies - I am a self admitted color pen addict.  I always have to have two or three colors of pens.  I also like to have pens that I don’t mind losing if someone walks off with one.  You will want to have this type of pen or pencils for people to use when filling out your mailing list form.  I also keep a sharpie or two on hand for tags or a quick sign.  

Paper -  I always have my notebook that I use to track inventory and sales at a show but you might handle things differently.  Just make sure you have some paper for notes.  You never know when you will need to jot down a phone number, web address or information on another show.  Spiral notebooks are a great tool to have for this purpose.  I stock up at back to school time and often find them for $.25 or less.

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Ultimate Craft Show List: Business

Day three of my Ultimate Craft Show List  looks at Business related items you will want to have.  My background is administrative based and I have lots of experience with forms and spreadsheets to help make things easier.  I am excited to share some of my ideas and know that maybe they will make your life easier too.  

Show Information/Confirmation -  I have a zip shut folder that I use to keep all of my craft show information in.  For each show I have a copy of my application and check as well as any information I received from them by email or in the mail.  I keep everything for a single show stapled together and keep all of this year’s shows in the same folder.  For next year I will start a new folder.  It is good to have the information with you when you arrive at a show in case there is last minute information you need such as specific entrances or times.  It is also proof of acceptance just in case of a mix up.

Inventory List - You should always have a list of what you took to a show.  I always grab my notebook or wand and bowl items.  Not quite as formal with scrubbies and pet toys but I do always know how many I put out on the table.  Read my post on Post Event Craft Show Tracking for more on this.

Sales Tracking Form -  You will want a way to track your sales.  It will help you know what you sold and what to take next time.  Some items sell better at different times of the year or in different locations.  In my Post Event Craft Show Tracking post, I discussed how I use a spiral notebook at a show to keep track of sales and then balance the show at the end.  This services as a makeshift inventory list.  I do however have a more formal process specifically for our Lathe Junkie bowls, wands and other art.  

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