Food/Snacks in Cooler - Do yourself a favor and pack a lunch. I actually prefer small snack items such as carrots, nuts, cheese, hard boiled eggs, raisins or protein bars. These are easy to eat when you have a few minutes. Your alternative is usually a hot dog or sloppy joe with chips. These can be hard to eat while you are managing your booth. Since most shows are their busiest between 11 am and 2 pm, lunch time, you may not have time to eat. People who are spending time eating are not spending time selling and could be missing sales.
Water/Drinks - Be sure to stay hydrated at a show. You will be doing plenty of talking while you are communicating with customers. Drinks can also be expensive at a show, a water bottle from home is free. Be sure your drink has a lid. That way if it gets knocked over there is less mess. Try to keep your food and drinks off of your selling tables. You are showcasing your items not your food and drinks.
Appropriate Clothing/Shoes - The temperature outside might be cold but the area you are exhibiting in might be broiling hot. Be prepared for this by dressing in layers. Also be prepared with comfortable shoes. You will probably be standing for several hours and then there is unloading and loading your show stuff. Most vendors I see dress in jeans, tennis shoes and a nice shirt.
Friend/Helper - Bringing a helper is a plus. They can step in when you need a break or help with sales when it is really busy. It is also great to have help during setup and tear down. Some shows do offer assistance throughout the day with people to unload, load or watch your booth when you need a break but help might be limited.
Chair for each person - You might want to consider bringing your own chair. Most indoor shows generally give you a chair or two but they are generally a metal folding chair. At outdoor shows bringing a chair is a must. We have folding lawn chairs with tables that flip up. We use these whenever we have room. Sometimes your booth space is tight and there may not be room.
Cart - We recently invested in a good cart to help get our numerous bins, tables and shelves to and from our truck. This was the best investment. Now we can move multiple bins easily making fewer trips and getting setup and tear down done quicker.
Craft to work on - I crochet so it is easy to take something with me to work on at the show. People like to see you making what you sell. I have crocheted for so long that it is easy for me to work while I talk and to easily put it down when I have sales. If possible bring your work to keep you busy during slow periods. It will increase your inventory and keep you from tuning out with your phone.
Wet wipes - Because goo and dirt happens everywhere.
Hand Sanitizer - Germs happen everywhere too
Plastic grocery bag for trash - I keep this in my booth area for the trash I create throughout the day then dispose of it at the show. Just helps to keep my booth neat and organized.
Bug Spray/Sunscreen - If you do outdoor shows consider taking these two items. Even though you may be under a pop up, you are probably going to be in the sun more than you think. Bug repellent is also a good idea at certain times of the year.
Tylenol - As I get older I find this to be a very useful item. Just handy to have on hand if needed. If you take prescription medicines remember to pack those too.
Paper Towels - Spills and messes do happen so these are handy to have too.
This list is all things to make your day more comfortable so add whatever you need to make that happen. If you are comfortable and prepared for the day, you will be able to focus on selling your craft.
That wraps up our week long look at my Ultimate Craft Show list. I hope you have found this useful for your crafting needs.
This week we are going to take the Ultimate Craft Show List I gave you on Friday and break it down with some details of why each item is important. Today we start with the Selling Group.
Product/Items you are Selling - Now this sounds like an obvious thing but this can be forgotten. I am often working on last minute things that are not with my regular inventory. If I forget to grab that last bag of scrubbies, those last few wands, or that last bowl or two, we may not have that thing that really sells. I try to keep inventory in the fewest bins possible but for a big show there might be extras that don’t go to every show. A quick double check before you walk out the door can make all the difference.
Change for Cash Sales - I have mentioned this before. This seems to be an area that I always forget until the last minute. If only the bank machine out spit out $5’s and $1’s. I often find myself stopping at stores the night before or the day of just to buy something little to get change. This week I got smart and took my start change back out in small bills before I balanced the event. This change went into a small purse and got put in my work box with my other administrative needs. This way I will be all set for the next show.
Another show is in the books. We had an average show yesterday. Not the best show ever but not the worst by any means. We made our booth fee back and a good profit. Now is the time I start thinking forward to the next show but don’t make that mistake. Instead I will take some time today documenting sales and making notes about the show. Here is why this is so important.
Even if you are a casual crafter that just sells in one or two shows a year, it is important to keep track of what you sell. This can help you know what items sell best, if you are pricing correctly and how much profit you made.
Here is how I do it. I have a spiral notebook that I use during the show. This is where all of my handwritten notes are kept during the show. If we are exhibiting with Holton Handicraft items, I use a count and recount system to track sales. I count each item before the show and write it down in the notebook. Then at the end of the show I count each item again and enter it into the notebook. For Lathe Junkie items we used a tagging system to keep track of inventory and make it easier to select items out of our Etsy shop. During a show we write down the tag numbers in the notebook. The actual tags are set aside for comparison later. This notebook page is also used to make note of our booth number, booth fee and starting cash amount. It is also a great place to write down tidbits picked up throughout the day. I balance out the cash and credit card amounts on this page too and compare them to the tallies I kept throughout the day. At the end of the day it is a one page snapshot of what happened at the show.
I use a worksheet to track all of our sales, online and at shows. This worksheet is designed to look at what was sold my month. I can also track the items that were sold and the expenses involved. It tallies my sales for me so I can see quickly how I am doing each month.
I like to give a show three years and then look back at how we did before I decide if it is a good show for the following year. My tracking methods allow me to see that quickly and know when it is time to walk away from a show or if we should continue to exhibit in it.
Take the time after each sale or show to track your sales. Use my method or create your own. You will find lots of benefits and maybe even save some money and grief in the process.
My everyday job is in public health. We work with a group that provides assistance to infants and children by supporting the family. This sometimes puts them in some stressful situations. A big concern for them is self care to help them cope with the stress that is sometimes a part of their job. Having your own craft business can be stressful too. You have responsibilities in production, new product development, administrative, marketing, accounting, selling and shipping. While this can be very rewarding, it can also be very stressful.
I learned to crochet as a stress reliever and it was great to be able to come home from the very stressful and hectic job that I had at the time and unwind by creating something beautiful. I used this stress outlet in a positive way to hone my skills in addition to getting rid of that stress. Eventually I had made lots of beautiful things and had gifted most to family and friends. People started saying I should sell my items and so Holton Handicrafts was born.
Most of this week we have been talking about craft shows. Yesterday I gave you 5 things you don't want to forget at a craft show. In order to have a successful show it is best to be prepared with everything you need. It can be hard to anticipate all of your needs without a list to guide you. Today I have for you my ultimate craft show list. This is the list of craft show items that works for me. Some of them seem obvious like, your product but this can also serve as a check list so that nothing gets left behind. I broke this up in categories to make it easier or organize. You may need to add items (or take them away) depending on your show and your items. Feel free to use and share with others.
We have a huge pine tree in front of our house. Some years we have only a few pine cones from this tree but this year we have a bumper crop of them. We have so many that we started using them as kindling and still have this big bag of them. This got me thinking about what else I could do with all of these pine cones and I came up with these ten ideas.
Before you start making one of these, it is best if you make sure your pine cones are clean and free of pests that you probably don’t want in your home. Take a minute and read this article from Two It Yourself on How To Clean and Dry Pine Cones For Crafts
Now here are my 10 favorite things to do with Pine Cones:
I love projects that finish up quickly. They give me the immediate gratification of completion and allow me to move on to a new project. This is why I personally prefer crocheting to knitting. For me a crochet project works up quickly and while I enjoy knitting, it takes me longer to complete. This is also why I like sewing projects. I'm not one to sit down and whip up an entire quilt but I do like stitching up quick little things that could be sold or used as gifts. Small sewing projects can be a great way to use up that stash of extra material we all have hanging around.
Here are some links I found with ideas on how you can use up your stash and whip up some cute things in little or no time:
Whether you are seller of vendor items or you make hand crafted items; craft shows are a great place to sell your items and promote your business. If you are new to craft shows or you have done a few, there is always room for improvement. We have been selling at shows for many years and we are always looking for ways to improve on what we are doing. Over the years we have seen many things that people do that can result in an unsuccessful show.
The Bad Show…….
It had been steadily busy all morning for me and I finally had a minute to catch my breath. I looked across the aisle and there they were, the two friends who had a large pile of linens, blankets, and other items that all looked like they would sell well. Their inventory was crammed onto a table that was covered with a plastic table cloth. Their product pricing consisted of a handwritten list that was hard to read. I had heard them lose a couple of sales because they only took cash. They had obviously worked hard to have this much inventory but they were not making that many sales. They were just sitting behind the big pile gabbing between them, answering questions and communicating with customers only when asked. At lunch time they seemed more concerned with eating than working with customers at the busiest time of the show. As the day went on the smiles I had seen at the beginning of the day had changed to frowns as they sat behind the table with their arms crossed. I saw them pack up a lot of inventory to take home at the end of the day.
Here are the 5 things they could have done better to have a successful show.......
Hello! I am Linda Holton from Holton Handicrafts. I am partner to my hubby The Lathe Junkie, mother to two grown children, two fur babies, and four grandchildren. I love to craft and write and have a large variety of interests. On my blog I share with you my experiences and fun ideas for You, Your Pet, and Your Home with lots of other fun thrown in.
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