Exhibiting at a craft show? I'm sure you have spent a lot of time getting your items made and prepared for selling. Then there is finding tables, packing your vehicle, setting up your booth, and of course selling. You know that selling your products will make it a successful show but there are some essential things that you should not forget.
5 Things You Don't Want to Forget For a Craft Show
Don’t Forget Change: Make sure you have more than enough change! How much is enough? That all depends on what you sell. I recently read a discussion on this subject and someone recommended $200. I sell small items that are mostly less than $5 so that amount seems excessive for my items. I generally start with $40-$50 mostly in $1’s. If you have items that cost less than $1 you will need coins. Have a lot of $5 or $15 items? Take lots of 5’s. Today's customer uses plastic for a lot of purchases so being able to take credit cards is also a must. Services such as Square or PayPal Here don’t cost as much as you think and not having the ability to take a credit card can lose you a sale.
Don’t Forget Your Display: There is nothing worse than arriving at a show to find that you have not brought part of your display. It can throw off your entire show! One time I forgot our bin of table cloths. It was accidentally left behind in our rush to pack the truck. Luckily there was a close store that we were able to purchase something to make due. Table cloths may be a small thing but it could easily have been any part of our display that was forgotten. Check and recheck that you have everything you need. Now we load the truck the night before so we aren't in such a rush. We have bins that hold display items and ones for product. This has helped us keep craft show things organized and easy to move.
Don’t Forget to do a Trial Run: Set up your booth area ahead of time to practice for a show. This is a great way to make sure you have everything you need. More importantly it allows you to work with your display and your items to come up with something that works for you and your products. Be sure to come up with some different variations of your set up to accommodate for different booth sizes and locations. Our basic set up works best when we can use our canopy. I have smaller variations of the same set up for indoor shows. I have even been able to adapt it one time when we were limited to one 8' table supplied by the show instead of the instead of the 22' of tables we normally use. A trial run allows you to be creative with your items in a more relaxed setting. When you know how it all works together it is easier to adapt to the space you have available. A trial run will allow you to pack everything away properly and get you set up quicker at the show since you already know where everything is going.
Don’t Forget to Interact With Your Customers: This is my #1 piece of advice! At the show; stand up, smile, say hello or good morning; interact with the shoppers! By doing this you are making an impression and a connection with your shoppers. You need to get the shopper to stop and pay attention to your items. I make dog and cat toys so I often ask “do you have a fur baby?” People always love their fur babies, so this generally starts a conversation where I may be able to sell them a toy or something else. Don’t just sit behind your booth and gab or tune out looking at your phone! This makes it seem like you don’t care about your customers or your products. Don’t worry if a customer doesn’t interact back, there are plenty of others who will. Even if they don’t stop then they could come back around. I see plenty of people who walk through the entire show first and then do their purchasing the second time through.
Don’t Tear Down Early: Even if you have sold nothing all day, don’t tear down early! Not even 5 minutes early. Sometimes the last few minutes of a show can be the busiest with last minute shoppers or other vendors who have been eyeing your goods all day. Once we sold a $150 bowl to a woman in the last 2 minutes of a show just because we were the only booth that was not tearing down. When you do start to tear down keep your most popular items available as long as you can. We have sold plenty of scrubbies, pet toys or wands to other vendors as we were packing.
Lots of thought and effort goes into a great craft show. Make sure you are prepared to make it the show that you want it to be.
Until next time...