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.
Exhibiting at a craft show can take a lot of work getting your items made and prepared for selling as well as finding the supplies you need to take with you. Then there is packing your vehicle, setting up the show 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.
Don’t Forget Change: Make sure you have more than enough change. But 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. 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 car. 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.
Don’t Forget to do a Trial Run: Setup your booth area ahead of time as practice for a show. This is a great way to make sure you have everything you need and also to know how you are going to set up. You can work with different ways you want to display your items. It 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. I make dog and cat toys so I often ask “do you have a cat (dog)?” Don’t just sit behind your booth and gab! This makes it seem like you don’t care about your customers or your products. Don’t worry if the customer doesn’t interact back, there are plenty 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. In tomorrow’s post I will be sharing my Craft Show checklist with essentials you need at a show.
It is craft show week for us and maybe for you too so I thought I would rerun a post from back in June. In this post we take the promote using Facebook idea a bit further and discuss how to both find shows as well as promote your own show using Facebook. Enjoy!
Originally posted June 17, 2017:
Facebook is a powerful marketing tool that you can use to promote your craft business, network with other crafters, and find great shows. If you are a crafter who regularly sells their craft, I highly recommend getting yourself a business facebook page. You can see ours here Holton Handicrafts or Lathe Junkie.
A search for craft shows on Facebook, will give you information on groups in your area that support crafters. I urge you to join one or several in areas that you sell in. We sell in Michigan where we live and in Central Ohio where my daughter lives so I belong to groups that are active in both areas. Can’t find one in your area? Consider starting a group. I’m sure there are lots of other crafters that would join.
One of the groups I belong to is Central Ohio Craft Shows. The admin of this site encourages members to regularly participate by asking where they are going to be selling each week and then at the end of the weekend, asking how they did. Members can see how other members are doing and gain ideas for shows they would like to exhibit at in the future. You often see several members who have been at the same show. The admin also encourages members to ask questions on different aspects of craft shows. These types of questions always get lots of conversation and you can gain great new ideas.
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:
How a craft show is marketed can make a difference to you and how much you will sell. I love when the show promoter uses social media in order to gain excitement for their show. Some shows are better than others at doing this.
One of the best shows that I know of that promotes is one that we have been a vendor at for a number of years; Mark Twain Craft Bazaar. This show is a big fundraiser for the PTO at Mark Twain Elementary in Westerville, OH. The show promoter has a website http://www.marktwaincraftbazaar.org/ that gives you basics about the show. Over the years I have also seen her create a brand for the show that helps identify it to shoppers. She also uses the website to drive traffic over to the show’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MarkTwainCraftBazaar where she has over 1100 followers. Starting at least 30 days before the bazaar, she uses the Facebook page to showcase vendors who will be at the show. This gives the shopper a chance to preview items that will be at the show. You can see our post on the right. She also set up a Facebook event for the show. This makes it easy for me to share the event on my own Facebook pages. This promotes not only the show but the fact that we are going to be there.
Don’t trust your show is going to create and event and promote it. A lot of the shows we participate in don’t. In these cases it is up to you to do the promoting. There are a variety of ways to do this that are free. Rely on the social services you already use. Create your own Facebook event, post on Instagram, or Twitter. If you have an Etsy shop promote on the Etsy Local page or on your own web site. Even if the show does promote any of these can be additional free advertising for you.
In addition to these methods, I also post pictures on Facebook of us set up at the show with an exact location of our booth. The bottom line is to market yourself and your products. A little bit of effort can make a big difference.
Today’s activity plans were to attend the Color Cruise and Island Festival here in our hometown of Grand Ledge, MI. There are lots of fun activities that take place on our historic island including displays and demonstrations from historic times and a riverboat to take passengers up and down the scenic Grand River. This is a great time of year to show off our famous ledges and tree lined river with all the beautiful fall colors. Looks like Mother Nature has other plans for today. Earlier in the week the forecast was for a beautiful sunny fall day. What we got instead was a forecast of day long drizzle, rain, and probable storms. Not a great day for outdoor activities.
We had planned on participating in the classic car show that is also a part of this event. We own a 1973 Olds Delta 88 Royale that has been in the family since it was new. This was the last hurrah car show for us this year. Time to tuck the classic away for the winter. With today’s rainy forecast we decided not to take the car out of the garage. We are not as bad as most but classic car owners hate to take their cars out in the rain. It takes time to get a car all shined up and perfect for a show and the rain makes that impossible.
Instead I have numerous other things I can be doing. I could prepare some future blog posts, finish up my clean and organize my office project, and then there is the ever popular clean the house and do laundry. Since we have a craft show next week I also need to spend LOTS of quality time with my crochet hook making Scrubbies and other items I will be selling. Must be time to get to work...enjoy your Saturday!
Today is Friday, October 13th making it Friday the 13th. It’s a day for superstitions and bad luck. A common superstition is not to let a black cat cross your path or it will bring you bad luck. Black cats have long been associated with scary, witchy things and bad luck. But I have not found that to be the case. Being a former black cat owner I always felt like ours protected us especially on Friday the 13th. Black cats are sleek and sophisticated looking but beyond that they are just a cat.
There are numerous benefits to owning a cat. Cats make a great companion and help people deal with loneliness and loss. Cuddling a cat has been shown to lower blood pressure and stress. A cat’s purr has been known to heal bones and reduce swelling and infections. I know I have benefited many times from purr therapy after a long stressful day.
Don’t you just love coming home to the smell of dinner cooking in the crockpot? I love the simplicity of just putting everything in and having dinner ready to serve a few hours later. Even though you can use your crockpot year round, I find myself using it more in the colder months. Right now I am receiving lots of emails featuring recipes using a crockpot. Today I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.
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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