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
Interact and Communicate: The #1 way to increase your sales at a show is to interact with the customers! I can’t emphasize this enough. Say good morning or hello to everyone you can and smile. Engaging them in conversation can make them take notice of your booth and your items. Draw their attention to items. I sell pet toys so I often ask if they have pets and then say “have you seen my toys”. If they don’t stop or are negative just tell them to have a great day and move on. While talking up your products and making conversation is a great way to increase your sales at a show, be careful not to overdue it. Being too aggressive can turn a customer off too so find a happy balance. Sitting with your arms crossed makes you seem unapproachable. Stand up and look your customer in the eye. If you are interacting you are making yourself open to questions and possibly more sales. You might find this difficult to do at first but keep at it and it will get easier.
Thanks to the fact that we are getting older and a health scare that the hubby had, we seem to be accumulating a large amount of pill bottles at our house. Not one to just throw useful things away, I turned to Pinterest for ideas on what to do with them. Here are a few of the best:
13 Surprising Ways You Can Reuse Empty Pill Bottles
This post from LifeBuzz has some great ideas for everyday uses. I especially like the Key Holder and the nail polish remover ideas.
Easy Pay It Forward Pill Bottle Pocket Provisions for the Homeless
Love this idea from Stuck At Home Mom. This is a great pay it forward item that could be made and donated to a homeless shelter. The article includes a list of ideas for what can be included.
Ways to Reuse Empty Pill Bottles: Crafts, Ideas, and More
Selecting the right show for your craft or art can be a tricky thing. We have all had great shows as well as ones where you have bombed. Picking the right venue for you and your craft is a key to your success at a show. I am by no means the end all expert at this but over the years, I have learned a few things that I am happy to share.
How to find shows in your area: I keep my eyes open for shows all year. Finding good shows to participate in will require some work and research but it will be worth it if you find the right ones for you. Here are some the resources I use.
Newspapers – One of my best resources is our community newspaper. When I see a show advertised, I make note of the information and add it to my list.
Google Search – Use Google, or your favorite search engine, to search for shows by typing in “Craft Shows in (enter your city)”. This should return a list with a variety of resources to explore.
Facebook or Google+ – Search for groups and organizations that focus on craft shows in your area. There are several in my area that post upcoming show information.
Online Services – There are services out there that have “lists” of craft shows. My favorites are Festival Net (www.festivalnet.com) and Zapp (www.zapplication.org ) . Zapp is geared toward Art Shows and higher end shows where Festival Net has a large variety of events. While you can search on Festival Net for free, they do require a yearly subscription to get the most out of the site.
Mail or Email Solicitations – Once you have exhibited at a few shows you may start receiving other invitations from people who picked up your business card and thought your products would be good for their show.
Other Crafters – Talk to your booth neighbors as well as other vendors to find out about other shows they are doing. Many people have a small hand out available that details the shows they have coming up. Be sure to pick up cards from vendors that are doing well and look at their web site and Facebook pages. Often there will be a list of upcoming shows or posts from ones they have done in the past.
Travel: You will need to decide how far you want to travel to a show. You may find that bigger shows are in neighboring communities. I have met many vendors that travel every weekend for shows and often drive several hours to get to a large show.
Spring/Summer Shows vs. Fall/Holiday Shows: Holton Handicraft items tend to sell year round as we offer items that are inexpensive and useful to you, your household and your pets. My husband is The Lathe Junkie and makes hand turned wood bowls. Since his items are a bit pricier, we have found that they sell better in the fall when people are seeking Christmas gifts. This year we will be trying to exhibit his work at more art fairs then craft shows. This is something were you will just need to test the waters and determine what works best for you.
I try to visit a show before I commit to it: I like to visit a show as a customer first to get a feel for the show. This also allows me to talk to other vendors and see how the show has been for them. I try to visit during a shows peak hours of 11am-1pm but a visit towards the end of the show is also a great way to see if it has the draw power to pull people in. Look to see if people are buying and what they are buying. You can also get a lot of great merchandising ideas for your own products. You won’t have this kind of time to scope out a show you are exhibiting at so take full advantage of these visits.
Handcrafted or one with other Vendors: I personally try not to exhibit at shows where commercial goods are being sold. My idea of a craft show is handcrafted items not the party plans and other commercial items you can get any time. I know these exhibitors are just trying to make money too but if the show needs these types of vendors to fill their venue, is this really the type of show you want to be a part of?
Juried vs. Non-Juried: A juried show requires you to submit pictures of your items in advance of being accepted into the show. A jury reviews your pictures to make sure your items fit into their show. Be prepared for these types of shows with pictures of your best items as well as your items on display at a show. I have a one page sheet with several pictures on it that can be sent by email to a jury or be printed off and mailed if needed. Since juried shows are more selective of their vendors, I find that these are better shows for us to exhibit in.
Show Fees: Booth fees can vary as much as shows do. The expression “you get what you pay for” is true with shows. My experience has been that at a show with a $50 or more fee, we did better than a show with a $25 fee. Juried shows and art shows can be much more expensive with fees in the $100 and up range. Here again you need to decide what best fits your craft. If you have items that sell for $5.00 and under, you probably don’t want to participant in a show with a fee of $100. You would have to sell at least 20 of those $5.00 items just to break even on the fee. No matter what the fee, we try to have enough low cost impulse items available to cover the fee.
Advertising & Marketing: One of the most important things to consider when selecting a show is how they advertise and market the show, or how do they get people excited about coming to it. One of the best shows we do every year uses Facebook to help promote the show. They have set up a Facebook page for the show and start putting out teasers three months in advance. As they get closer to the show they start featuring each vendor with pictures of their items along with their booth location. They also provide vendors with graphics to use to promote the show on their own Facebook or web pages, have signs all over the community, and advertise in the local paper. It is run by a school PTO so there are also flyers about the show sent home with students and information added to the school newsletter.
Hope these tips have helped you with finding and selecting a craft show that is right for you. Watch for more tips on other show topics coming soon.
For most crafters I know, every month is craft month. I rarely have a day go by that I am not crafting something. I generally have numerous projects going on at any given time and like most crafters, I have a variety of interests too. Right now I have projects going on involving Crochet, Knitting Looms and Coloring but I also like to Sew and Scrapbook. I have a Modge Podge project planned involving my coloring but that has yet to happen.
It doesn’t matter what craft you enjoy, just do it! Or better yet, try something new. Retailers use this month to promote crafting, so those craft supplies you might need are probably on sale. Don’t think that you have to spend a lot of money on crafting though because there are plenty of things you can create that involve things that you probably have at home right now. Make some time in your busy schedule to learn how to knit, crochet or to design something beautiful. Even if you don’t think you are crafty, you will probably surprise yourself.
A wonderful way to get into crafting is to involve a child. Kids love to craft and learn new things. What a fun way to explore crafting by involving your kids. Not sure what to do. This article from About.com gives you lots of ideas and how to’s for crafts. This is a pretty long list of different ways to show off your craftiness and they include how to’s and videos.
A big plus to crafting; Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging. This fact is what keeps me crafting. After a stressful day, it is great to be able to come home and loose myself in crochet or coloring. In my busy 9-5 job, we even color on our lunch hour. It helps to refocus your brain after staring at a computer all morning.
Whatever you choose or how you do it, just enjoy crafting. Use National Craft Month as a starting point and keep going………….
I seem to have an obsession for bags. Any size, shape, color or pattern. I’m just attracted to them. I find myself pinning bag postings on Pinterest and sharing posts on Facebook. I thought I would share some of my obsession here with you, so here goes.
Bags You Can Sew
Sleeping Bag Pouch
Here is a cute little bag called a Sleepingbag Pouch. Looks super easy to make and a good use for scrap material. Lots of cool uses for this little bag. I originally saw this on a Facebook post from The Sewing Loft and you can find the pattern on Craftsy using this link Sleepingbag Pouch Pattern.
Who can’t use one of these little wallets complete with a clip. You can use it to attach to a lanyard or just about anywhere you can clip this on the go little bag. Another great scrapbuster pattern found on SewCanShe, You can find the Wallet Pattern on their blog.
Here is a giant 25″ x 19″ x 7″ bag called the So Long Suitcase Bag. This is another bag found on SewCanShe‘s web site but the pattern is courtesy of Lilac Lane Patterns. Big bags like this are always great for car trips or overnights.
If you like to sew, you can also find lots of other great bag patterns on SewCanShe’s web site in the Free Sewing Tutorials area.
Bags To Crochet
I love to crochet so patterns for crochet bags are ones that I look for frequently. Here are some of my favorites that were found on Pinterest.
Granny Square Bag
This pin was saved from Mad Mad Me and features a cute little bag made from granny squares. If you have ever made them, you know how versitile they can be. This bag is lined with muslin but you could use any coordinating fabric you have hanging around. This looks like it makes up quickly and granny squares are very portable.
Cute Critter Purses
Here is a cute bag for that little girl in your life. These sweet little animal purses were pinned from CutRate Crafts. I know a couple of grandaughters who would love these.
Everyone needs a good shopping bag and here is a great one. Super simple to make from yarn you probably already have around the house. Having your own shopping bag that can tuck away in your purse is super helpful along with being Eco-friendly! This one is pinned from Raverly.com.
Hope you have enjoyed seeing some of my favorite bags. Share your creations on our Facebook page!! You can find more bag items and lots of other fun on our Pinterest Boards!
I was reading this article that I found on Pinterest about how different sewing machine feet will give you a different look when sewing. I’m one of those who just tends to use a basic all purpose foot unless I need something different for a specific application. This article from the “Seasoned Homemaker” blog discusses the use of the all purpose foot. Also included are links to articles on many other types of feet and their applications. This is a good read with lots of useful information to help guide you in using the correct attachment for your sewing projects.
I make scrubbies! These versatile little gems are very popular, especially at craft shows. I have people come back every year looking for these. Sets of 10 in my Etsy shop also sell very quickly. Why are these so popular? Because they work!
SUGGESTED USES ~~~
KITCHEN – Teflon and other pans, Ceramic Cook Tops, Counter Tops, Vegetables.
PERSONAL – These work great on your rough heels or other areas where you might use a luffa.
OTHER USES – Great for detailing cars. We use them on our classic car to clean the chrome, white walls and grill. Clean the scrunge off of your boat as well as your BBQ Grill.
Many times you will see scrubbies that are flat or not as thick. I like to make mine to be thick and sponge like.
It is a great selling item BUT, I just couldn’t keep up! So……now you will occasionally see scrubbies for sale in my Etsy shop and generally you will find me with some scrubbies at a show. To help me keep up with the demand for these popular little items, I decided it was time to write down the pattern for others to use. The actual pattern that I use to make scrubbies is now available in my Etsy Shop with step by step directions that include pictures.
Is this knit or crochet?This is crocheted in rounds increasing for the first side and decreasing for the second side. Ties are all worked to the inside to add some body to the scrubbie.
What kind of material is this?Scrubbies are made from Nylon Net (NOT Tulle). Tulle is a softer material and is generally used as underskirting for prom or wedding dresses or in tu tu’s. Nylon net is a firmer material. I cut the materials in 1-1/2″ strips and my wonderful hubby will sit and tie them together and roll them into balls for me. These tied together strips are used as the “yarn” to make the scrubbies.
Where can you purchase Nylon Net?I generally purchase mine at JoAnn Fabric and Craft but I have also purchased it at Hobby Lobby and WalMart stores that sell fabric. The retail price is generally between $.99 and $1.49 per yard. I tend to watch for sales, specials or coupons to help keep the cost to a minimum.