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.
A lot of how you display and merchandise your items depends on what you make and sell. Are you items big or small? Do they need to hang? Do you have a lot of different items or just a few? You have a lot to consider when deciding on how to merchandise your items. There are also factors like the size of your booth space and how you will transport your products and display materials.
You might not start out with the best display for your items but a lot of creating what is best for your items starts with looking at what others are doing. I make it a point to every show I do to walk the show. I am not only looking at what others are making and how they are pricing it, I am looking at how they are merchandising it. I have picked up lots of good ideas from looking at how others merchandise their items. Some people choose to pile up their items while others like to spread them all out on the table. Then there are people who have very elaborate displays that they need a trailer to transport.
If you are like most crafters, you dream of selling out at each show you do along with all of the dollars that can bring. Selling out is an awesome feeling but it can also bring some added challenges you had not considered. Here is a story of what happened to us and lessons that were learned from it.
As you may know, my husband is a wood turner, The Lathe Junkie. One of our most popular items are hand turned wood magic wands. We have managed to develop quite a good following on Facebook as well as on his Etsy Shop. Because of this we were invited to sell his wands at a Harry Potter event that was sponsored by our local baseball club. This invitation came two weeks before the event but there was no fee so all we had to do was show up with our wands and sell. Plus we got to watch the game for free so it seemed like a win win situation to us.
The biggest challenge we had was inventory. Hubby already had a pre-scheduled surgery the Monday before the event that could not be changed and would include an overnight stay. On top of that we had just exhibited at a popular art fair and our online sales had been brisk. We were down to only 50 wands without a lot of time to make more. With a short two weeks to work with, he started working on wands as quickly as possible. While he can finish one in a pretty short amount of time, standing for long periods was a problem before the surgery. Removing listings from Etsy would mean that our shop traffic would suffer so sales kept coming in too. The two days he was in the hospital, we had orders for 11 wands. Luckily he was able to get back to wand making quickly after the surgery and by the time we had to leave for the event we had 75 wands to sell. Not at all what we would have wanted to take but it was what we had.
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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