Part 1- Show Prep!
It’s the time of year when all the Christmas and Holiday craft and Trade shows start happening so I thought I would share some tips with you. I’ve done many shows over the past few years and have been learning what to bring and how to prepare because each show is different! I think I have finally put together the perfect craft show emergency kit and my last show went so smoothly and successful I wanted to share why I almost always have fun and success! I’ve also rallied up some incredible advice and tips from fellow crafty friends and organizers so this list is pretty extensive but you will want to bookmark it for future use!This first part is preparing for your shows, Part 2 will be about set up and what to do during your event. I hope you enjoy this list and please visit each vendors site and be sure to tell them I sent you!
So I present to you advice and tricks from real businesses and artists!
Preparing for your show and what to bring
“Advertisement – is absolutely fundamental… If there is no advertising/marketing plan in place for a show it’s not going to do well and therefore neither will I.” Jeannine from Wylde Rose
“I actually bring a note book, so I can write down the positives and negatives about each show, and all contact information, as well as what other vendors attended so I can decide if ill attend the next year <3” Sara from Parkadilly
Have an emergency craft show kit! This is something of mine that is constantly evolving! I have everything in mine, like literally everything you could think of! In fact I have two emergency kits: general emergencies and my office supplies! I have everything from screwdrivers, clothespins and random bowls to markers, paper lips and a mini first aid kit! Most of these items are from the dollar store but have all come in handy at some point. Just remember the items in this kit are for your shows/events only! Hide them if needed from sneaky fingers because every item will be worth while!(I will update this post tomorrow with photos of my show kits!)
“[Have] Cedar shims for levelling tables… That is how we met! :)” Annie from Studio Luma
Have lots of stock prepared but keep your table tidy and hide extras under your table. Over crowded tables can look messy. If you over hear someone suggest that they don’t like the colour of something you have, finding that special one hidden away makes them feel special and gives you a chance to build conversation with them. It looks good on you and your customer leaves thrilled!Have a Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or website people can go to. This is important nowadays when everything is done electronically. My website and Facebook views skyrocket on show dates so people will check to see if you really do sell online!
Have a newsletter sign up. This is good if you are willing to keep up with it! I’ve just started my newsletter and it’s slow to start but will come in handy as a great tool to let’s customers know of sales or new products! There are plenty of ways to attain sign ups, have a book/sign up sheet or if you have a tablet or iPad there are all kinds of newsletter apps! I use MailChimp because they are simple and free for the amount of emails I will be sending!
Make sure your business cards are unique. I recently made new cards on Moo.com and am in love! They have many cool designs and style not to mention stickers and so much more! If your business cards are unique your customers will remember your booth and that cool card will end up a keepsake! Make sure you have your name, website or Facebook page, email address and what your business does on your cards as well!
Bring lots of extra change! This is one I’m the worst at. I never bring enough change and always regret it. The minimum I try to bring is $100 in twoonies, loonies and 5’s. The more change the better, you definitely don’t want to run out!Have many payment options available. With most people using smartphones these days there are a number of different ways you can accept payment. I have a Square reader, PayPal and accept cash. Just remember that some alternative payment options can take up to 3 days to deposit your cash and charge a small fee but in the end it’s worth it!
Price everything. People will not ask for prices and to be honest it just looks nicer when everything has a price. It’s much easier to keep track this way.
Keep track of what you sell. My friend Vanessa from Beadness has all of her items numbered so she knows exactly what’s what when something sells. This lets you keep track of inventory but also let’s you know your most popular items!
“As a vendor I believe the best advice is “be adaptable and accessible”. Each venue and it’s attendees can be different and you will have a better show and give your customers a better experience if you are well planned and priced accordingly. There are lots of unknowns (weather, accurate booth info) but the end goal is always the same. The vendor wants a successful show and buyers want unique handmade items of excellent quality at an accessible price. Go prepared and remember to smile and enjoy the experience.” Carol from The Nostalgia Girl Designs
So there you have it, Part 1 of my craft show tips! Thank you so much to all the vendors that have contributed so far and the ones to be quoted in Part 2. If you have any tips you think need to be included please comment below or send me a message and I will share your tips too! Next up in Part 2 is Show Time, display and how to enjoy your event. I hope you have enjoyed the tips so far, so stay tuned for tomorrows post!