VEvery crafter's dream is to showcase their crafts to the masses, get a positive feedback or even negative to help us grow and learn about our potential customers likes and dislikes. While I was preparing for my first show I did as much research as I could to prepare myself, to make sure I was ready, to ensure I had what I'd need. From paper clips to shelves, I had it all sort out. Ready.. The day of the show came, I was up and ready, car loaded with hundreds of products, everything I though I needed, I had it. The moment of truth, is that one thing that no blogs, Pinterest articles, nothing can prepare you for, you have to live it to learn from it. My moment of truth. When we got to the event, I didn't even know how to pop my canopy open, I kept going back and forth to my car to look at the manual.. I had fun tho.. Going back to my point..lol I learned that you don't need everything every article tells you you'll need, everyone's crafts are different from everybody else's craft. Your booths needs might be different than the crafters next to you. So don't go all crazy spending and bringing and loading. No matter what you bring or forget, remember, you will be ok.
I do however have a few tips to share with you. Just keep on reading I'll pass them to you in a little bit. I know by experience that it can get a little stressful. Don't overdue yourself. Go with your gut. You Will Be OK... yes I am gong to keep on reminding you throughout this article. I had almost 200 candles with me, all fragrances, but only a few matched the ones I had on display as samples and the ones tha did match were still in boxes under my tables, people wasn't going to wait around to see when would I find the one they wanted. Some candles were non existing on the sizes they wanted. Unfortunately that cost me some sales. But I learned. My candles have a security label keeping them from opening, unless you pay for it. Some people wouldn't even look at the label, they just grabbed the jars and twisted them open, and put them back and left... I learned.. For the next show I placed a sign asking them not to open the jars only the sample candles that were on top. I made sure to have each fragrance on all sizes too. And only display the fragrances I had available on all sizes To make it easy to the customer, I placed colored dots for each fragrance on the jars and a card with the fragrance name so they'd know what scent they were trying. Simple things that I had implemented before I would've made more sales on the first place. Yes, little things matter. Do your research on demographics and the specific shows you are thinking on doing. If you are an artist look for Arts and crafts. If you are buying wholesale from china, find events that goes with your products, not all shows have the same audience. Arts and crafts events are great for crafters, but it may not be the same if you show case at a fair. People at fairs are there for the rides and the food they could care less that your products are hand-made and that you spent hours making that one piece that is one of the kind. The appreciation will never be the same. Believe me. I am seating right this moment at 2 day event on which I haven't even sold my booth worth. Instead I'm writing this article hopping it'd help you Learn from me. At least a little. But I can't complain, I've met some wonderful crafters that has open doors for me and my products. So not too bad 😉 Always talk to your fellow crafters they always provide great insight and some of them even tell you what shows to attend, whom to call and how to successfully sell more products too. Try not to get discourage if you don't sell anything the first half of the day. You never know when the big flow of people will come trough, just make sure you keep a big smile. Don't be shy when they come in, talk to them as if you just had a drink with them the night before, they love it when you talk to them on the personal level not as possible buyers. Be friendly, tell them your experience making that specific piece they're holding or looking at but won't pick, put it on their hands, explain the process, they really enjoy listening to you and get to know you. Read their body language, some times they just need a welcoming Hello from you to walk in to your booth and shop.
"Always, Always Always remember to smile, no matter how tired you might be, remember to smile."
Now to the list, you might need some of this items, you may not. Be conscious about the needs of your business, don’t go all crazy shopping for everything or anything on this list, that was the mistake I made when I was trying to get ready for my first show. A lot of the things I read on multiple articles i might need i never used them.
Weights for you canopy, it’d keep your canopy from flying away on the middle of the show if it gets too windy.
Tables, folding tables are very cheap and sturdy, go to Wal-Mart, they’re cheaper there
Table cloth or cover, on amazon you will be able to find multitude of sizes and colors at a very reasonable price
With a few crates you can create amazingle cute shelves
Depending on your craft you may need shelves, what I did I ordered a set of mini crates and went to home depot and purchased pinewood planks and had them cut them to the size I needed them to create my shelves, to save space on my car I didn’t nailed them together, that way i could take them apart and put them back together with ease and store them with out creating bulk.
Business cards… BUSINESS CARDS… you want to promote your brand no just sell for that day,youdsc00807 want people to know where to find you and how.
Email sign up.. Take advantage of the crowd and ask them to sign up for your email list, that way you can keep them updated on new products, shows that you will be attending and more…
Credit card reader, is a must, not a lot of people carries cash anymore and even if they do, they like the convenience of adding more stuff to their carts and not struggling for change. If you are with Shopify you can request a free card reader and download the POS app. Or go to Square.com and get a free card reader, both of them offer pretty reasonable charges.
Banners, again, you want to promote your brand not just make a sell, you want people to remember you and know your craft.
Banners Banners Banner
Notebook, to keep track of your sales
Pens for people to be able to sign up.
Camera, always take pictures of your arrangement and people who purchase from you (ask for permission first), upload them to your Instagram and Facebook, it adds contend and creates a reliable image of your craft.
Change, 1s,5s, quarters, dimes,pennies, nickels.
Instead of bringing a big cash box (like I did) get yourself an accordion envelope from Wal-Mart, is less than $5, and it will keep your change sort out. I took that idea from another vendor at my first show
Apron, to keep things with you at all times and organized.
Scissors of mini tool kit. in case you need to cut a piece of rope to hold your banners onto place.
Bags, paper or plastic, which ever fits your budget best.
Pins or Velcro to keep your table-cloth from tangling on people's feet, remember safety first
Water, snacks to keep you from fainting..
Comfortable shoes, I know that as girls we always try to look cute, cute don't matter when you cant stand on your feet at the end of the day, and having your feet all swolled up the next day. I learned my lesson on that too.. lol..
These are essential tools that you will need. the rest that you might want to bring is completely optional. Keep your expenses at a minimum for your first show, as you attend more shows you will know if you need more or less stuff to bring with you. You will always learn new tips and tricks from seasoned vendors.
Always talk to your neighboring vendors, you never know if you may need them to watch your booth for you to go to the restroom. Be friendly, ask questions, ask for advice, ask them where else do they go to show their products. Trust me they will tell you, some may even provide you with contacts for call.
Even though my last show was a loss on profit it was a huge gain on insights. My neighboring ladies got me in contact with another organizer whom is hosting an event on a Mansion, how cool is that. Plus one of them runs a Center for Artisans and offered me a space to showcase and sell my products. So I am glad i was able to attend that event.
A huge advise from them. Do Not be discouraged just because you didn’t meet your quota for that event. You always learn. And who knows, may be the next event will be the one that’d put you and your crafts on the map.
"Always Remember that no matter what the turn out may be, YOU WILL BE OK.. SMILE always SMILE"
If you have any questions for me or would like to add a comment feel free to add on the box below, I will make sure I respond to you as soon as I receive it.
Now GOOD LUCK TO YOU on your first show