Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Craft Show Preparations and Tips

This weekend I'll be a vendor at the Christmas in July fair sponsored by the Old Mission Montessori School. The fair runs for two days so I have been busy crafting up a storm while (kind of) putting my shop on the backburner. The fair is going to be on the grounds of Mission San Luis Rey aka "The King of Missions". See above picture - isn't it beautiful? I think my booth space is going to be near or under a tree, which will be great because it's going to be hot and humid here in Southern California and I will welcome having a little shade.

I've been compiling a list of my craft show tips & wanted to share them as well as the tips/advice I've gleaned from other crafters:

- Make a list of the items you need to set up your booth. I have a typewritten list which I keep in my "set up" box and I mentally check off each item - canopy, tables, tablecloths, shop banner, chairs and my holder for pocket mirrors.

- Have a container specifically marked for small but essential items such as pens, pencils, markers, tape, stapler, measuring tape, scissors, credit card swiper, small change envelope (if you don't have a money box), hand sanitizer and a copy of your seller's permit. I also keep a small notebook to jot down what sells so I know what I need to make more of for the next show. My cell phone, itouch, leapster and battery operated fan for the kids also goes in the container. In this box also goes the acceptance letter from the craft show sponsors as well as any vendor instructions they sent. I also include a couple of fast food addresses to be plugged into the GPS later.

- If you sell jewelry, have a mirror on hand for those who want to see how something looks on them. Most of my glass tile and scrabble pendants are hung on 24" chains so having the mirror helps potential buyers see how the necklace would look on them if the chain was shortened.

- Bring a small cooler with drinks and snacks. Don't forget to pack some napkins or washcloths too. Try to eat when you don't have any traffic in your booth or at least be discreet about it.

- One tip that I've heard/read repeatedly is to stand as much as possible, especially when greeting customers. Don't just sit there looking bored or reading a book. Say hello to any potential buyers and then leave them alone after letting them know you're available to answer any questions they might have.

- I heard this from a crafter which I thought was interesting -she said that if someone keeps looking at you, that they're planning to shoplift. I don't know if her theory is true because I have had people take things and didn't care if I was watching them or not! Anyway that is something to think about and do keep a discreet eye on the customers.

- Regarding your inventory - put prices or at least signs on or around your products. Bring more inventory than you think you'll sell unless you know your product is something you can make more of while you're at the show.

- Try to bring at least one other person with you. This way you can give each other bathroom breaks, time to walk around the show and also to eat.

- Smile and have fun!

Hope to see you at the fair this weekend - anyone that stops by and says they read this post will receive a fun pinback button of their choice!

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