Monday, March 5, 2012

Taking a Poll

hey loves!

Ok, I need you guys to help a sistah out.

I have never done a craft show before because, well, 98% of the craft shows on long island are pretty "kitsch" meaning they involve very "folk" looking stuff.

Nothing against folk, but lawn ornaments are really my thang.

But I finally found an indie craft fair that is more my speed, I sent in the application and *fingers crossed* they accept me.

This is where you all come in.

I am inventory illiterate. I have never ever ever done any type of craft show before. Basically I know that I sould:

• Have a price sheet available on my table 
• A Banner with my shop  name
• Business cards
• Get a fancy square for credit card payments
•  bring food
• have a ton of singles
• find a clever way to display my products
• have bags for people to put their swag in once purchased

I was wondering if there way anything I was missing? A BIG thing I am having a hard time with is how much inventory does one bring?? I would be selling:

• Necklaces
 • Plushies
• Prints

I am unsure how many styles of each thing to bring as well as how many quantities of each.

For example: Do I bring 15 different print styles in quantity of 10 so there are 150 total?

GAAAAH please help! The fair would be going on from 11am-7pm for 2 days.

Thanks in advance, if I could give you all a Mercedes I would.


  1. I'm actually glad you asked this question because I would love to know the answers! I'm going to be doing doing a mini craft show at the end of this month and then a BIG one in November and I'm already preparing!

  2. Couple of ideas off the top of my head:

    - In lieu of price sheets, as a shopper, I prefer either individual priced stickers or like items grouped together under a sign that says "1 print $15, 2 pints $25" etc.
    - Of course, slide those prints into plastic sleeves so they don't get dirty.
    - A calculator.
    - A friend who can watch your booth if you need to run to the bathroom and to help you watch your booth from quick-fingered discounts.
    - An apron to keep your money on you, or a locked cash box hidden down under the table.
    - A mailing list sign up sheet.
    - A full inventory list of what you took with you (to compare to what you sold and what you brought home so you know how profitable that show was for you).
    - A tablecloth to cover your table(s).
    - Lights and a super long extension cord (if lighting will be available and if it's optional for the booths).
    - Bring easy to eat foods, like snack bars, crackers, something you can pop in your mouth and swallow quickly if a customer shows up (versus spaghetti or something).

    As for what to bring, I used to tell people "everything!" But that's not really that helpful. Start by figuring out what your best sellers are - sometimes what sells well online doesn't always sell well in person, and vice versa, but going off your previous sales records will give you a place to start. Bring the favorite best selling prints that people seem to love and buy repeatedly, leave the ones that don't sell well at home if you're short on space. Because you have different colorways, maybe stick to one colorway per print style, or bring both, but leave the second tucked away.

    The nice thing about prints is that you can bring a bunch and keep them in a box under your table - that's totally allowed, and it'll be covered by a tablecloth.

    If necklaces and plushies sell well online, bring a decent variety, maybe one or two of each style/size/color. If that's too much, same rules apply - if it's a best seller, bring it, if not leave it home. Since it's a two day show, you can bring half or more than half the first day, and if you need to, bring the second half the second day (assuming the show is local, of course).

    If you're looking for booth design ideas, check out the Groups on Flickr (search for Etsy craft show booths or something like that - there are several). You'll need to know how big your booth will be, and I'd suggest setting it up at home to get your table displays down (and maybe to see how complicated it would be to set up yourself if you're going to be alone that day).

    Mmm... I think that's all I've got right now!

  3. So here I jumped in all mom-like and ready to help, only to find out that you are asking questions on a subject I know absolutely zero about. Love you anyway, Chickie!

  4. I wish I had advice to give but I'll just have to send good gibes your way instead. You'll do GREAT I know!

  5. I do a lot of these shows and have a love/hate relationship :). Bring an extra phone battery or your charger {if you have access to electricity} because you don't want it to die when you are swiping credit card after credit card.

    Yes, lots of snack, water, etc.

    Don't go crazy on the inventory, I always want to over do it thinking "what if I sell out?!" Well, if I sell out then that is a good thing. And, it's not really likely that will happen. So, what I am saying is, don't kill yourself with inventory.

    Last, keep your set up simple and easy for the customers. Practice it beforehand and practice picking things up....which people will do. Is it easy to grab something to get a better look? Did you knock everything over? And so on...

    Good luck - can't wait to hear all about it!

  6. Wow, good timing with this post!! I'm going to be doing my first show at the end of April and am super excited/nervous. Brandi, your advice is awesome!

    Preparations I've made so far are signing up for a Square (I've heard really good things!) and working on a booth set up. I've read that it's a good idea to get some of your items up higher off the table, if possible, so that people can see them from across the room. I'm also trying to figure out ways to be able to hang some things, since I'll have lots of hats and scarves and stuff. Does the fair you're going to provide a table and chair? I've applied for one this summer that does not, so you'd want to bring those!

    As far as inventory goes, I'm clueless. It probably depends on the size of the event... you might be able to get in contact with past vendors and ask them!

    Good luck, I'm sure the show will be AWESOME for you!!

  7. a mailing list sign-up with candy next to it is a great idea. i use this list for my newsletter and announcements. all who sign up also receive 15% discount code for more shopping online :)

    i also find i need tape and scissors for various set up reasons. have fun! xo

  8. Hey girl! You're going to have so much fun!

    Having done a bazillion shows last year here are some of my tips:

    1. Square is a MUST. I've had people start to walk away from my booth because they assumed it was cash only and then after seeing my "Credit Cards Accepted" sign, came back and spent $200+, not kidding.

    2. Have an "I accept credit cards" sign in easy view for the above reason.

    3. There's no easy way to figure out inventory-- sales can vary drastically from show to show. I usually bring all of my print inventory just in case and leave some originals at home since they aren't the big sellers. This is something you'll feel out after you get some shows under your belt.

    But one thing I like to do is have one copy of each available print displayed in clear protective cover in a binder and those are NOT for sale. Then, if I happen to sell out of any I have a catalog of sorts for people to browse through. They can then pay up front, leave me their address, and I send it to them when I get it in stock. You can do this with photos of your plushies and necklaces too.

    4. I've had great response to a bio hung up in the booth somewhere. People like to know who they're buying from and even though you're right there in person, some people are more comfortable reading the bio as opposed to chatting you up.

    5. Pens/paper and tape for impromptu signage, a garbage bag for a tidy space, and a mirror for people to see what necklaces look like on.

    6. And for the love of Pete, wear comfortable shoes! I've fallen victim to the "Oh but these are my cute, artsy, craft show shoes" idea and regretted it. They can of course be cute, but make sure they are comfy-- you'll be on your feet more than you think.

    Good luck!!


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