For most, the fall season is the time when we travel from county to county to attend our local Craft Fairs or Farmer’s Markets to show and sell our items we cherish. I LOVE this time of the year; meeting people and having those conversations to me is priceless, and I get to spend some wonderful time with my Sis (I make her come with me to help set up… I know she fully enjoys it, lol)…
But just with anything, there is a part we love and a part we hate… and of course the part that is not enjoyable is what to pack! It is not the same when you go on vacation. When on vacation, if you forget something, you can just go and make a simple purchase… When at a show, forgetting something can really hinder your business profile and sales!!!
I have provided just a few tips to consider and remember when getting your shop packed before your first show of the season…
Your PRODUCTS… well of course you need your products, right! – something to consider though, try to research the show you will be attending. When applying (if there is an application process) make sure they accept all your products and not just certain items… Sometimes the promoters may limit what items you can bring because they do not want to have too many of one item being sold. Also try not to worry about if you sell out with a specific item, make a note for next year and make more for that show.
It is always questioned if your products should have a price tag or not. That is a seller’s preference and I do not think it hinders or helps in sales. I have my pieces priced, however they are set inside the bag or attached to the back of the item. I really like to talk with my customers, this way it always starts a conversation about something.
TABLES and CHAIRS… Whether the venue is inside or outside, you want to make sure they will either provide these times or you have to bring them. NEVER assume just because it is inside they will provide these items. I tend to focus on the table, chairs I always pack just in case! After confirming who will provide you also want to confirm the size of the table, usually either 6 or 8 feet is the norm for all venues. This could help you decide the items or your display you will be bringing.
CANOPY… Such a necessity when the venue is outside. This will hardly ever be provided, so when your show is outside, make the investment. This will help on those brutally hot days and will also help avoid the sun burn you will receive. Yes, I have learned this one the hard way, NOT FUN! You also want to make sure you have proper canopy weights, they are not expensive and are the best investment. It could be a perfectly sunny day however a storm could just pop up and those winds, they can cause a lot of havoc. When purchasing your canopy you could also look in to have sides on it as well. This is just added shade and protection if it should rain.
Your PROPS and SIGNS… Setting up your area is a great feeling and it represents you and your business! Make it shine… A lot of sellers use a tablecloth to cover the table and then they place their items around, while yes I agree, you will see the items, but it does not draw people into their area. You want to create a comfortable and inviting vibe. HEIGHT and LEVELS!!! I use wooden crates that my husband joyfully painted and set them around the table at different heights. I have also found that those items near eye level are key; make them your best-selling product, or your ‘eye catchers’. This technique will help you draw people into your shop…
Your sign should have your business name clearly visible and really nothing else. Your business cards will handle the rest for contact information. And you want to make sure it is hung in an area where everyone will see. When outside I tend to hang it high in the canopy so shoppers away from my area will be able to see it and they will come over… When inside I hang it out front, usually when inside the shopper follow a path and they will be in your area, this is where set up is key to draw them in!
CASH BOX/ CREDIT CARD READER… Oh yes, been there, forgot that!!! It was a funny day…NOT. You want to make sure you go to the bank BEFORE the day of our show so you have proper change for your customers, if they are paying by cash. Most of our customers now-a-days do not carry cash so you want to make sure you take some time to research and invest in a credit card reader.
The top ones available are:
(a) Etsy (if you have a shop)
They all have fees which are very comparable to each other and can run through your phone or tablet, and yes you will need WiFi for them to work, so make sure you have a proper data plan. They all accept the major credit cards i.e. Visa, Master Card, Discover and AMEX. I have the Etsy, PayPal and Amazon and I know these even accept cash as well. This is great for tax time!
NOTE: with our new technology all bank and debit credit cards are now being made with the EMV chip. If you currently have a card reader it will have to be upgraded. Contact your card supplier to learn more and stay up to date. This new technology takes effect on October 1st, 2015.
And then the BASICs or what I like to call ‘EMERGENCY NECESSITIES’!!! These I always keep packed together and they are never removed, prior to the start of my craft showcase season, I always unpack and make sure everything is still there and ready to go!
And finally PRACTICE your set-up… When I started doing my craft showcases, I literally practiced butting my area together, and yes I timed myself as well. While most give you two hours for set up, there have been a few that have given me as little as 45 minutes to set up – yes you break a mean sweat on those!!! The main reason though for doing a practice set up, you will be able to get a vibe of how your area will look and feel. This is what mine looked like when I first started.
I hope this gives you some good items to thibk about before your craft fair season goes into full swing.
If you have any other great tips or ideas, please leave them in the comments. I loive to share!
And as always ENJOY!!!
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