Should I do a Craft Show?

Bio: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching African American scholarships as well as agriculture scholarships. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.

 Tips for a Successful Craft Show

Though we all create because we love it, there are times when we also create to satisfy our entrepreneurial impulses. Craft shows are a great place to sell handmade goods of any kind and to get feedback on your work. However, having a successful showing requires more than just putting your wares on display and watching the hoards gather, clamoring over themselves for a chance to buy from you. Keep these tips in mind for your next — or your first — craft show:

Planning and Pricing

It is important to think about what you want to make and sell so that you can plan out securing the materials. If you know that you’ll be making dozens of pillows or stuffed animals, you can buy fiberfill in bulk. If you know that you want to make a variety of glass bead necklaces and bracelets, you can look for wholesale lots. The key is to look for materials that you can buy in bulk or that you can catch on sale so that you can get the most savings on your bottom line. Doing so will help you increase your profit
margin or lower your retail sale prices so that more customers are inclined to buy.

Though pricing can be subjective and enigmatic — too high? too low? which will create more demand? – there is an easy rule of thumb to help you set a baseline. Keep careful record of how much you spend on materials, and on how much of those materials is used in each project. (This can also be subjective: How much glue do you use in one paper project? Measure in lots if you must, then divide by how many individual projects it created.) Once you have the total cost per project, multiply that by three. This
should be enough to account for the time that you have spent creating the project, as well as allowing for a profit margin. Before settling on that as your final price, check it against your competitors. You may have to adjust slightly.

Finally, be sure to put a price on every item that you are selling. Some customers will ask you for the price if an item is not tagged, but most will put it down and move on without buying. Use attractive price labels that reflect the style of the items you are selling.

Create an Attractive Display 
Anyone can throw a tablecloth over a table and lay some crafts on it for sale. Show off your creativity and your unique style — an indication of what customers can also expect to find in your product — by creating an attractive display that reflects your product. For example, if you sell doll clothes, you could create a mini boutique on your table, or display a doll trunk with clothes spilling out. If you sell flower- themed items, you could set up a fake grass covering to create a crafty garden.

Play around with the space. Create levels by using stacked crates or shelves. Use chicken wire or corkboard to build height. Use lots of color and different textures. Make your space look interesting and fun. Some possible displays could include cupcake tiers, suitcases, flower pots, baskets, frames, and more.

Make yourself part of the display! Customers love to get a glimpse into the creative process. Working on a product at your booth will attract customer attention and invite questions. If you use a particular technique or material for your items — for example, maybe you repurpose old watches for your pendants — be sure to highlight these things for customers. These unique details add an extra dimension.

Marketing
Be sure that your packaging is as attractive as your product. Have bags with your logo — either from a label or a handmade card — and include a business card or a fun thank you note. Have brochures or business cards available even for those customers who don’t buy. Once they have previewed your product, they may return to your Web site for a later purchase or ask you for custom work.

Make buying easy by offering several payment options. If you can’t take credit cards through a commercial account, you can at least take them through Paypal, which is a free online service. Bring your laptop so customers can sign in and send payment, or sign up for Paypal mobile on your phone. Be sure to have plenty of change on hand for cash-paying customers.

Following these simple steps can help make your craft-fair experience easy and more successful. But remember to have fun! This is a great chance to talk with people about what you love to do!

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