Thursday, April 9, 2009

Craft fair tips

In case you haven't heard by now, on April 25 I will be doing my first craft fair. Pardon me while I take a moment to panic because that's only about two weeks away.

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Okay I'm done. :)

Anyway, over the past few weeks I have gotten some great tips from craft fair veterans, so I thought I'd share them here for all you other newbies.

1. June, creator of isewcute (I Sew Cute) suggests to bring a buddy. It will be a long and exciting day, and you will need a potty break and maybe just a few minutes away from your booth. Many shows have "booth sitters" available, so that may be an option if you can't find someone to help. Personally I think it's better if you know the person watching your booth and, more importantly, they know enough about your products to answer questions while you're out.
You can visit isewcute on Etsy here: http://isewcute.etsy.com

2. Bring plenty of change. This is the one I worry about forgetting, because it's so basic. In most cases, your patrons will be paying in cash. You don't want to lose a sale because you can't break a $20.

3. If there's some part of your craft that you can easily work on at the show, then you might consider doing it as a kind of impromptu demonstration. Just be sure you don't get so engrossed in your work that you seem unapproachable.

4. Don't just sit behind a table or spend all your time reading, chatting with one person or otherwise completely engages in something other than your patrons. It can make you seem unfriendly or deter customers from asking questions. While we're on the topic of questions...

5. Expect some questions about your product, prices, etc. that seem strange, absurd or just plain rude. Not everyone gets them, but I've heard complaints from vendors about patrons asking them to teach them how to make a product, complaining about the prices, or, claiming that there was something wrong with their products. It's best to try to take everything in good humor. There's no sense in letting one or two such comments spoil your day, and it may be that the person asking didn't realize their comments would be seen as offensive.

6. Don't take checks. This one is a little controversial, as many do without a problem, especially if they can't accept credit cards. I would say if you do decide to take checks, to be sure you do your research, ask for ID and get as much info as you can, such as license number, DOB, phone number, etc. I would also set strict guidelines such as no out of town checks and possibly a limit on the amount.

My mom has also suggested that, if possible, rather than deposit the check directly into your account, take the check to the issuing bank to have it cashed. This prevents charges from your bank if the check bounces. I'm not sure if all banks allow this, however.

7. Make sure everything has price tags or clear pricing signs. I know that I personally won't ask for a price unless I am just DYING to have a particular item.

8. This one comes from Kristi, aka GreyWillowStudios on Etsy: "I like to make a little first aid kit to take along - tums, tylenol/advil, tissues, bandaids, etc. Breath mints and hand sanitizer or baby wipes are good too." Kristi also suggests having small, easy to eat snacks.

9. Sandi offered this tip for tracking inventory: "Putting a sticker on each package that can be removed - will keep up with your inventory - just put it on a piece of paper, as you go along - that way you don't have to look over a list as you are waiting on customers." You can visit Sandi's website here: http://www.sandists.com/

10. Kay, creator of The Rustic Cottage gave this great tip to help keep you prepared for everything: "One thing I do is make a list of all the things I'm going to take in "show bag". Extra price labels, scissors, pens, sales slip, business cards, tape - anything you think you might need to use in your display at the last minute or to fix something. I keep these in a little zippered bag which goes in my big tote. I restock after every show." Check out The Rustic Cottage here: http://www.diyminishoppes.com/shoppes/therusticcottage/index.html


On a different note, TODAY IS MY MOM'S BIRTHDAY! So, Happy Birthday Mom, and to those of you reading this, please harass me and make sure I don't forget to call her.