Sunday, May 27, 2012

Getting ready for my craft show

Well, I decided to bite the bullet and attempt a craft show.  Not having participating in one before, I set up a booth last weekend at the local farmer's market.  My goal was less to make money and more to have a test run for what it took to pull a show off. I did make money (yeah!), but here are a few lessons I learned:

  1. Have a tent or canopy.  At first it didn't seem to be in issue, but at noon, all my tea lights were doomed.  Ok, I feel Mr. Obvious knocking at my door on that one, and I'll address the heat in a moment.  But also, a tent creates a sense of space for your "shop", encouraging shoppers to come inside. Since I'm not certain I want to do a lot of shows, I'm reluctant to purchase a tent.  Fortunately, I'm able to borrow one from a family friend.
  2. Protect your wares.  Did I mention my tea lights were doomed? I decided to put only one item on the display table and most of my inventory underneath.  I'll pull from the inventory and give the purchaser a cooler candle.
  3. Give people a reason to visit you. I offered a fragrance basket as a giveaway.  This encouraged quite a few to stop and sniff.  While I had their attention, I asked what their favorite fragrance was and directed them to a sample.
  4. Use the show as part of your marketing strategy. As I mentioned, I offered a fragrance basket as a giveaway. In doing so, I collected names and email addresses to add to my newsletter list (of course, my follow up email was "Thank you for visiting me" and contained a subscription link). When asking people about their favorite fragrance, I was also able to gain ideas of what people like to buy.
  5. Be prepared to improvise. I thought I forgot my order forms and sign up slips.  My receipt book became my order form - just wrote order on the slip to notify myself - and my planner notes paper became my sign up slips.
Now of course, I also had small bills and change, variety of price points, and my Square Up credit card reader. I gave out newsletters and stapled my business card to the receipt.  Bags and thank you gifts. This weekend I'll also have a few shelving units and baskets to create varying heights, as well as a second table for an L-shape.  

But since I don't know if this is an avenue I want to continue, I'm stuck with the following "how do I's":
  • I don't have resources to invest in a sign. How do I show who I am without one or with minimal budget and time to create one?
  • I'm selling primarily candles in June. How do I create the sense of a "full shop" if I keep most of my inventory under the table in order to keep it protected?
  • I've planned most of my inventory to include five cases of 10 fragrances.  How do I know if this is the right fragrance diversification? 
  • I'll also have all of my inventory of other fragrances, so my total should be about eight cases. How do I know if this is enough?
I'm excited about this opportunity, but extremely nervous as well.  I'd appreciate your feedback and recommendations!

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