This draft has been sitting around a few months. Waaay back in October (wow that feels so distant!) I was accepted into an Indie Craft Show. I have to admit I was a bit nervous as to what to expect but everything went smoothly. Thankfully, not only did I walk away with a lot of sales, contacts, and potential customers, but a few lessons as well.
First off, the friends who came out to support me made all of the difference. It’s imperative to have a strong social support group. I love them all for it. It was great having my husband by my side the entire time and having him watch the booth while I took a break or went out to network with other local artisans but my friends made it much more awesome and put me at ease.
The first step was applying to be at the show. This opportunity happened by chance. I was messaging a pretty popular (with a large strong following) group that runs these shows monthly in my area about availability. Fortunately, they were filled for the upcoming show and someone took the chance and messaged me about another. I promptly applied and was accepted. The organizers checked out my Etsy account to see what I was selling, and my website portfolio. The booth cost me $50. For the next few weeks I was creating my Polaroid Coasters like a madwoman! I was stressed about how many to make, what prints to take with me, my other products and what my table would look like…
Over all it was a great experience, and I took home a bunch of ideas that I probably would of never thought of until I went to a show and so I share this knowledge with you!
People LOVE free stuff. All I had was some business cards I made up a few nights before the show. I didn’t want to give away my real ones so I made some special “show” ones that I printed at home. They looked super nice! Over half of the 100 I printed were taken. I suggest that you have some sort of postcard with your products on it, or samples if you can manage that. Be creative. The kind gesture will bring some people back for that reason alone. ++ Have a candy bowl too. Humans love candy.
A Storefront. I thought about needing a banner to go above my booth or slung over my table but I never got around to actually designing it. This is imperative. I was left with just a piece of paper, which was my booth “marker” that I ended up scribbling my name on so people knew who I was. This is something that should NOT be overlooked. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only signless person there.
Stock, stock, stock! Even though, I thought I had a enough sets, I quickly sold those of which I only brought one copy of. Because I never finished my “flip book” of all my products, all of those potential sales went walking out the door. It’s better to over estimate – but don’t go crazy. Having the extra sets of coasters made it a lot easier when I got home and got orders from my online shop because they were ready to ship.
Stand, Smile, & be Friendly. I noticed that more people approached my booth when I was standing up. I guess it seems more professional and welcoming. Also smiling probably helped a lot too. No one wants to walk up to anyone with a sour puss face on. Be happy, project that on to people and get more people to come to you.
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. I wish I would of brought more signage for my booth. So, the next time I will bring signs that advertise that I do custom orders, bulk orders, .etc. One thing I did not do is list the price on my wares as I wanted to engage the customer and really sell the product. Some people get scared off my price, even though what I make is affordable to most, It gives me the upper hand to really explain the process and the features.
Instructions, if needed! With every pretty little packaged set of ceramic polaroid coasters I sell online, I provide and attractive and funny care instruction sheet. I forgot to print these out and even to tell my customers not to dishwash them! I’ve since designed an insert that goes into each package now.
Sell it! I learned a valuable lesson in sales too. At first, most of the questions were “how much?” and I would just answer. Sometimes, I had to actually explain what they were and some people gave me brilliant ideas for other ways to use my creations. But, after an hour into the show, when I greeted someone or someone was perusing my booth- I would explain what they were, how much, and the whole nine-yards. It was that approach that landed me more sales.
Be ready for anything. Unfortunately, I did lose a few sales. Some people were only interested in purchasing one coaster. However, I sell in sets. I didn’t want to break one set down to sell one, and then have an incomplete set that could of yielded more profit. A man, actually begged me to sell him just one for his wife who adored lighthouses. I felt bad, that I couldn’t accommodate and in the future, I will. Normally, I would do ANYTHING to make someone happy and get my art in their hands, but going back to stock, I just didn’t have enough to separate them up.
I can’t wait to do my next show. I didn’t apply for any January shows as I need to build up more inventory and I am in the midst of designing new tangible objects to spread my photography to the world. I might apply for a show in Feb or March before I leave for my EPIC road trip for a few months beginning in April. So expect a lot of travel stories.
My next “How To:” will be posted in a few days. So keep checking back, or subscribe!
Psst… Guess what? I am opening a new shop soon where you can snag my photography for your iPhone, iPad and more. 🙂