Craft Show Observations
If you’re not interested in craft show hints or tips (or reading about my aching feet and back), just skip to “Current Knitting” below. This past weekend I had my most enjoyable experience yet as a vendor at a craft show, and it was also my most successful show when it came to sales.
For any of your would-be craft show people, I realized a lot of things about doing craft shows and here are some of my random thoughts.
- A talent for merchandise display (which I lack) is almost as important as having items people want to buy. Through trial and error, I finally realized that I virtually NEVER sell anything from the hanging display rack…only items on the table. I will still use the display rack, because it seems to attract customers to the booth, but I didn’t sell one item off the hanging display rack all weekend (until I moved the item to the table).
- I was definitely NOT used to standing/being on my feet for so long. Eight hours for two days in a row actually made my feet hurt and my back ache…I didn’t expect that.
- It pays to make friends and support the other vendors at the craft show. Help others schlep display items into the show, hold doors for them, buy cookies to share, send customers to their booth, etc. The benefits of having friendly people surrounding you for a busy weekend helps enormously.
- Prepare in advance a number of conversation-starters with customers. Engaging people in conversation can convert about 1 out of every 5 people into a customer in my experience. “How’s the show going so far?” “Has it warmed up out there at all?” “What’s have you bought so far?” “Have you seen the amazing African stone sculptures upstairs yet? They’re the best deal in the show in my opinion.” “Have you finished your holiday shopping list yet?”
- I don’t think it’s possible to have too much display lighting.
- My one vendor/neighbor and I shared a table to write up sales, bag items, etc. It worked out really well. I set up a handful of bags (with my logo) and tissue paper already in the bag, so I could just insert a scarf or hat or shawl quickly…plus the colorful display is eye-catching.
- I found it much better to have my tables agains the wall and offer as much space in front of the display for people to shop as possible.
- I sold quite a few coffee cup cozies at this show, and it was solely because of how they were displayed. I fully intended on never making any more of that item after this show, but now I’m rethinking that.
- Be prepared to hear the same things from customers all day and have some responses prepared if you have experience with it. “Are you the knitter?!?!” “Your items are beautiful.” “Isn’t that a great idea?”
- I sold the most items when I displayed my table with just enough items to make it look full but not crowded or overwhelming to the eye. Constantly refreshing and tidying the table seemed to work well too.
- I use SquareUp.com (or Square Point of Sale) to process credit cards. I also use add all my inventory into the Square database and process cash and check purchases using it as well. It takes some effort to add every piece of inventory, but it makes the sales process significantly easier.
Before this past weekend, I was considering not doing any more craft shows next year (even though I only do two a year). But the experience was so enjoyable and affirming, that I’ve decide I will continue doing it next year.
I worked like a demon to finish the latest Knitted Cross Stitch Scarf in time for the show.
While I wasn’t able to get done my “stretch goal” mentioned in the last blog entry, I was able to get some work done on a neon Hunter’s Cap during the show, but I didn’t get the two others finished that I was hoping too.