I hope that last Sundays tips were helpful and as my craft show season moves along I will continue to add some tips and ideas here on my blog.
1. ) Booth appearance, your booth should not look cluttered. I know when I shop a craft show the first thing that turns me off is a cluttered looking table. You can have the next big craze on your table but no one will see it if you pile it up with too many things. Try to keep like items together and remember, you don't have to have everything out on your table. If you have space under the table keep some of your inventory close at hand. You can always offer more selections if a customer is interested but doesn't see what they like.
2.) Seasonal items look best when displayed together and in a themed setting. You don't have to make your whole booth look seasonal but holiday items such as ornaments look best displayed on a table top tree or even a full size tree. Remember, you don't need to display all items at once.
3.) Business cards, you can never have too many. Toss a business card in the bag with a customers purchase and if you can maybe a freebie to boot. Customers love getting free items. The free item can be anything, this year during my holiday shows I plan on using last years leftover Christmas cards as my free item for purchase.
4.) Want to hire help but don't have the cash? An Etsy shop owner, "The Chameleons Attic" gave us this tip. "Don't pay cash if you can avoid it. Pay in product or go half and half". This way "if your sales are not what you want you are not feeling shot in the foot". A great idea for cutting down costs.
5.) Another cost saving tip is to share a booth with another artisan. This is great if you both have small items or as in the case of a recent show I attended, one sold totes and the other did face painting. Just make sure that you can keep sales separate and inventory in check. Also, if you decided to do this you must advise the show organizers to make sure they are okay with it. Sometimes organizers will not allow sharing a booth or if they do and it is a juried show you will have to submit photos of both of the artisans items for approval.
6.) Find out if an ATM will be available for customers or check cashing/credit card area. Some larger shows offer these services at a small fee for the convenience of their customers and merchants. If you don't have credit card capability this could be a lifesaver. (I will cover credit cards in another post)
7.) Have plenty of change and get a counterfeit money marker. At a recent show I was approached early in the day by a customer with a $100 dollar bill for a $45.00 purchase, luckily we had change. The markers are available at office supplies stores and I use mine on all my bills over $10.00. It is not likely you will find someone trying to pass counterfeit bills at a craft show, but you never know.
8.) "Do you take checks?" This is a question you hear very often at a show so decided before you get there if you want to take this risk or not. Another tip about checks is that although your bank says 10 days for approval the purchasers bank can take up to 4 weeks, and sometimes more, to return a check. If this happens you will not only be out the purchase price but a returned check fee and your merchandise. I personally do not accept checks but I do accept debit cards and credit cards.
9.) Credit cards. There are many companies out there that offer all types of credit card acceptance systems and if this is what you want make sure you do your research. There are many fees involved and the final cost may not be worth making. I personally use Propay which is an online services that is both convenient and easy to use. Next week I will cover more about credit card services.
10.) Don't stress about sales. Try to keep your attitude in check even if the day looks like it is a bust. You never know, when that last sale of the day comes it could be the winner, so try to keep an upbeat attitude till the end.
I do hope that some of these tips and ideas are useful to anyone doing a show or thinking of doing a show this holiday season.