Summer’s approaching faster than ever with temperatures rising like crazy. When you sit and think about it, what does warmer temperatures even mean? Maybe to you they mean road trips to the beach, or walks down the pier. But to me, they mean taking days out of the week to visit local craft shows.
In Vegas, there aren’t many fancy outdoor shows because well, it’s too hot! With temperatures reaching well over 100, it makes it hard for vendors to make a decent living while sweating it out in the blistering heat. But with all the casinos hosting craft shows or exhibits, they’re indoors so that’s always a good reason to go!
I’ve exhibited at a few craft shows so I thought I’d share some of the knowledge and tips I picked up while selling. And don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds! Yes, it is a lot of work but trust me, it’s not as bad as you think. Here are a few ways you can keep sane while selling:
Most craft shows last all day long, and for some, you do get fined for breaking down your station early. So make sure you have all the necessities needed to keep selling all day long; be sure to bring:
- Food; you don’t want to be hungry all day! Either pack your own or some sites will have concession stands or food trucks.
- Snacks like nuts, fruit, veggies, granola; pretty much anything that won’t cause a mess on your table or your fingers.
- Extra supplies; whatever you need to build your station, or to make repairs in case something breaks.
- Business/branded supplies; when things are slow, it’s always good to hand out business cards or flyers. Don’t forget to put them out on your table where customers and visitors can easily access them!
- Cash; mostly everything is paid with credit cards nowadays, but some customers will pay with cash so it’s best to be prepared with single bills on hand. I would say anywhere from $50 to $100 total in singles, fives, tens and some twenties (depending on your product price range) will do.
- Credit card swiper; for those who do pay with card, you’ll be prepared. I use Stripe, and they also have different options like a card reader for the chip, or an actual POS terminal.
Bring a friend
While it’s great to be independent and all that jazz, it’s better to have a friend or family member be with you to help out. Extra hands are always so helpful, especially when you get a heavy flow of customers rolling in and out; you want to make sure everyone is happy and taken care of! Plus, it’s always good to have company! Just one rule: don’t sit there and chat all day. It’s a definite no-no because customers will feel alienated.
Don’t get discouraged
When things are slow or you think you aren’t selling enough- don’t give up! There are no guarantees when you sign up for a craft show that you’ll make a lot of money. It’s important to let things sink in at first then evaluate what you think went wrong and how you could fix it next time. Maybe it’s where the venue is located or maybe it’s not the right show for you. There is a difference between regular craft shows and artisan shows, for example. But the most important thing is to not get discouraged!
Do your research
With so many craft shows out there it’s important to know which one is right for you. Where is it located at? What kind of show is it- regular, artisan, farmer’s market? You’ll want to be where your audience is.
Networking is encouraged
I’ve been to a couple of shows where getting to know the other vendors is encouraged. They actually played a game throughout the day where you would talk to another seller, write down their name and what they do, then you’d be entered into a drawing to win fun prizes! They’re just like you; trying to make a living and get their name out there. Why not help each other by exchanging business cards, referrals or numbers? The more connections, the better!
Sometimes all it takes is a simple smile to get someone over to your booth. It shows that you’re warm, friendly and willing to help!
If you have any tips of your own, don’t hesitate to share!