day 31: being realistic

Boo Hoo, it’s the final day of 31 days of preparing for my first craft show.  I do hope you have enjoyed the past 31 days, I have…most days.  And I do hope you check in with me here from time to time, I will still be blogging, but not only about craft shows, so many things have happened this month that I haven’t had a chance to share with you; a little teaser, dishwasher mayhem, vegan fantasticalness, family psychosis, this should get you interested right?

Today being realistic.  I know I have high hopes for this craft show. Oh how I would love to sell everything! That would be simply awesome! Reality, probably not going to happen.  Craft shows can be awesome or they can, frankly, suck.

Being successful depends on so many things, many of which you will have no control over. (My control freak self doesn’t like this much). Yes you have control of your work, your self, your booth design, etc.  You will not have control over how many people come to the show, will people who come like what you do, will they spend money, will the weather be good enough for people to venture out?

The reality is, for me, that selling in a craft show is hard work! But it is fun too.  If you like to be creative and people have said to you “you made that, I want to buy one” you get a bit excited.  I think how I would love to be one of the success stories you read about, a person who left there job to be a stay at home mommy, were creative, started selling there work here and there and now they are big! They have a team, they have a real studio, they have followers, they make big money.

They all started small, that first craft show where they didn’t have a clue what they were doing, but they went for it and are now successful.  I am at that first step.  I am nervous, if I let myself sit still and realize it (but that NEVER happens), I am excited, I am hoping I sell at least one thing, no I am hoping I at least make a profit, I am going to loose my mind some days.  I figure as long as it’s still fun, I am making a profit, then why not, right?

I do hope that if you are thinking of selling at a craft show, this month might have helped you a bit.  It helped me for sure! This 31 days was like a mini deadline of sorts, every day researching, sewing, creating for the blog.  I need deadlines, I have a big one in 30 days! Holly crap, got to get sewing!

“There’s nothing an artist needs more- even more than excellent tools and stamina  than a deadline” – Adriana Trigiani

 

To read all 31 days to preparing for my first craft show, click here and read the entire series.  Also, follow me and read how crazy life can really be.

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day 30: the BIG day check list

We are winding down the 31 days to preparing for my first craft show, so today let’s fast forward to the few days before the show.  Your inventory is pretty big, you probally don’t think it is so you are spending long nights making more stuff.  You booth is designed, you have practiced setting it up and it’s ready to go.  You know what you are going to wear.  You are set.

There is one list left to create, The BIG day checklist.  That is, what should you bring with you in your “tool box” for lack of a better word.  Maybe it should be “The BIG day kit” (hmmm maybe an upcoming kit for sale?). I have ask my sources and consulted my favorite books and have complied the list, so here you go:

Oye this is a ton more stuff to shove into the car, but well worth it! Hopefully this collection of stuff will save the day for you or your crafting neighbor.

This is the second to last post in 31 days to preparing for my first craft show, you should read them all

day 29: inventory check in

Okay, so in the past 29 days this is what I have made:

  • 10 fleece jackets
  • 18 vintage handkerchief skirts
  • 23 bandana bibs (plus I sold one)
  • 9 crayon portfolios
  • 3 crafting aprons
  • 50 hang tags
  • 1 halloween costume (although I was “told” I forgot the wand)
“dark pink rose fairy princess”

Overall, along with being a mommy, wifey, june clever want-to-be, and on the school board, I think this is pretty good.  Is it enough?  HELL NO! Do I have a ton to do in the next month and 2 days? YES! Is it all good? YEP!

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day 28: 9 tips

I am getting so close to “the day” and we are getting close to the end of our 31 days, so I thought I should share some information about selling.  That is, how you “should act” and what you “should” have in your booth, which may help with sales.

Tip One: SMILE- seems like a no brainer, buy no matter what, you need to smile and be happy.  Remember you need to get people into your booth, to get close enough to see your work, if you look miserable, that will not happen.

Tip Two: STAND- as much as possible.  When you stand you are at a better advantage point to talk with customers.  Sitting down can send the wrong message like, “Don’t disturb me, I’m taking a break.”  We don’t want that to happen!  So wear comfy shoes and stand as much as you can.

Tip Three: ENGAGE NOT PUSHY!  Make sure you greet people who come into your booth, but make sure you pay attention to there body language, they might not want to chat.  Remember you are trying to make a good impression and keep people in your booth.

Tip Four: CREDIT CARDS- we have chatted about this before, make sure you accept them and show off those credit card stickers!

Tip Five: NO GOSSIPING- about other customers, other vendors, your annoying neighbors or that person at last weekend’s birthday party.  It gives a negative image. (We all gossip, if you don’t WOW, but this is not the place.)

Tip Six: SHARE- if a customer is looking at a piece, share a store about it, if they seem likely to listen and be interested.  Remember tip three- don’t be pushy!

Tip Seven: PRICE- Make sure you have all items priced and signs to show your prices.  Your customers will appreciate being able to figure out a price by themselves.

Tip Eight: BUSINESS- remember you are a business, have your signs and business cards visible.  Be organized and professional.

Tip Nine: BE YOURSELF- be genuine.  You are selling yourself here (not literally) but your art, your crafts, this is apart of who you are.  Be real.

Makes sense right.  It’s really not rocket science, just basics that are easy to forget.

you should really click here and read all 31 days and you should click over there on the upper right and follow my blog

day 27: oh no…maybe not

Oh no, there are only 4 more days of “31 days to preparing for my first craft show.”  The last few days this thought has been awesome, it is a lot of work blogging everyday. Today, I am not so happy about this.  Why you ask?  Well for many reasons, but the number one reason:

Blogging everyday is keeping me on track!  Because I have to do this daily, I am NOT procrastinating, for me this is HUGH!  I have a blogging calendar and I stick to it.  Of course I could create a calendar for finishing my inventory, but let’s face it, I don’t have the social pressure there.  I should! I know, I can’t show up to the craft show with a tiny pile of inventory, but it’s different.  Here, in blogging world for this 31 days, I have two friends (Magazine Mom & Beautiful Objects) who are blogging daily too. Let me tell you, they both post before I do daily, I see there posts and shit I got to get it done. I can’t be the slacker!

My first show is in 33 days! 33! Of course I will have a bit more time daily because I will not be blogging daily (I know, your so sad) but thirty three days! The way time flies around here, this will be in no time.  Just to freak myself out a bit more, 33 days is 792 hours, 47,520 minutes…wait this isn’t freaking me out so much.  47,520 minutes is a ton of time! Especially if I don’t think about all the other things that need to get done. Okay no problem.

Now, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with this post, or 31 days to preparing for my first craft show.  How cute is this:

this is from Silhouette’s facebook page, it’s available in early November.

I am going to make something similar to this, NOT till after the show though, I love it!

However I am going to be doing this next week

found this image through pinterest (of course), the link takes you to this fantastic blog, Crazy Domestic

Glittered Acorns! Love! I have always loved acorns and glitter (duh?) putting the two together, genius.

day 26: the friday tip~ old school transfers

It’s Friday, which used to make me jump with joy, but now it’s just another day…sad huh? Anyway, today I made a sign/banner for my booth and I am going to share with you what I did.

For my banner, I decided to use brown craft paper or mailing paper, I like the color, it’s easy to use and it’s cheap. You can use this method on paper, wood, or canvas, probably other things too, but this is what I have done in the past to very good outcomes.  Also, I am sure there are better ways, one is transfer paper, but I don’t like it.  The last time I used it, when I started painting it turned into a huge smeared mess.

notice little hand wanting to help mommy

What you will need:

  • roll of brown craft paper
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • tape
  • paint
  • paint brushes
  • plate
  • words printed out on computer

(If you have a kiddo like mine, set them up with paints and crafting paper too.  She likes to “work” with me and “help out.”  This makes life much easier).

Step One: For what ever your message is, print out the words using your computer in a font and size that will fit your project.

Step Two: Measure how long you want your banner to be out of the crafting paper.  I will be using this in my booth, so my banner is 8 feet long.

Step Three: Draw a horizontal line along the bottom of all the words.  This will help you keep the words straight when lining them up on your banner.  Make sure all the lines are the same distance from the word bottom (i.e. I left 1/4″ between word and line).

Step Four: Cut around the words, no need to be neat here just helps to have less paper

Step Five: Make the center of your banner and line up your words and mark this center also.  For me, Vintage Princess by M.E. measured 34″ so the center mark is 17″, which lands in the middle-ish of “Princess.”

Step Six: Old school transfer time- with a pencil, scribble on the backside of your words.  You should be able to see the words through the paper to know where to scribble.

Step Seven: Gently lay your “center” word aligned with the center of the banner into place, measure from top to the line you drew under the word, this is your reference for all other words.  Make sure the word is straight, and gently tape it down at the top.

Step Eight: Trace the outlines of all the letters, making sure to push hard with the pencil.  Peak to make sure it is working.  Repeat using your reference measurement for all the words.

Step Nine: Now that all the words are in place, it’s time to paint.  I seem to like to make things not as easy as they should be, so I mixed three colors of paint to get the right hue.  When painting, slow and steady wins the race, so patience!

Step Ten: When the paint is dry, mark the backside of your plate, using tape and pencil, the centerlines, (if your plate was a clock, mark 3 and 9).

Step Eleven: Mark down from the bottom of your banner where you would like the scallop to start (the point where two scallops meet), set plate onto mark, measure other side to make sure it’s straight, trace around half of plate.  Repeat by moving plate to left or right, measuring the one side that hasn’t been measured.

Step Twelve: Cut out and you are done!

 

Kiddo’s painting, it’s Mommy and Kennedy on the way to a wedding in a carriage with not enough jewels

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day 25: booth display~ signs, signs everywhere there’s signs

I must be a child of the 90’s because when ever I think of signs, I get the song “Signs” stuck in my head, actually I was in high school in the 90’s but anyway, signage in your booth is today topic.

Once a shopper holds an item, they are far more likely to buy it, therefore getting people into your booth is key.  This is where your booth design comes into play, but also as important are your signs.  Signs get shoppers to take notice and then interact with your products.  They convince shoppers to look more closely at your pieces and then buy them, and let’s face it, that is the main goal.

In the adverting world, signs are known as “silent salesmen.”  Signs send non-threatening, pressure-free messages to your customers. When signs are spot on, they will increase your sales.

So how do you make signs effective?

Appeal to the senses. Create a memory. Make shoppers see, touch, smell, or hear an object (in my world taste is not a sense that fits, but it might for you).  Plus, stating the obvious works well when trying to appeal to the senses.

“The softest blankets you will ever feel!” I bet you will want to touch the blanket to see if that’s true- ah you got a shopper not only in your booth, and to look up close to and touch your items, much more likely to sell that item. 🙂

Here is a list of “sensory” words that will attract attention:

  • Sight: dazzling, flashy, glittering, glowing, shimmering, twinkling
  • Sound: blare, cheer, roar, shriek, sizzle
  • Touch: cuddly, fluffy, softest, velvety
  • Smell: aromatic, fragrant, perfumed, spicy, sweet
  • Taste: delectable, gingery, refreshing, scrumptious, zesty

Funny thing, when working on the post, I searched and searched for images of signs that show what I am talking about and didn’t find much! I am sure they are out there, but I gave up.  Below are some images of signs that I find cute:

Cute way to display business name, clothes pins and glitter (memory and sparkles)
here the signs are constant in size and image
easy to see the prices here
cute diy way to make pricing signs, maybe another project to add to the to do list

As you can see, signage is important and adds one more thing to the to do list. For the Friday Tip this week I will be making a sign, I bet you can’t wait!

click here to read all 31 days

A great article about signs “Boost your sales with effective signs” which appeared in the October 2009 issue of The Crafts Report.

day 24: booth displays~ what to wear?

Yep, another day of “what should I wear today?” oye how I wish for a stylist some days. What you wear while selling you “stuff” is very important, and I am talking about it now, because in a way you are part of your booth space, in that you are representing your work and need to fit into your display.

Since I make children’s things out of vintage fabrics, I will need to wear something with that vintage vibe.  This is not my normal every day style, not sure I really have one anymore (mommy-hood does that to you, or at least me) although part of me has always wanted to be that rockabilly mama (giggling) this is not my style of the moment, unfortunately.  Happily I do have time to shop a bit before the show because at the moment my closet is pathetic.

A little list of what I think will be important when considering what to wear:

  1. No matter what, look happy! Even if you’re tired (probably will be), hungry, frustrated, or over it, fake it.  Happy vendor equals happy costumers.
  2. If you do make something that you can wear, wear it!
  3. Take into consideration where your show is, if you are selling at a country club or at a country fair, make sure you fit in.
  4. Comfortable shoes are a must! You will be on your feet for hours. Please remember that comfortable does not mean ugly! There are many, many cute, comfortable shoes out there.
  5. Layers would probably be a good idea; you never know how warm or cold it will be where you are selling.
  6. I think it is wise for the day of set up to wear a “set-up” outfit and then change into your “show” outfit.  You will get dirty and sweaty setting up, no one wants to be around that all day.
  7. Bring an extra outfit just incase you spill on yourself.  You don’t want to have a stain on yourself all day, you know how you feel with that coffee stain, “does everyone see that I can’t drink coffee correctly?” –probably.

All in all, I think it is must to be cute and comfortable.  Make sure you fit into the vibe of your booth and the location of the show.  If you have the basics, newer jeans, ironed shirt, non-pilled sweater, cute dress, hole less tights, cute shoes, “girls” are contained, hair is under control, make-up done, deodorant on, nails done, teeth brushed, and no stinky breath, then you will be good to go.

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day 23: booth display~ sketches

After many evenings of “pinning” ideas for booth displays, and way to many hours thinking about what my booth should actually look like, I finally had to put pen to paper and sketch (at a board meeting, but don’t tell).  Many renditions later, and here is what I came up with

(Please excuse the wonky-ness, it’s been awhile since I have had to sketch)

I have decided to use vintage screens and/or doors for my “walls” with a shelf that wraps around two sides and hanging rods for the clothes on the left side.  The bookcase/table is where I will set up the payment “center” for receiving payments and packaging purchases.  The scalloped pieces around the top and at the shelf, will be made our brown crafting paper, come back Friday to see how it’s done.  Overall, I think the booth is open, vintage, clean and hopefully cute.

Now, the next part, thrifting all the pieces… good thing I can start at my favorite place to shop, my mom’s studio.

click here to read all 31 days