Holding Your Spring Craft Show
Holding Your Spring Craft Show
Home shows, kitchen parties, (a Maritime term) craft markets and mall
shows - whatever you choose to call it. This is an event you yourself
create if you wish to sell your handcrafted work.
It is a lot of work, but it can be fun at the same time. With some forethought and careful planning, you can turn a profit as well.
SELLING SPACEYour first thought should be, where will I hold this event. Secondly, do I do this alone as a one-woman show or will there be a group. If there is more than one person, then obviously your choice of space will reflect that. You will also need more organisation. Ample lighting is so very important. Bright, but not blinding lights add to the exciting atmosphere you want. All electrical cords should be out of sight, or at least anchored down with very wide tape so there is no chance of an accident.
Cleanliness is also very important. It will reflect on you and your products.
Be sure you have a good traffic flow area, so people can wander in and not have to fight their way back out.
ADVERTISINGAdvertising is crucial to a successful show. If you can afford it, place an ad in your local newspaper letting everybody know when and where you are holding your show. Give them lots of notice so they can plan on attending, but not so much notice that they forget about it.
One hint, don't hold your show on a long weekend. Everyone wants to go away and you might be disappointed with your turnout. Put up signs on local bulletin boards, in grocery stores and distribute flyers around your neighbourhood. Word of mouth is great, blab your face off to anyone and everyone so they know what you're doing. The post office, beauty salon, corner store, they are all great places to advertise.
PRODUCTWhether you have quilts, art, candles or woodworking, whatever, make it as perfect as you can. Be sure everything is well finished with no loose ends, rough spots or other poor workmanship. You know what you are capable of, give it your all. Colours should co-ordinate and every piece should be consistent in quality and appearance.
DISPLAYDo not just pile everything on your table and hope for the best. Crowded racks also put people off. They can't look at anything without it falling or disrupting something else. Be sure everything has enough space. Price tags should be large and easily read. Do not use stickers. They can leave a residue and people have been known to switch them from one thing to another.
TABLEIf you have a table, make sure it is skirted in attractive fabric in the front and the two sides. The top should also be covered. All your extra inventory can be hidden under the table.
PRICINGThis is always controversial. Go out and see what others are charging for similar work. Make sure you have this information well in advance of your show. If the area you live in is blue collar, high prices can be out of their reach. That's when you should be looking into shows in a larger metropolitan area. If you prefer to sell in your own community, your price may have to be adjusted.
ORDERSIf you are willing to take special orders, be sure you have a sign stating that. Keep a small order book with a pen handy to jot down names and phone numbers along with their request. Always, but always get a deposit. At least 50% in my humble opinion. That way, your materials are paid for, should they not show up for the finished product.
PAYMENTCash is awesome, always has been. Be careful of personal cheques unless you know the person. Usually people who attend such shows are local and can be notified if there is any problem. Be very sure their current phone number and address is on the cheque. Take the time to make sure you have this vital information. Have a small cash box for your money. This has to be hidden away - not in plain sight. I made myself an apron with several pockets for bills and cheques. That way, I always had my money with me. Change too.
TRICKS OF THE TRADEHave small items made up to compliment your larger ones. When I designed children's wear, an outfit with a co-ordinating hat always sold twice as fast as the outfit on its own. If you have made a wallhanging suitable for a kitchen, make up some oven mitts or placemats to co-ordinate and display it nearby.
A lot of the people who will stop by are crafters themselves. Make up small things they can use. For example, aprons, pin cushions or maybe stationary. You would be very surprised how many pick up these little small items.
FOLLOW UPThis is a very important step in having a successful show. Take down all the names and phone numbers of those who attended and expressed an interest in your work. They may be looking for gifts for others. Find out what their preferences are. This is the beginning of a database of customers and you will be building on it continually. If you have calling cards, make sure they have one.
ONE FINAL WORDA certain percentage of the people who come to your show are just curious. (Like those other crafters I just mentioned) They want to see what you are capable of and what their competition is shaping up like. They are interested in the calibre of your work and the prices. These people usually have no intention of buying.
This can be a bitter pill to swallow, all those people and no sales. This is a fact of life and it happens. Don't let it get you down, we have all been through this. Just keep on improving yourself. Learn everything you can about your craft, I know I love to talk to someone who really knows their sewing. It also lets them know you are serious about your work. Success will come, slowly but surely. Anything worthwhile is worth waiting for.
About the Author: Mary Wilkins has been sewing for
thirty years and loves sharing tips and projects with others!
You can visit her at Sew-What's-New.com.
She also has a free sewing & quilting newsletter.