If you are preparing for a craft show, the biggest piece of advice I can offer you is to create a checklist. It happens to the best of us at some point in our careers- you arrive early, set everything up just as intended, and somewhere in the middle of the show, you realize that you missed a crucial step. Whether it was forgetting to bring a certain inventory item, neglecting to bring change for your customers, or leaving the lights you need for your table at home, a single missed step can turn away customers and cost you multiple sales. A simple checklist is all that it takes to help prevent such events from occurring.
While your checklist may vary from mine, this is a great example of what my checklist looks like before a show.
* Find out what is included in the cost of a booth. Tables, lighting, etc. This is crucial information and should always be understood well in advance in order for you to secure any items you need.
* Make sure that you have more inventory than you need. Figure out what you plan to sell and bring about ten to twenty percent more than that.
* Make certain that you have enough bags and boxes. If your items are fragile, bring plenty of tissue paper or newspaper to wrap them. Consider bags that are not transparent, as many customers buy items as gifts.
* Bring a price list. Even if you know the price of your items by heart, your hope is to have enough customers that you will not always be able to answer immediate questions. Some customers will not ask the price of an item if they cannot see it displayed. Keep your prices visible, it can greatly improve sales.
* Bring networking and marketing items. If you have business cards, you will certainly want to bring them, but consider creating a form for a mailing list as well. Collecting email addresses from customers who choose to share them will help you advertise for future shows and is free.
* Bring a receipt book and a ledger. Many customers want receipts for their items, and you need to keep track of sales. Keeping an organized ledger that tracks sales by specific item can help you keep track of what is selling and can help you monitor for shoplifting and other concerns as well.
* Bring a well stocked cash box. Pick up more change than you anticipate yourself needing. Those extra rolls of quarters can be converted to cash if you don’t use them, but running out of change is one of the quickest ways to lose a sale.
* Bring entertainment. No matter how successful a show is, there are likely to be periods where business is slow. A radio, a book of crossword puzzles, or a magazine can provide great entertainment without distracting you from customers.
While these are not the only things that you will likely want to remember, this is a list of the steps that are most crucial for my shows. Always keep a checklist handy before each show. By taking care of the basics, you can make your craft show more successful.
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