Mar
10th

TIP 5. MARKETING YOURSELF AT CRAFT FAIRS = MORE MONEY!

brochures2
Now when you arrive at your craft show, keen to start selling crafts there are some things that you can be forgiven for forgetting. You can easily forget cellotape, scissors, or your lunch box and flask. It’s annoying when this happens but not a catastrophe.

But, it is a bit of a disaster if you forget your craft marketing materials, these little items are very important. So I recommend you have a separate little box for these that you pack up at home, call it your ‘marketing box’. Then when you are ticking things off your packing list be sure to pack and tick off your ‘marketing box’!

So what are these craft marketing and promotion materials anyway, and why is so important that they are packed and used?

What are craft marketing materials?
Well in it’s simplest form it might be a pack or two of business cards with your contact details, email and website. That’s great! Or you might have a flyer printed up with some images of your crafts and a little story about what you make, how you make your crafts, how you got into crafting and your background etc. You might even have a price list with images of your stock crafts. For more advanced crafters you might have a little brochure or booklet showing off your wares. What you have is down to your budget and your experience. At the very least have business cards with your contact details and your website address if you have one. If you can give a few little details about your crafts too all the better.

Remember, half the purpose of attending craft shows is to get customers interested in your crafts. Sure you want to sell crafts on the day, but you also want to generate interest in your crafts and start seducing potential customers for the future. It is often said in marketing circles that you need to promote yourself at least 7 times to a potential customer before they make a purchase.

So, you want to promote yourself and your crafts as much as possible in as many different ways as possible. That is why craft marketing materials are so, so important. They provide vital promotion for you even when you are not present. They invite potential customers to think about you and act long after the craft fair has ended.

By far the best promotional tool is a website. I would strongly recommend that you put energy and effort into getting a website, then use your website address everywhere within your promotional materials, on your business cards, brochures, flyers, price labels, and so on. The more people see your web address the better.

So, if you try to think about the process of selling crafts as not just what you can sell on the day of a craft fair or craft show, but also what seeds you can plant for future crafts sales with the use of informative and compelling craft marketing materials.

And of course, as this series of articles is all about things you can do before a craft show, it goes without saying that the important thing to do is prepare your marketing materials before hand. You can write and prepare them yourself on a home PC and print them of on some nice card or paper. This is especially ok for a flyer or simple leaflet.brochures1

In fact I suggest that you do it this way for this simple reason. You need to keep adding to it and improving it as you go along. Your sales patter and marketing skills will improve quickly so you don’t want to be stuck with 5000 flyers that you now think are out of date and unsuitable. So if you write and print as you need them you can constantly update them and improve them as you learn and get better.

However, I do recommend that you have some cards printed up professionally. You will need a lot of them and it is very time consuming printing your own, plus they always smack of cheapness and lack professionalism. Get some nice cards designed and printed by a recommended supplier. The best plan is to pop onto your favourite craft forum and ask other crafters who they use.

If you start to market yourself and your crafts at each and every craft show you attend you will soon start to see results and selling crafts long after that craft show has ended.

Next time I will talk about the importance of packaging and how you should pack the craft items that you sell at craft fairs and shows.

This is part five of CRAFT SHOW SUCCESS  – PLANNING YOUR CRAFT FAIR “14 simple tasks for craft show success…that you can do at home before the show”

Oct
27th

How to increase Crafts Show sales in 2 seconds!!

Hi everyone, I want to talk about a simple technique that will give you fantastic results. It will increase the sales you make at your next craft fair.

As you are standing behind your craft show table on a wet winters day at your local craft show remember this solid gold tip.

SMILE!!

Smiling WILL increase your sales at every craft show. Full stop. It will.

Now I don’t have any hard and fast figures to give you or months of testing results to provide for you. I can’t really take the chance of doing one craft show smiling and the other frowning!! But think about this.

If you saw two stall holders selling exactly the same crafts, one is smiling, pleasant and fun and the other is not smiling and looks unhappy and fed up. Which would you walk towards? Which would you buy from? The answer is always the same, every time!! You go to the smiler!! You go towards the happy seller. Even if you do it subconscioulsy, without thinking about it, you gravitate towards the smiling craft stall holder. Why? It’s human nature.

My old business partner used to say that people will always prefer to buy from a friend rather than a stranger. You can trust a friend, you can accept a friends advice, you know they are honest and truthful. When you are smiling and being happy, naturally you look more friendly and are therefore considered to have more of the attributes of a friend than someone who isn’t smiling. So, inturn you appear that much more helpful and trustworthy and honest. And your sales will increase as a result! Every time!! It’s true, try it, it works!!

So, whilst you may have worked hard on your crafts table display, your leaflets and other marketing materials, don’t forget the most important element. You, and your smile. It will get you more sales than any other sales tool you could use!

Happy crafting.

Steve

Aug
31st

TIP 4. HAVE A GOOD SIZE CASH FLOAT AT YOUR CRAFTS SHOW

craft fair cashbox_2I can’t tell you how many shows I have been to and seen stall holders asking for change. It’s a basic requirement when doing craft shows or fairs to have crafts money in a secure cash box.

If you want to make money from crafts you’ll need to take a little money with you to your craft show. There is nothing more likely to stop you selling crafts at a show than having no change for your customers.

A great tip for getting a ‘free’ cash float
In my opinion you can’t have too much change. So take plenty of it to your craft show. Here’s a great tip to get a ‘free’ cash float on the day of the show.

All you have to do is save your loose change and coins inbetween shows. Personally I always save my loose change in a little cash box, the very one I take with mew to craft fairs.

Each day I pop the loose coins I have in my pocket onto the cash box. Over a few weeks, and especially in the winter months when you might not be doing many shows, the change really does add up. When you come to do your craft show you will be pleased to see that you already have a great little cash float that seems to have been gained for ‘free’. It’s a whole lot better than going into the bank on the way to the show and exchanging crisp bank notes for a bucket of change.

crafts show cash box_1Planning your cash float when pricing your craft products
Now you do know that the first customer of the day will buy a $1.45 item with a $20.00 note! This always happens! But a sale is a sale, right, so it’s very welcome! This is when you will see the crafter running around the fair asking everyone they can find for change of a $20!

Now there are two schools of thought about pricing your craft items and both need a different approach when it comes to filling your cash box.

1. Price items at rounded numbers.
There are lots of crafters who prefer to price their items at $1.00, $5.00, $10.00 etc.. By doing this you need to make sure you have lots of notes in your craft cash box. It does make life a lot easier, it saves you searching for loose change and it makes adding up orders much simpler!

2. Pricing your craft items below the dollar mark
There are equally lots of crafters who believe in pricing their craft products just below the dollar. $4.97 or $9.99 for example!

There is a lot of merit in this from a marketing point of view, which we will discuss another time. From a cash float point of view, if you go this pricing strategy, simply make sure you have lots of little value coins to provide change. Saving your change as suggested above is a great way to prepare for this as it will give you loads of loose change.

Organising your craft cash float isn’t rocket science but a little planning before the show will really help your run your craft show table smoothly.

Next time I will show you how to use your craft shows to generate sales even after the events have finished.

Steve

This is part four of CRAFT SHOW SUCCESS  – PLANNING YOUR CRAFT FAIR “14 simple tasks for craft show success…that you can do at home before the show”

Aug
23rd

TIP 3. HOW MUCH CRAFT STOCK DO YOU TAKE TO YOUR CRAFT FAIR?

It is always difficult to know how many craft products to take to your craft fair. There is no definitive answer to this, except, take as much as you can! Now that doesn’t mean packing absolutely every item of craft stock you own and having it piled up next to your craft table at the show. Here are a few tips to help you decide on the right amount of craft products to take.

Size of the crafts you are selling
A lot depends upon the size of your craft products. If you sell small jewellery you probably can take lots and lots of stock with no problems. You can probably even take all your stock quite easily.

However, if you sell larger pieces, for example wooden clocks you will be limited by space in your car or van. A good starting point is, after you have set up your craft table at home, take at least one of each item you want on your table. That’s your initial display sorted. Then work out roughly how many items you can fit in your car. Let’s say it was 50. If you have 10 styles of clock take 5 of each.

Take more stock of craft items you know sell best
The above example is an ok starting point if you have not sold items before. However, if you have any experience of selling your crafts in any way, via your website, on ebay, to friends then you will have an idea of which of your crafts are the most popular. Even if you haven’t sold any items yet, you probably have a good idea which crafts items your friends and family have said they like best.

So, take more stock of these items. Remember the goal is to sell your crafts at the craft show, you don’t care which ones. Any will do. The more shows you do the more you will get to know which items sell and which don’t. Drop the poor sellers and concentrate on the good sellers and stock up on them for each new craft fair you do.

Storage space at the craft show
A consideration that is sometimes overlooked when deciding how much stock to take to a show is the actual storage space at the show. For most craft fairs it will be the space under your craft table. Craft organisers don’t like to see your craft stock piled up next to your table or even behind it. They like the craft displays to be neat and tidy. So before you pile all your stock into your van remember to check the craft show rules on storage.

Also, you probably don’t want to leave stock in your car during the show. One, this is a security risk as your car may be broken in to but secondly you don’t want to be keeping a customer waiting whilst you find your way to the car park and struggle to pull out a craft item from your boot.

Be organised and ready to take orders
A good way to organise things in relation to stock is as follows. After you have tested your craft table display at home, keep all that stock separately packed. Then when you arrive at the show you can unload these and get set your craft display up in no time at all.

Decide on your stock level for each item and have them stored in order under your craft table for easy access. If you sell out of a particular item, that’s great! Be sure to stock more of them next time. The more craft shows you do the more you will learn about your best sellers and you adjust your stock accordingly.

Also, a great tip is to have a little folder with a photo of each item you sell, including any variations and bespoke commissions that you may have made in the past. That way if you have a customer interested in a particular item but they are after a variation you can show them work from the folder that may encourage them to place an order with you for a commission. This folder method allows you to have ‘virtual’ stock with you and can be a great tool for getting extra sales through future orders.

There is nothing better than experience to tell you how much stock and what type of stock to take with you to craft shows, but I hope the tips above have given you some pointers to get your started on the right path.

Next time I will look at the topic of what cash float you should take to the craft show.

Steve

This is part three of CRAFT SHOW SUCCESS – PLANNING YOUR CRAFT FAIR “14 simple tasks for craft show success…that you can do at home before the show”

Aug
14th

TIP 2. SET YOUR CRAFT PRICES RIGHT – AND USE TAGS TO INCREASE SALES

craft pricing imageSetting the right craft prices for your items
Pricing your crafts is always a difficult thing. There is a fine balance between good value and good profit margins. The most important thing to remember when pricing your crafts is to make sure you include ALL your costs. That means direct craft materials used, a percentage for consumables like glue, nails etc…, a percentage for all other costs like paper, marketing materials, print, electricity, phone and so on.

But most importantly you also need to include a cost for your labour. You absolutely MUST include this. It sounds obvious but I have seen this crucial element of costing missed out so many times.

So, be sure to include all your costs and then work out the profit margin you want. You can choose a flat percentage of say 50% or 100% and add that to all items, but I think this is not always ideal. Some items such as larger show pieces might be able to carry much larger percentage margins, whilst other smaller items might only take 20% or 30% margin.

The goal is to find that balance between good value and good profit margins. Try different pricing strategies at different shows and see what works best. Don’t just set your prices and leave them, tweak and amend them to best effect.

Use craft price tags to increase craft sales
The second area of pricing that I think is often overlooked is the use of price tags. I am always surprised how uninventive lots of crafters price tags are. Often they are hand scribbled tags.

Now, I am not saying they need to be glossy printed masterpieces but if you are a creative crafter I think you should get creative with your price tags. And not just to show of your creativity.

Even a little price tag is a chance for marketing, to help brand you crafts and add to the value. It seems like a little thing, and it is, but having nicely crafted price tags (and other marketing materials) really helps when creating an overall image and increasing sales.

I recommend having all your price tags (plus spares) made up and attached to your items before the day of the show. Plus I would include your website address on every price tag and leave it on the item for the customer to take with them after a purchase. Your aim is that they will visit your website after the show and make further purchases or subscribe to your mailing list and so on.

Next time I will look at the tricky task of working out how much stock to take to your craft fair.

Steve

This is part two of CRAFT SHOW SUCCESS – PLANNING YOUR CRAFT FAIR “14 simple tasks for craft show success…that you can do at home before the show”

Aug
10th

CRAFT SHOW SUCCESS TIP 1 – SET UP YOUR CRAFT SHOW TABLE AT HOME FIRST

This is the number one top tip that you must follow to make your craft fair table stand out from the crowd. At home long before the show, find a table, work surface or floor area the same size as your craft fair table and set up everything that you plan to use in your craft show display. The same applies if it is a craft show booth or market stall area.

The objective is to spend a little time and plan out your display and see exactly what you can (and can’t) fit on your craft show table. This really is the most useful planning you can do. When it comes to the show there is nothing more important than your table display, it is the first thing your customers will see and you can improve your chances of making craft sales massively by getting your display looking fantastic!

So take your time, set everything up well in advance and see how it is looking? You will easily see if you have too many items, too few, if the table is too cluttered or busy, or if you don’t have enought items to show. It’s a very simple but very effective process, just set it up and play with until you get it looking how you want it.

Once you have your craft show table fully set up and you are 100% happy that it looks fantastic and professional you have made a massive step forward to craft show success.

Next time I will provide a great tip to make maximum use of your craft show pricing.

Steve

This is part one of CRAFT SHOW SUCCESS – PLANNING YOUR CRAFT FAIR “14 simple tasks for craft show success…that you can do at home before the show” so let’s get stuck in…

Aug
4th

CRAFT SHOW SUCCESS – INTRODUCTION

If you have decided to go for it and become a craft show exhibitor there are lots of simple and effective things that you can do before the day of the show that will increase your success. And what is success? Making the most money from selling your crafts, yes, but also having fun and enjoying the experience.
In this series of 14 Blog posts I will provide you with some great tips for planning your craft show.

It takes a leap of faith to go from making your crafts at home for friends and family to actually ‘putting them out there’. It can be quite nerve racking but at the same time it’s a great feeling to see the efforts of your labour displayed beautifully and have people actually buying your crafts. So, if you are planning your first craft fair or if you are a regular exhibitor, well done, you’re already on your way!

It really does take some courage to show off your crafts at a craft show for the first time. Not only are you showing the world your efforts but you are asking people to put their hands in their pockets and hand over their money for your crafts. What will happen, will you fail miserably, will you bring home all your unsold crafts?

Don’t worry, if you plan properly, have patience and smile a lot, you will have craft show success!

There is a huge amount of information on the Internet about how to run craft show tables or booths. My aim here is to take a step back from all that. I want to step back to the point before your craft show, by doing a little planning you will save lots of time later and avoid potential problems on the day of the show.

This Craft Show Success Blog Series will provide fourteen simple tasks that you can do at home before the day of the show. If you follow these tips you will be ultra organised on the day which will reduce your stress and allow you to have more fun. And the more fun you have the more you will smile. And the more you smile the more you will sell!!

In the next post I will begin with the very best tip I have found for being successful at craft fairs.

Steve

CRAFT SHOW SUCCESS  – PLANNING YOUR CRAFT FAIR
“14 simple tasks for craft show success…that you can do at home before the show”