If you weave, eventually you will want to sell some of your work. A craft show is a good way to display your work and perhaps be recompensed for some of your endeavours. In deciding to take the next step of entering a craft show, one of the first things you will need to do, is choose which ones to enter. Perhaps your local guild has annual shows for members. Or your community may offer special craft shows during the Christmas or summer seasons.
Once you have selected a show to enter and have paid your admission fees, you will need to prepare all of your products and supplies. Allow yourself plenty of time to get ready, Not only will you have to weave and carefully finish your handwovens but you will have to take care of a lot of other details and paperwork. All of your handwoven articles will have to be properly labelled and priced. I have written previous articles about labelling your work, and pricing products.
When you receive confirmation of your booth, the organizers will let you know the booth size and if any tables or chairs will be provided. You will need this information to plan your display and shelving requirements. If tables are provided, it’s a good idea to have a few large tablecloths to cover the tables, as you don’t know what they will look like until you arrive.
A good looking display is important for selling your products. Purchase some shelving or have someone make some for you that is easily portable and can be adapted to fit a variety of floor layouts.
Ask the organizers if electrical power is available. You might want to have some special lighting to display your work. Make sure that you have plenty of brochures, price lists and business cards printed. Depending on the type of show that you are attending, many people don’t make actual purchases at your booth, but do take brochures and place orders at a later time. It would be disappointing to lose a potential customer because you have run out of promotional materials.
Check with your local government agencies to see if you need to register for provincial, federal or state tax licensing or if you require a business license to sell your work in a particular city. Keep accurate records. Take an inventory listing of all of your products as you are pricing them, so that you know exactly what stock you have on hand. Use a numbered coding system for each product, so that you can quickly write down the code on the invoice as it is sold. This will help you track what items sold. You can use this information for planning for future shows to determine which products were most popular.
Have plenty of invoice/sales books with you to record all the sales you are going to make. Take calculators, lots of pens, paper, scotch tape and other stationery supplies, as well as bags for packaging your customer sales. Your goods will need to be packaged in boxes that will be suitable for shipping and carrying to the booth. I use the large plastic tubs for many of my products as they are reusable and can be neatly stacked or packed away under tables. You might also have to purchase a car-top carrier, in order to fit all of your products.
Try to arrive at the show fairly early to set up your booth. Use this time before the actual show opens, to arrange an attractive display. Be prepared that you might have forgotten something and might have to take a quick trip to purchase additional supplies.
Hopefully, you will have brought along a friend that can help you at the show and allow you to take a few breaks as well. Bring along a water bottle with fresh water, to sip and refresh yourself during the quieter moments. Enjoy yourself and be proud of all your accomplishments and others will appreciate your work too. Good luck!
Craft Business Books
Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business
A step-by-step guide to everything from developing products and naming the company to writing a business plan, applying for licenses, and paying taxes. Chapters on sales, marketing, trade shows, and publicity round out the mix.
The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money: How to Think About It, How to Talk About it, How to Manage It
This book focuses on proven techniques and resources used by a wide range of successful creatives to manage their business finances.
Craft Artist’s Legal Guide, The: Protect Your Work, Save On Taxes, Maximize Profits
This guide explains how to:get a design patent or license a craft;price and sell material, online and off;select the right studio and deal with leases, noise restrictions and zoning laws; find and utilize free ways of promoting the business online;hire workers and sales reps;choose the right insurance;complete and file required business forms;protect copyright, patents and trade dress;save on taxes and preserve income.
The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line
For crafters who have more confidence running a sewing machine than setting up a Web site, The Handmade Marketplace breaks down and makes sense of the global possibilities for marketing and selling crafts.
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