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  • Kimberly Shetron

Let's Talk Craft Shows

It’s currently July and now is the time to start planning and prepping for shows.  I have always thought it ideal to use this slower time to prepare for the busy season.  


Where to start? 


When I was selecting shows I looked at traffic.  I wanted the biggest bang for my buck.  If I’m going to prepare for a show, spend money and also spend time away from my family I wanted to make sure it was going to be worth it.  I asked other vendors that had done the show in the past how the show was.  I checked with the show organizer to see the number of people that entered the venue during the last show.  A lot of the “good” shows you have to book ahead of time so pay attention to dates.  I did a show several times and we signed up 6 months ahead of time.  


Now that you have a booth rented for a show you need to think about what you will take.  A good rule of thumb is small, medium, and large. I always take small items, medium items, and large items.


For example, during Christmas shows, I take wooden ornaments.  These are $5 items and sell like hotcakes! Most people see $5 and impulse buy.  Plus who can resist these totally cute ornaments for $5? Next, I take a medium item.  This would be maybe a smaller sign, shirts, birdhouses, etc.  These are mid-range items priced $10-$20.  Then I have my more expensive items.  My specialty was door hangers.  These ranged from $30-$40.  These were the focal point of my show.  When you looked at my booth these items were front and center.  Occasionally, I would add something that was an extra-large item.  $50+sign.  

If you make door hangers or signs my suggestion would be to think about the seasons.  If you have a show in September I would suggest selling Fall.  Everyone is in the fall mindset.  People have a hard time thinking about Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in September so if you decide to take some of those items then I would just take a few of each season. I have found an exception with ornaments.  I sell them year-round. October/November shows I would do a few pumpkins but I would really focus on Christmas decorations and Christmas gifts. If you do a spring show then work on Easter, spring, and sometimes you can get away with patriotic items.


I’m going to focus on FALL SHOWS for a moment. 


I would take ornaments! Easy to prepare and easy money item.

I typically make a shirt to sell for the show.  This is just a filler item. 

For fall I do pumpkin shirts.  Sometimes I even bring in pumpkins to sell if allowed.  I use them as decorations but always put a price tag on them.  If they sell that’s great and if not, I use them at my house for decorating.  I don’t do simple orange pumpkins.  I use the fancy Cinderella pumpkins. 


Now if you order signs from me I would suggest

            •            Pumpkins welcome

            •           Happy fall y’all truck

            •           Circle truck happy fall

            •           Give thanks pumpkin

            •           Scarecrow happy fall

            •           Backview truck welcome

            •           Sunflower hello or welcome 

            •           Cotton pickin blessed

            •           Blessed cross

            •           Hello fall circle

            •           Slatted home

            •           Slatted hello

            •           Home sweet home circle

            •           Harry Potter

            •           In everything give thanks 


There are 15 suggestions.  I like to have 20-25 options for signs.  I usually take 5-10 of each depending on the size of the show.  Just remember, if you are doing a small show then scale it back to maybe 10-15 items with maybe a couple of each.  Remember generic.  You want signs with welcome, hello, and fall words.  I never take personalized items. I would then think of which signs are currently trending for you.  Then use those. 


Think about where you live.  Can you use the local sports team from area schools?  School mascot items? 


Now that you have your booth and your game plan for signs now you need to think about booth design. 


How are you going to present your items? I always to make sure the space flows well.  I most always buy two booths.  That way I can space my items out and there is plenty of walking room.  If you come upon a booth and it’s crowded you are most likely walking past.  With two booths it wouldn’t seem so crowded.  Another thing I like to use is lights.  It draws in customers if it’s nice and bright.  I’ll try to post a picture of our booth so you can get an idea.  


Last but certainly not least here are a few other things to consider:  


I try to put a sticker or a business card attached to my signs.  You want repeat business so I would suggest ordering business cards that double as a price tag.  I also buy address labels but make them in a way it has my business info.  I stick them to the back of my signs.  

Don’t forget the change! Make sure to bring a card reader.  Always take credit/debit.  Surprisingly, people don’t always bring cash to events.  


If you have to stay in a hotel make sure to book weeks before the event.  Depending on where the event is you may have limited lodging.   


That is all for today y'all! Thanks for taking the time to read our blog! Let us know if you have any questions

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