Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tasha's Craft Show Survey Answers

Here are my answers to Mymy's Craft Show Survey:

+ why do you sell at craft shows vs. other selling venues?

Selling at Craft Shows allows me to sell lots at one time and I like getting direct feedback from customers/potential customers.

+ how do you decide what shows to do?

I look for shows where my work will be a good fit and that either a reasonable driving distance from home or are in a town where I have friends :)

+ what makes a show a "good show"?

A 'good show' is one where:

- the other vendors are showing high quality handmade work

- the attendees show respect & appreciation for you & your work (as in, you don't get a ton a really offensive/stupid comments or questions about your work and/or your career choice)

- A good show is well-run and the organizers are friendly & helpful

- I take home a reasonable profit (as in, I *make* money far above & beyond covering my expenses - I like to make a profit of at least 10 times the booth fee)

+ for juried shows, how do you know what photos to send?

Indie Shows differ from Fine Art and Craft Shows on this point - the images that get you into a Fine Art and Craft Show can keep you out of an Indie Show in some cases - I send images that represent all the different types of crafts I make & sell (pottery, jewelry and handmade buttons) but I choose an image of each type of work in the same color scheme so the images still look related to each other.

Here's a link to more of my advice on Images for Juried Shows.

+ what preparations go into planning for selling at a craft show?

- I plan way ahead of time to make sure I will have enough inventory for a show.
- I make travel arrangements ahead of time
- I try to keep my show supplies and equipment well-organized so packing takes less time

+ do you have a check-list of items to bring? if so, what is on it?

I do have a checklist (but it tends to be more in my head these days because I do so many shows in row)

Things You Need to Bring to a Craft Show:

* enough of you artwork or craft work to fill a booth (or table at Indie Shows and Flea Markets)
* a tent, stakes and/or weights (outdoor shows only)
* display equipment (shelves, tables, table covers, hanging system for 2-D work, jewelry display items, mirror, etc)
* business cards
* signage (some shows provide signs with your name, booth numbers, etc)
* packaging materials (bags, paper or bubble wrap, tape,boxes, etc)
* change ($1's, $5's, $10's, $20's and coinage)
* sales tax permit (some shows provide a temporary permit for vendors)
* ability to accept credit cards (optional)
* drinking water and food (or buy festival food - I do like festival food on occasion)
* baby wipes (you get dirty at shows)
* glass cleaner (your work gets dirty at shows)
* a vehicle big enough to fit all your show stuff in (I fit all my pottery stuff in a Subaru wagon)
* a hand cart (some shows let you drive up to your booth, others don't or are inside)

+ how much money do you bring for change? what do you keep your money in at shows?

I bring at least $50 for change in mostly $1's and $5's and I keep it in my lucky wooden cigar box, but I used to use a small file folder (coupon organizer) that fit in my apron.

+ do you accept credit cards? why? why not?

I do accept credit cards because so many people use a debit card or credit card with a 'rewards program' these days - not too many people carry cash or a check book anymore.

+ do you accept checks? why? why not?

I do accept checks, but am careful to check identification.

+ what about charging tax?

I always check what the local sales tax rate is and make sure I am set up to collect it - I really love show organizers that provide a temporary permit for vendors because if you are from out-of-state the process can be a lot of paper work . . .

+ if a crafter has a wide price range of items is it smart to bring them all? or stick to a certain price point? why/why not?

I bring a wide range of price points to my shows especially new shows because you never know what will sell. I almost always bring too much work.

+ do you price each item or have a price list on hand?

I price each item because almost all of my work is one-of-a-kind.

+ do personalized items sell at craft shows? (do you ever take orders & then send the item to the customer afterwards?)

I do take orders at shows for items I will custom make later and ship to the customer.

+ what do you use for a table cover? sign?

-I use differ fabrics for table cover - depending on the show - sometimes plan black and sometimes a fun retro print.

-I have my own sign with my name and logo on it.

+ how do you display your items?

I have shelves & table-top pedestals for my pottery, earring & necklace racks for my jewelry and small flip-bins for my handmade buttons on cards.

+ do you bring bags/packing supplies for customers?

I reuse paper grocery bags & newspaper for my pottery, pretty gift boxes & little paper bags for my jewelry.

+ how do you transport your items to & from the show?

In my station wagon in big 'Rubbermaid' containers.

+ do you need a business license to do a craft show? what about a permit?

In most cases a 'Resale Permit' to collect sales tax is all that is necessary, but I always check to make sure nothing else is required.

+ any other advice/ideas?

Get to the show on time especially if it is your first show - don't show up 30 minutes before it starts. You will not be ready when customers arrive and will annoy your neighbors.


shannon said...

how is it that you are able to process credit cards? i've heard about wireless processing, but it seems impractical to get a merchant account if all you do is craft fair shows. is it something that the operators provide? or do you bring a laptop with paypal or something?

Tasha McKelvey said...

You can process credit cards remotely with a cell phone.

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