17. Take a Friend

10422243_10152433967932557_2797242495310240705_nTip #17. Take a friend or a WILLING spouse. The latter being very important. We have seen many instances where the spouse or significant other was, really, less than willing to participate in the setting up, tearing down and certainly sales. They showed up out of obligation and with a bad attitude to boot.

When someone arrives with you that is less than willing to help out, (especially with sales) you would be better off showing up alone and asking for assistance (bathroom breaks) etc. from your neighbors. Some shows even offer booth sitters, though we have never used them.

A bad attitude sets the mood for your show and everyone around you. Fighting and arguing is not a way to start or end the day, and it drains the energy from your space. Everyone around you can feel it.

A friend though… well, it’s always good to have someone that believes in you and your work to tag along. Offer them either cash or maybe even barter. Know in advance what you are willing to pay for their help. And be appreciative.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #16 here

16. Have Staying Power

DM CandlesTip #16 Have staying power. In other words, don’t quit.

If you are going to do this, then do it. It may take some time to find your sweet spot, but if you enjoy the environment, you’re good with setting up and tearing down (often times both in the same day) and don’t mind the travel, then go for it! But be willing to stick it out. Don’t quit your day job until you KNOW this “is it.”

We have seen many people come and go in this biz since we started. What was the one thing that has set us apart? We made a decision and set a goal. We didn’t give up.

We didn’t quit when we had a bad show, when we got a complaint, when we had a bad day, when we didn’t feel like leaving for the weekend etc., I could go on and on. The fact is it’s no different than you life everyday; it’s a commitment.

We were told in the beginning to give a show an average of three times before you know if it’s a good fit. Why three? Because there are so many variables: weather, booth placement, holidays, etc.

So let’s say on year one you had bad placement (in your opinion), so you asked to be moved for the next year. The second year the weather is unseasonably HOT and no one is buying much, sales are still low. The third ear you give it another try, because this isn’t “normal”. This time you are in your “new” spot, and the weather is beautiful; how’d you do? If after three tries your sales are still low, then it’s probably time to say goodbye; it’s not your ideal show. We like the three year average for a show.

Don’t give up and quit after one or two “failed” attempts. You wouldn’t do that with your 9 to 5, I’m sure. If you want to get your art into the world, just keep trying. Decide from the beginning how many attempts you will make, how much money you can put into it and set a goal. Make sure that it feels good and it’s something your really passionate about, or it will never work.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #15 here

15. Be Flexible

imageTip #15 Be flexible. Chances are your booth setup will vary from show to show. Don’t get stuck by only having one option. Move things around and find a flow. Be prepared to make changes.

Not all spaces are created equal. Especially when you’re moving from outside to inside shows. The flow of traffic, the actual space, your neighbors, all kinds of things can require, or at least make you consider, changing things around.

Sometimes we have a little overflow space, sometimes we are asked to fill empty space, sometimes we are used to a little overflow and then have NONE. The point is, it is rarely the same week after week.

Some promoters give you extra room that you don’t know about. For example: if you buy a 10×10 space you could get there and find that they have given everyone an extra foot or two, just as a precaution. This is really nice when it happens, but you want to be ready for that. We like use all of the space that is allowed. We usually need it.

So have extra tables, and or whatever you use for displays at the ready.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #14 here

14. Put your book AND phone away!

IMG_026114. Put your book AND phone away! Just do it.

I really don ‘t think this needs much explantation or elaboration. When a customer walks into your booth they do not want to feel like they’re disturbing you. If you’re on your phone or reading, then you give the appearance of being “too busy” to be bothered.

I have witnessed a vendor (more than once) sitting in FRONT of her booth reading a book while her husband sat across from her with his arms folded across his chest (looking like security). It was so off-putting, I would go so far as to say intimidating, that even I didn’t want to enter their store, let alone a “customer”. If this is how you plan to be in your space, then don’t have high expectation of sales. It’s not likely that you will “kill it!”

I know there are lulls and times when your booth is empty. If you are going to get on your phone during these times, then be sure to not be so distracted that you aren’t noticing customers. When someone does walk into your booth put everything down and give them your full attention. Folks still want to be greeted when they walk in.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #13 here

13. Ask For Help When You Need It

556354_10200499818926585_503632777_nTip #13 Ask for help when you need it. Your neighbors and fellow vendors are usually more than happy to lend a hand, a lightbulb, an extension cord, or even themselves… Just ask.

When you first get started in this business it can feel very intimidating; everyone around you seems to know what they’re doing, and you feel like the “amateur” that you are. But remember, we all started in the same exact place. No one has it all figured out, and never will.

You will forget things or need a bathroom break, especially if you’re by yourself.  And the thing is, those neighbors and fellow vendors, will become your second family. It’s one of the best things about this business. The friendships and community you develop and build along the way are priceless.

When you need help…just ask. 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #12 here

12. Don’t Be Afraid to Pay Expensive Booth Fees

IMG_0621Tip #12. Don’t be afraid to pay expensive booth fees. You often get what you pay for. This is where networking will come in. Talk to other vendors to find out how many times they’ve done a show. That’s a good indicator of whether or not it’s worth trying out.

Prices are ALL over the place in regards to booth fees. Some are very inexpensive (we do one that is as little as $35 for one day), while others are more on the pricey side (some upwards of 800+). Keeping your booth to one space will of course knock the price down, and so will sharing booth rent if you have a partner or someone you will be sharing space with. However, if you do plan to share, make sure that ALL of your inventory is represented in the application.

 

You will find when talking to other vendors (not just one!) what shows are worth paying the premium prices for, and which ones aren’t. Follow your intuition here. You can always try it…you’ll never know unless you try.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #11 here

11. Always Have a Stocked Booth

booth display1Tip #11 Always have a stocked booth. Customers don’t want to come in (especially if they are paying to get in) and see empty space; go prepared to sell. If you don’t have enough inventory, and it only looks like leftovers from the last show, customers will pass you by.

The best way we have found to do this is to decide on a number that sounds achievable based on  what  other vendors,  and your research (as far as crowd expectation etc.). It doesn’t mean you’ll nail it right away- you could go way over in sales or way under, but you will eventually figure it out. And then make a decision on how much inventory you need to have on hand.Also, how will your booth be setup? Will you be setting out inventory or will you have only one of each item on display? That will make a difference.

In order to make your booth look good, not “sold out” you will want to have enough to restock. If you have a really great start to a three day show, you wouldn’t want to “look” sold out on the first night. Some promoters, in fact, will not invite you back if you sellout on the first night or even the second of a three day show. They want you to come prepared to sell and for shoppers to not be disappointed. Imagine what a show would look like on a Sunday if everyone sold out on Friday.

And yes, you do want to have a fantastic show, and you do want to sell out; you don’t want to cart out what you carted in.  Finding the balance is key; a way to make your booth still look good as you are selling out. We always have extra props with us and are ready to rearrange things to fill it up the empty space. When you have a double booth (generally 10×20) you will have to work even harder at this. A 10×10 space has served us well!

So be prepared to rearrange product and props to make your booth appear full, even when it’s not. The object after all is to make money. Again…you do WANT to sell out, you just don’t want it to look that way until the end of the show.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #10 here

10. Allow Plenty of Time

image10. Allow plenty of time for setup and tear down. The process will unfold in a calm, stress free way when you don’t get in a hurry. We always try and stay out of the way of those that are rushing around and scrambling to get in or out. It’s just not worth it. And when you see all of those that ARE in a hurry, you can relax and smile, knowing that you were prepared.

Know your setup and how long it will take, and then pad it. We always try to arrive when the doors or the street open. It “generally” allows us time to be thorough and allows for any mishaps we may have.

Sometimes getting out in a hurry is necessary. There were plenty of times in past years, when we were traveling with our kids. Getting them back on Sunday night to get up for school on Monday wasn’t an option. Now, we can relax and pack down in a way that feels less hurried. It also makes setup the next week a LOT easier because you packed everything away just the way you should have.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #9 here

9. Be Courteous

IMG_81829. Be courteous. This one’s pretty simple, right? Have common courtesy to your fellow vendors. Don’t park in front of someone else’s trailer because “you” are in a hurry, don’t park in handicap spots, because “you” are in a hurry. Do NOT park in customer parking because “you” need to. Park where you’re asked to park and be kind.

Parking is only one example of being courteous. I could go on and on as I’m sure you know. Bottom line…we all learned the Golden Rule as children…it’s just that simple.

So think before you do,  and if you wouldn’t want someone to do it to you, then don’t do it to them. Remember: lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on mine (or anyone else’s.) Just stop and take a breath.

Yep…whatever’s good for your soul…do that.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #8 here

 

8. Follow the Rules

booth display18. Follow the rules. Period. And look for promoters that enforce them. It’s always dis-heartening to show up, follow the rules and do what’s asked only to have neighbors and fellow vendors breaking them.

I’m not going to pretend that we’re perfect; far from it. But we do try to adhere to the rules at a show. They may get “bent” a bit from time-to-time, but never blatantly disregarded. For example, we never break a booth down early (never), but we do get the little stuff out of the way that won’t affect last minute sales.

Following the rules makes a better show for everyone, vendors and customers alike. Park where your supposed to park, don’t close your booth early, show up regardless of weather, tear your booth down completely, before driving in, etc. If you need clarity, ask.

There are shows we do that are a real pain to load in and out of; we prepare ahead of time, knowing this. Reading through all of the paperwork and knowing what’s expected will make your experience go much smoother.

Having a good promoter that will enforce the rules is always a bonus. We’ve been to shows where vendors were made to pack up their booth in the middle of a show for breaking rules. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Don’t be one of them!

This picture is a perfect example: At this show everyone was instructed to pull off onto the right side of the road wile unloading AND loading, leaving a passing lane open. As you can see from the picture, that did not happen. (Ideally there would have been someone there to make sure that it did happen the way it was supposed to.)

At this show, everyone was instructed to load and unload on the right, leaving a passing lane open so EVERYONE can get through.

Remember: be kind and courteous to all of your neighbors, and they’ll be nice to you.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! (pssst..you CAN do it!)

hugs,

Marie

read tip #7 here

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