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Marketing Your Homemade Crafts
So you have taken the initial steps and have your craft items finished. Now what? First, is there a market for the item you have made? Is this a unique item or are there already similar items out there? Do you have enough in inventory to set up a good display? Questions, questions and you have only just begun.
First, you need to decide where to market your crafts. You have several options. You could sell directly to friends and co-workers. However, how fast will this market dry up?
Second, you can set up a booth at a local craft show or bazaar. Alternatively, if your item is of top quality, you could approach local stores and ask if they buy items from local craftspeople or possibly on consignment. We are going to explore these last two options, plus other tips to make your crafts more desirable, such as display hints and pricing.
Bazaars and Shows
Whether you live by a small town, or in a large city, chances are that a church, organization or the local mall, has at least several shows a year. The first thing you need to do is get a listing of local shows. This can be done by calling the malls and churches, or if you know someone that already goes this route of selling their crafts, ask them. Most crafters are more than willing to share info of this kind.
Once you have the list, and have decided on a particular show to attend, the work has just begun. You will need to contact the source and make sure a space is available. What is the cost of the space and when does it need to be paid for? Do you need to provide a table or tables and chair or do they? Are displays or racks, if needed, provided, or again is this something you need to bring? Even if these items are available from the source giving the show, are they items you need, or does your craft require a specialized display? When you rent a space at a show, find out your area size and dimensions. Keep these in mind as you are designing your display. Question the lighting. Will you need additional light and will plug-ins be available?
Think in terms of visibility. Remember that you want to draw people to your table. If you can get them to stop and browse, this will increase your chance of a sale, and that is, after all, the idea. If you lay all your items flat on a table, many people will walk right on by. You need to get some items up and more visible. Small items could fill a nice basket and then secure one item to the front of the basket. Wire racks can be used, the sort sold for use in kitchens look nice and work well. Small boxes, in varying heights under the table covers make excellent upward displays. All the time you are working on this, think view. Ease of view to the customer and pleasing to the eye.
Once the basic setup is decided come table covers. An exception here would be if you are not using tables and have racks set up to hang all your items. Then think backdrops if needed. Covers or backdrops should somehow reflect what you are selling. Some suggestions include lace, muslin, burlap and flannel, even silk scarves. Your choices are as endless as the items you are selling.
Prices need to be clearly in view. Display should be kept neat and orderly. If an item sells, replace it if you have extra inventory left. Be attentive and friendly and lastly, have fun!
This is another option for many. When approaching a store the very first thing you need to remember is professionalism. They are a business and will demand you to be professional in your approach. Telephone ahead and make an appointment to meet with the storeowner or manager. Dress neatly. Do not show up with kids in tow. Be prepared with info and prices. Remember to think business!
Most stores will need the items prepackaged. Pricing is important. Remember the store needs to make a profit. You need to make a profit. Yet, the item still needs to be at a reasonable price. If all goes well, and the store wants to carry your items, they may offer to purchase outright. This is good for both sides. They do not have to keep track of what sells to reimburse you. You get your money right away. The other option may be that they will offer to carry the item on consignment. They sell the item for a set amount on top of what you are asking.
Either option is acceptable, but if selling consignment, a contract is advisable.
Things to be decided ahead will include markup price. How long a store will carry an item? When will payment be made? What happens if a product is damaged or stolen?
While listing this last, it is the most important thing. If you decide to market your crafts, you need to keep track of the cost in making them. How much do the supplies cost? This needs to be all supplies, even incidentals such as glue. The hardest part in figuring cost is time. How much time is involved and what is your time worth? Do not over exaggerate. Stopping to fill your childâ€™s Kool-Aid cup five times while gluing that last bit of lace in place can not be added to the cost. What price are similar items? You need to price competitively. Good luck!
So You Want to Do Craft Shows
- View this article online at Land of Odds www.landofodds.com/store/craftshows.htm
Plan Your Craft Show Booth
A good craft show display will draw customers into your craft show booth and then fade into the background to let your crafts take center stage.
Make a Big First Impression with Your Craft Show Display
If you make crafts that are small and difficult to see from a distance, hanging posters with large, attractive photos of your work at or slightly above eye level can draw customers in from a distance.
Using a striking color in your booth can have the same effect as long as it suits the style of your products and the expectations of your target market (see below). Be sure that the color fades into the background and does not overwhelm as customers come in closer to your booth to see your work.
Make a High Quality Impression
Many creative types, myself included, tend to want to extend our crafty skills to our craft show display construction. That's a great way to save money on constructing your booth but only if you can do a truly professional looking job.
If, for example, upholstery is not your thing, and you try to make an upholstered tray to use for displaying your crafts, it's not going to help your sales at all if the corners look wrinkled and uneven. Unprofessional looking displays make a big, negative impact on the way customers will view your work. They won't necessarily think it through consciously, but they will see your work as being less valuable and special than it really is and move on to the next booth.
If your craft show display is new, or you've substantially changed the booth since your last show, set everything up at least one week before your next show. That will give you enough time to fix any problems with the display.
Consider Your Space
A 10x10 space is typical for many craft shows, and a canopy can be a great tool for delineating your space and providing shelter. However, your booth size can vary. The more modular your craft show display is, the better. For example, a few smaller tables give you more flexible display options than a couple of large tables.
Think about traffic patterns. Be sure to leave enough space to allow customers to walk around freely. Will the back of your booth be exposed to customers? If the back of you booth will be open, consider the view from the back too and find a way to hide all of your extra supplies from view.
Enhance Your Work
A good craft show display fits with the image of your product and the expectations of your target market. A vibrant color in your display may do a great job to draw in a younger crowd. That's great if that's who your craft appeals to. It's not so great if your crafts have a more sophisticated appeal.
Color can also impact the way your crafts appeal to customers when they are up close. You may be tempted to buy a colored canopy because it is on sale, but keep in mind, that color is going to reflect into your craft show booth and impact the way your crafts appear to customers.
If customers are constantly commenting on your great display, you may want to rethink your display. It's great for customers to notice your display at a distance, but by the time they have reached your booth, you want them to notice your crafts and forget about your display.
Ensure Easy Set Up
A set up that is easy to load and unload will make your job much easier. The more streamlined you can make your craft show display setup, the better. Keep in mind that everything you bring to the craft show must fit in the vehicle that you will be driving to the show.
Consider multi-functional items. For example, for my own craft show booth display, I had several boxes custom made. They are just the right height to function as risers on my tables, but when I flip them over they are also exactly the right size to store the trays that I use to display and store my jewelry.
Assess Your Craft Show Booth
You can't effectively assess your booth if you are standing in the middle of your display. Take a walk and approach your booth from different directions. Does it look professional? Does it draw you in from all angles?
You might also try taking a photo of your booth, and instead of viewing the booth itself, take a look at the photo. Sometimes a photograph can give you a different perspective on your booth and help you to see aspects of your craft show booth that your could improve.
Building a Successful Craft Show Booth
If you attend craft shows as a vendor, youâ€™ve probably experienced this: people walk by your booth, take a peek inside, and then walk on. Even if you do your best to greet them and invite them to browse, they smile politely and keep moving. How frustrating! I know that Iâ€™ve been there myself. I know I have great products, if people would just take a moment to come in, I know I could make a sale!
There are a few basic principles that you can use to make your booth more appealing and attractive to those â€œbrowsers.â€ After all, once you get them in the booth, you can find out what they need and if you can meet that need. Plus, you have a chance to talk with them and make them feel welcome!
Craft show booths are notoriously small retail spaces that have a lot of competition. Even if there are no other crafters in your specialty, there are many other vendors who all want to attract buyers. You have about 2-4 seconds to attract a buyerâ€™s attention before they walk past your booth. Thatâ€™s a big demand in such a small time. The best way to do that is to create a single focal point item that will draw them in, or at least slow them down. This could be a featured item, or a large photo, or even a demonstration. Whatever best shows your products is what you want to choose.
Now, take that featured item and create some emotion around it. Show a photo of someone using or wearing it and having fun. Show the item as it could be used - with seasonal or even household items. Set this display in the front of your booth and put it at eye level, about five feet high. No one will want to look up or down to see your featured item. It has to grab their attention as they glance around the room.
Once you have their attention, itâ€™s important to keep it! You have to stop their glance from moving to the next booth. One great way to do this is with booth dividers. These are solid walls of color between your booth and the next one. If your craft show doesnâ€™t have dividers between the booths, make your own. Itâ€™s easy to do with some PVC pipe and rod-pocket curtains. At a minimum, make one for the back of your booth. Use a solid color that complements your products or uses the colors from your logo. Hang your sign on this divider and maybe some large photos of your products or you making them. If your focal point display doesnâ€™t catch their attention, large photos are a great way to show what you do.
OK, so now you have piqued their attention. What next? Chances are, they will have made eye contact with you. Invite them into the booth by asking them if they are looking for anything special. If they are, great! Point them in the right direction. If not, then ask if they have ever seen something like your focal point item before. Whatever you can do to keep their attention on you! Show them your favorite item, or the most popular item. Whatever you do, donâ€™t just ask them to take a look around. Point them to something specific. If you are general and vague, they will keep browsing. If you are specific, they can see your handwork and expertise in products they might not have considered.
Iâ€™d like to add a word about booth layouts. Most booths are 10?x10?. This is pretty small, and crafters with many products are tempted to lay them all out and crowd in as many different things as they can. Iâ€™d really encourage you to not do that. Show a few products in a grouping and then leave some space. Show another grouping, then leave some space. Your mind will remember things if there is a gap between items. If you have piles and racks of items, the browser will keep on looking. Keep some items in storage under the table or in the back of the booth so you can meet a variety of needs.
Once your â€œbrowserâ€ has decided to become a â€œbuyer,â€ then itâ€™s time to make sure they have everything they need. Point out another item you have in a similar color or style. Identify any accessories that go along with their selection. Ask them if you can contact them to follow up and see how they like it. Get a way to contact them and then you can let them know when you have new products, a new idea, or are going to be at another show. Your existing customers are more likely to buy from you again!
If, after all your efforts, the person keeps walking, try to ask them why they are leaving. Say, â€œIs there something I can do to help you find something today?â€ This makes you sound helpful and opens the door to talking about your product. When they respond, you can answer their question (if you know the answer) and then say, â€œIs there something about my products that I could do better?â€ This gives them a chance to be helpful back to you! Everyone likes to help. This will give you valuable marketing information for future events.
One last bit of advice. Find someone who can sit in your booth for a moment while you walk around the show. Notice which booths catch your attention and make a mental note as to why. Notice which ones are busy and see if they have an idea you can adapt to your own display. Most of all, make contacts with your fellow crafters. Weâ€™re all in the business of creating, and itâ€™s nice to know there are others who share your passion and zeal!
Article by: Lisa Akers is a craft show marketer and a knitting instructor. She knits to bring a sense of inner peace and stillness to her life, and encourages her knitting and crochet students to do the same - even while knitting socks. Lifeâ€™s too short to wear bad socks! Visit her website atBeStillandKnit and sign up for her newsletter to find out how handwork can improve all aspects of your life!
How to set up a profitable craft booth!
In the hustle and bustle of getting ready for a craft show, invariably the one area that usually sees the least amount of effort is the craft show booth. Come on, admit it you haven't really given much thought to how you are going to arrange your crafts and design the booth so that it is easy and appealing for customers to come in.
But, when we equate traffic with potential profit at a craft show, it is very easy to see that an increase in traffic will most likely come to a booth that has appeal to it. And once you get the buyers in, your booth needs to make them want to buy.
Here are 5 things you need to do to your craft show booth:
Clean it - Many people are turned off by clutter and disorganization. In fact, they would probably take one look at a dirty and disorganized craft show booth and form an opinion on the craft itself. It probably won't be a good one, either.
Access to crafts - Humans are sensory beings; if you have potpourri, it needs to be sniffed. If you have a pot holder, people need to be able to touch it and inspect it. Appealing to more than just the sense of sight is a great way to help make a sale. Encourage craft show goers to handle your crafts with care!
Good flow - Create a pattern for people to enter and exit the craft show booth - a path that takes them by all of the major items and provides space for congregation among popular crafts in your booth. The flow should be easy and free, and of course it should end up with them passing by the till, where hopefully they have made a purchase.
Price and merchandise - This is a two-part tip: first, you need to make sure that the price is available for the customers to see. It should be on a tag that is on the craft, or it should be on a sign around or above the crafts. Never make people guess -and often (unless they MUST have the item) they won't ask. They'll just walk by. Second - when laying out the merchandise, tease the people walking through. Show a crocheted hat on top of a "head", or get those fake birds to demonstrate how they eat from your wooden birdfeeder. Merchandising is all about putting a product it is natural environment and when people can imagine it there they have an easier time imagining the craft in their home.
Make check-out easy. If you have to have two tills working, automated debit card and credit card machines, then you should do it. If sales are being turned away because people are waiting to pay, then you are losing money. If you expect a lot of business at a craft show, make sure you are prepared to handle the glut of sales you can make. There is nothing worse than watching person after person pick up your craft, see the lineup for the till, and then put the craft back down and walk out of the booth.
Craft show booth creation is time and energy well spent. You can increase your profit by making your booth more appealing, more convenient, and even more efficient for a buyer. You don't want customers to walk away and get their craft from the next booth just because it is cleaner and the crafts are easier the access. Think of the customers first, and you can't possibly go wrong!