Thursday, July 24, 2008

Craft Show Tips from Crafty Texas Girls



I was so happy to hear from Samantha and Jennifer this week to share their business: Crafty Texas Girls. I visited their website/blog and wondered if these crafty moms could share some tips from their recent craft shows. Lucky for me, Samantha is a GREAT writer and quickly replied with this fantastic article for Polka Dot Mom (I hope you enjoy!):

Adventures on the Craft Fair Circuit
by Samantha Conner of Crafty Texas Girls

After talking for months about how we could make this and that, and that people would actually buy it, we decided it was time to take action. Jennifer and I were the kind of girls who walked in a high-end boutique and examined the stitching on the dresses or the trim on the wall-art. We always muttered under our breath, "Oh we could so make that!". So we got to work. As soon as our daughters went down for nap, we began sewing and hot-gluing. With a small closet full of inventory, we signed up for our first official Craft Fair. Our city hosts a small open air market each Saturday. And for $10, we rented a 8x10 space under a big oak tree. That day, we spent 6 hours learning the ropes.


Since then, we have gone on to sell direct to boutiques as well as participate in festivals with more than 30,000 people in attendance.


But no matter the size of the crowd or the cost of the booth rental, these rules apply. Live and learn!


Rule 1: It's A Craft Show


You are selling items off a card table, so be realistic. There are going to be a lot of people who are just out looking. Some people may just stop by the see what's out there. Some people may be there to buy.


You can never tell. So be kind to everyone, but don't take it personally if they don't buy. The main objective is to have fun and see what sells. Showing off what you have made and getting to meet new people is what it is all about!


Rule 2: Grab their Attention and Give 'Em A Freebie


Display your most eye-catching items up front or on the outside of your tent. You want people to notice you immediately, and to make a bee-line for your table. We always hang our brightest, girlie items on the front of our tent. It attracts moms, kids and grandmas! Then once your customers have arrived, make them feel at home by having a bowl of candy, popcorn or homemade fans available next to your stack of business cards. That way everybody leaves your tent with something in hand.


Rule 3: Come Prepared


Make sure to have lots of change in small bills, pens, a receipt book, and lots of business cards. Make sure you are well supplied with food and drinks too, you may not have a chance for more than a bathroom break. Have all of your items clearly priced, some people are hesitant to ask about pricing. Hang signs that explain what you are selling and what it costs. We have had many people look at our tutus and say "What are these?" Even if it seems obvious to you, it may not to them!


Display your items in the way that they will be used. If it is a bowholder, put bows on it. Be available to answer questions and be prepared to play 'salesman'. Don't be pushy, but know that you are going to have to talk to your customer. A bright smile and an outgoing personality can equal some good sales!




Rule 4: Don't Get Discouraged


One show you may sell out of all your items and the next week you may only sell two things. Don't give up. It's like the weather, it can change unexpectedly and sometimes without any rhyme or reason. The best way to make money is to keep at it. Reflect on shows that were unsuccessful and those that were a hit. What was the difference? It could be the customer was older or younger, had more money or less money to spend. Find who is buying your items and be at those shows.


Other Random Bits of Helpful Information:


  • Have friends and family come visit you. Even if they don't buy, it creates a 'buzz' at your table. Other people will come over to see what everyone is looking at.

  • Get a partner. Sometimes it's easier to talk up someone else's products than your own. Brag about each other's items. Plus you can split the costs that way.

  • Look for shows in advance. Many fair have deadlines months ahead of time, plan accordingly. The holiday season is a great time to sell.

  • The Ten Dollar Limit: Some people are only willing to part with a few bucks. Have items at a variety of price points.

  • Create a Store: Even if you only have a little table, make it warm and inviting. Cute displays, like table cloths and baskets, go a long way.

  • Remember you are an artist. Your craft may be fashioned out of glue and pom-poms. But this is your art, be proud of it. Maybe others could make it, but they didn't and they don't have a table at this show!

About Crafty Texas Girls:
Both Samantha and Jennifer reside in Texas. Since the birth of their daughters prompted them to take become stay-at-home moms, they have been looking for ways to put their crafty skills to use. With the support of their husbands, lots of hot glue, and many hours at the sewing machine, they began creating gifts to family and friends. As word spread about their little hobby, they began hatching a plan.


Combine their crafts into a little business and promote it through an online blog. Once the business cards were ordered, they hit the street-selling their products at local craft fairs and high-end children's boutiques. With a fair amount of success so far, they are optimistic about the future of their homemade creations. "Family will always come first, but as long as our girls are taking naps, we will be making our crafts!"


See Samantha and Jennifer's handmade tutus, tutu bow holders, hair bows, home decor, watercolor paintings and more at http://www.craftytexasgirls.blogspot.com/.

17 comments:

  1. This was great information! Thank you for sharing this.

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  2. Great write up! I just found your blog and I'll be back!

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  3. Great tips--thanks for the great article!

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  4. THANK YOU! I have two fair coming up next weekend and the one following, very helpful!

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  5. I am signing up soon for my first craft fair. What is the best way to find a listing of craft fairs?

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  6. Great tips. Thanks so much!

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  7. great article!! this story is almost exactly the same as me and my friend-our girls inspired us to make beautiful creations... doing our first craft show this weekend!

    -Sally-

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  8. thankss!! Im doing a craft fair soon so this was very helpful

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  9. Things I needed to hear!! I appreciate the advice :)

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  10. I loved this article. Being a craft fair promoter, I love to read articles where the artists truly understand, that the event is about having fun, enjoying meeting new people and isn't ALL about the sale! I started coordinating craft fairs because I enjoyed the people, the friendships, and the comradery of participating in the fairs as a vendor and could not find enough events to keep my calendar full. keep up the great work!
    Tiffany in Texas

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  11. I absolutely love this article! I am a new stay at home mom who loves making hair bows and just recently decided to take it to the next level. Hoping to attend lots of craft fairs in the upcoming months.
    *~Nicole~*

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  12. Thank you for this great information!!

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  13. I had a question, I am just starting to really push my crafts as a business. I am inHouston and wanted to know if yall got a sales tax permit and anything else that would be helpful so that I dont get in "trouble" come tax season? sdimas6@gmail.com

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  14. Thanks for posting these tips. I just did my first craft fair and am trying to figure out exactly what the lessons learned were. Thanks especially for writing the tip "Don't Be Discouraged".

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  15. Hi Sally. Thanks a million for sharing this. Craft fairs are a wonderful place to display and sell baby hair accessories. Good luck to everyone in their ventures! x

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I love to hear your ideas, questions and comments! - Sally

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