Etsy is so smart…. tips for craft shows from etsy (with commentary from the peanut gallery)

I saw these great tips on etsy this morning. I have copied and pasted them below. The normal text is taken directly from the etsy link. The italicized text is from yours truly. Etsy is a great resource/company/entity/powerhouse. Enjoy and use their tips as they make sense to you.

For Your Display

  • Inventory – Bring  everything you have, even if you think it might not sell. It might be just what someone is looking for. (I shut down my etsy shop-unless it is craft fair application season. I put a * on tags of items that are from the etsy shop so I can separate them when I pack up.)
  • Displays – A visually appealing display will help you sell more product. Take advantage of the space you have. Consider tables, tablecloths, drapes, and stands. (I switch my display up quite a bit. I made these box displays from IKEA, which can stack in a variety of ways. I will also be debuting a new display piece this weekend. Yippee!!)
  • Signage – Make sure you’re branding your booth with a banner or information about your products. Team Captain Fullofcraft always displays press clippings to inform the shopper and act as a conversation-starter. (I am still working on this. I have a cool photo collage of different ways to wear my hair clips. My products are pretty self-explanatory, so I am adding different ways to showcase how they can be worn.)
  • Power Strip, Extension Cords, and Lights – Just like your product photographs, you want to ensure you are accurately showcasing your items’ colors and textures. (Almost every show I’ve done has had great lighting. Usually you have to ask for power/electricity. There are some booths with items they sell that run on electricity so I don’t elect to use it. I save it for crafty dudes and babes who need it more.)
  • Rolling Carts – Make it easy to load in and out. (Why haven’t I bought one yet?!?! It is like I think the Keebler Elves are going to show up. Even if they do they are so tiny they won’t be able to carry much. They live inside trees, for crying out loud!)
  • Display Emergency Kit – Include safety pins, bungee cords, zip ties, scissors, twine, and tape. You might not need them, but your booth neighbor will be thankful you’re prepared! (Mitten Made and I shared a booth for several shows this summer. She had all of these treasures and is amazing. Remind me to buy her zip-ties for Christmas….)

For Making Sales

  • Change – Don’t miss a sale because someone doesn’t have correct change. (I don’t sell anything that isn’t whole dollar amounts. I include tax in said full dollar amount. This said, I make sure to have singles, 5’s and 10’s.)
  • Business Cards – Moo.com is an excellent resource for affordable business cards. (These are taken by people who may want to buy products later. I have had repeat customers who came to shows but have only bought on etsy. I have also had invitations to other craft shows because someone took my card. They are worth investing in.)
  • Mailing List Sign Up Sheet – Stay in touch with your new customers. (I have relied on facebook for this. With these new weird rules to follow posts I may lean toward a mailing list in the future)
  • Credit Payment System — Setting up a card machine or a system that works with your smartphone may significantly increase your sales. (I use square. Mama like.)
  • Business License or Permit – Check to see what is required in your state. (Enough said)
  • Receipt or Sales Book – It’s rare, but some customers insist on having a receipt. Make sure you’re keeping track of sales manually or with your payment device. (I have a book of sales. Square sends receipts for payments, even if they are cash. So that’s awesome)
  • Packaging Materials – Sales bags, boxes and gift wrap options keep customers coming back for more. (I do this during holiday shows)
  • Cash Apron or Fanny Pack – Fullofcraft recommends keeping your cash on you at all times instead of keeping a clunky and easy-to-spot cash box. (I refuse to wear a fanny pack… but my money is on me or at my feet fo sho)
  • Pens – How else are you going to write down notes about that custom order and collect all those newsletter sign-ups? (Carry many pens. People seem to walk away with them on occasion.)

For Your Comfort

  • Personal Emergency Kit – You never know when you need wet naps, lip balm, aspirin, band aids, lotion or sunscreen. (I would add contact solution and glasses if you are a contact wearer. I say this because I once had to get glasses delivered to a show when my contacts and eyes started fighting like the Montagues and Capulets.)
  • Water & Snacks  (I like to buy snacks from vendors if they are selling them. If not, I carry granola bars or something else that travels well. During warm summer shows Mitten Made and I had fruit in a cooler. It was amazing.)
  • Chair (Also bring an extra if you expect a friend or family member later in the day. Helpers are spending part of their day assisting you. They deserve a chair)
  • Craft Supplies – Take advantage of downtime to work on a project or make repairs if needed. (I don’t craft at shows. I am a people watcher. However, if you like crafting at shows, go for it! People like to see you create the items you’re selling. My pal Mitten Made created my scarf in front of me, which was SUPER cool for me to see. She had a lot of people stopping by to ask about her craft.)

I really found these tips to be spot-on, and should strongly consider adding a rolling card to my list of  future business expenses. The thing is, my stuff is made of felt, so it isn’t heavy…. it just takes many trips to the car. That can be very annoying after a 12 hour day. You know what makes you feel better after all that heavy lifting? Taco Bell. Or a slurpee. The one pictured above was from 7-11-12 during a street fair I was vending at. Cool treats do wonders for your mood on 12 hour days in the summer. 🙂

There’s more etsy tips on their blog. Enjoy!

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4 thoughts on “Etsy is so smart…. tips for craft shows from etsy (with commentary from the peanut gallery)

  1. I would also suggest adding an extra phone charger to your emergency kit! You don’t want to miss out on a sale because your battery is dead (some show locations seem to leech power!). I also keep extra price tags in my kit- there is always that one small child who picks all the stickers off…

    Your booth and products always looks super-cute!! Thanks for re-posting this guide. 🙂

  2. Those are both great tips!! I have had price tags go missing and have also had my phone die before a show ended. Good call!
    I can’t wait to vend with you soon! 🙂

    • The lap blanket is a great idea! I assumed that it would be difficult dressing for outdoor events, but indoor events can be just as tricky. I actually took the black scarf I wore in and wrapped it around me to keep me warm today when guests came in and out. You never know. 🙂

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