Our first craft show within two weeks

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carvan

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Our products are soaps, face, body & eye creams, Body Scrub bars, creamsticks, lipsticks, lip balms, mineral makeup and more fun stuff.

1) We are still putting plan together to deal with heat over the summer. We are thinking of buying few large (square/flat) ice packs that we will lay on table - place cloth over it - then place products over that.

2) We went shopping for tents today. Cosco has those white 10 x 10 tents for $199.

3) Also we are going with paypal smart card reader and will bring $200 cash in different increments...and calculator.

4) we bought cooler on wheels from Cosco to store products at events.

Are we blatantly missing something? Does $199 for tent sound like good price?

(note: yes we have tax-id # & insurance on that front)

Thanks in advance everyone
Van
 

Shannon_m

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The tent is reasonable, however I think they have ones considerably less expensive at Walmart. You can usually buy online and have it shipped to a local Walmart for free if they don't have the one you're looking for in stock at your store.

Don't forget a guestbook/email list for potential customers and customers. I am bringing my notebook just for my taxes to my events, just so I can keep careful track. Do you have samples? Business cards? Banner? Tables? Signs? I plan on having a stack of "inserts" to put in my bags of why I do what I do, why I choose the ingredients I choose and of course a blurb about buying local and hand made.

P.S. You might want a chair or two to rest in and someone to come with you for company and/or breaks for food/bathroom. I will be forced to bring my 10 1/2 year old boy with me to mine... joy!
 

carvan

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We are working on banner as we speak. We will set up small metal tub in front that will have business cards and coupons. thanks for email list...I didn't think of that. Also, we have samples but some of ingredients include fairly expensive essential oils so we are thinking of charging just $2 for samples (hoping that eliminates those who are just looking for something free as opposed to someone who has general interest). Does that sound fair?

oh and yes we have inserts that also has our QR code so they can just scan from their smart phone and it will take them to our website. We are two person team (husband & wife). We are excited and it sounds like you are too.
 

tinytreats

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I definitely think charging $2 is fair for samples. That's what I do, and at least I'm making money instead of having people just grab the free stuff. I started off as giving samples away for free, and I had one lady grab 5 samoles. Then she came back a balf hour later and asked for more. How awkward is it to say no when she comes back the second time for more? :Kitten Love:
 

SoapPapaw

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Check out this site. http://www.hutshop.com/ezupcanopies.html
They have the ex-up with a awning and 4 zipper sidewalls. We bought a canopy from target it was made by Coleman. But after 5 shows we invested in the Ez-up.

We log all sales into square. Even the cash sales. That way taxes, sales are all recorded. You can later check how many of what was sold. I have a dorm refrigerator that I think I will some day take to keep things cool.

Do you have lights and cords or is show in daytime hours only? Helps in keeping the phone or ipad charged for square use. You may want a fan and sunscreen. Even though you have a canopy the sun will come into your booth.

If the show is multi-day, bring something to cover your displays. Also you need so echoing to cover up your products in case of rain.
 

MaitriBB

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I have been researching canopies/tents because I'm doing farmers markets this summer. I'm going to invest $250-275 on one with the side walls that's easy enough for one person to put up her(my)self. Also keep in mind that you will need weight bags and/or stakes/anchors or that thing is just gonna blow away the first time someone looks at it funny. All of those things add up - the canopy is a major purchase.
 

carvan

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update

We did our first test. How does our display look? Our banner is being mailed to us and we still need to label each section & pricing. Also since 'melting' will be our biggest fear. We are thinking of just placing empty containers out and have few samples they can smell and test texture (with wood spoon) and just keep real products in cooler. Thoughts?

Thanks
Van
IMG_4304_zps7736320f.jpg
 

Ancel

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Hi Van,
firstly congratulations in stepping into the craft fair / farmers' market experience! It's great fun, a great social experience and a wonderful way to get your passion / vision / joy across to your customers. A lot of hard work and tiring, but well worth it! I've had a stall at our local year round farmers' market for almost 5 years now, so these suggestions come purely from what I have experienced with layout.

Try not to have anything on the floor / blocking your table. People will want to get up close and personal with your goodies and leaning over or stepping on buckets and baskets underfoot will deter them from approaching your stand. Also children, dogs, stray chickens can create havoc with those nice floor level displays. Plus, depending on where your craft fair is, some people may be squeamish about buying products for their skin which have been sitting on the ground (in a pretty basket or not).
Adding height to your displays adds texture and interest to your table, so all those tall displays could be turned at a 45 degree angle to make space for the pretty tin basins. Or uses a couple of boxes underneath your cloths to add higher shelf space.
It's great for your stall to look abundant, but beware of overwhelm. What are your most important / popular / favorite products? They should get center stage and be the most accessible to your audience.
How will you offer your samples? Where do you plan to be in relation to your stand? Sitting behind, or standing, or someone out front offering dabs of samples or sniffs of your goodies? People don't tend to approach a stand if the vendors are sitting behind mountains of goods and looking out. It's much easier to approach a stand when someone is already in front of it and looking interested, especially if that person is waving an open jar at them beckoning them in :)
The small baskets in the back are hiding behind the towers of jars in front, are those your samples? What's in the solitary brown glass bottle? And why does it have a prominent position all to itself? What are the green sticks on the floor?
Labels that are simple and easy to read from a distance are great. Are those business cards in the small box in front? Those are good to have for people who might want to order later, or are interested in wholesale, or are getting married and looking for party favors etc., etc.,
I think it's a great idea to have display jars / boxes and have the real stuff in coolers - we make chocolate too and that's how we have to work, people don't mind at all, just make sure the coolers aren't so cold that you'll have issues with condensation when you take things out.
Your colors look good, natural and neutral. Where will your banner be?

Good luck with it! It's a really fun way to meet customers, get feedback and learn a whole lot about why you are doing this and what it really means to you. Have fun with it! Oh and make friends with the stall holders around you, oftentimes they can be your biggest customers and promotors. Be generous with samples to your fellow vendors please: what comes around goes around :)
 

carvan

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thanks ancel for wealth of information. Our display was placed on floor just so we could practice before we purchased our tables. Can you tell us how you handle haggling. How much off your price will come down? We plan to test two thrift shops locations and about three farmers market before we settle into one or two locations.

Thanks
Van
 

Genny

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thanks ancel for wealth of information. Our display was placed on floor just so we could practice before we purchased our tables. Can you tell us how you handle haggling. How much off your price will come down? We plan to test two thrift shops locations and about three farmers market before we settle into one or two locations.

Thanks
Van

I don't haggle at all. I've got a set price & it stays at that. I've never had anyone try to haggle either. I've had a few customers complain that $5 is a lot for a bar of soap, but I don't lower the price for them.

I do occasionally do trades with other vendors if we're both interested.
 

Ancel

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Yeah, I don't haggle either. Sometimes if someone is buying a lot I'll throw something extra in, but one would never haggle in a supermarket or for the electric bill. I think it's quite rude actually. I'm in Costa Rica so occasionally tourists will think they're in Mexico or Guatemala and will try to haggle, but a polite, " no, these prices are fair, thank you" works. They either buy or move on. I will do trades with other vendors, and for our regular market I try to make sure I have something for mothers' day, fathers' day and Christmas gifts to give to my fellow vendors (our market is tiny, about 25 stalls): they are often the ones who promote our stand more than anything else.

I love the market :) Hope you will too!
 

carvan

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Hello,
Our first show was not a success. Granted it was flea market and that is not our target market at all but we were hoping for more. Ironically the person who did much better was guy directly across from us who was selling damaged (unopened) tastycakes and used boom boxes. He sat on back of his car bumper saying hello to noone and would get up once someone started looking at his product. After one person showed up...many more would start to gather. It did prove to us that if you have correct product for correct clientele your sales approach doesn't factor in much...it sells itself.

So on that note, we are looking for ideas to splice up our display and maybe make it more interesting. We used chalk board to display prices and we are thinking of just setting up individual signs for each product describing the butters and essential oils included.

We have another flea market to test next week and this one will be little more upscale but not much. After that we have three farmers market and if product doesn't move that much we are thinking that maybe just house parties would be better for us as its much more targeted and continue to sell online with social media. Thanks for any suggestions. Van
 

Miz Jenny

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Personally, I'd shy away from flea markets, but it's an opportunity to work on your sales patter. Check put the smf business section for display ideas. You need something to draw people to your booth.
 

Ancel

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It was a learning experience! Difficult to compete with damaged tastycakes at a flea market :eh:. Were there other vendors selling new / handmade goods?

Miz Jenny made a great point: it is a good place to practice sales pitch and find out what catches people's ears and what makes them glaze over.

You've got your feet wet now - good luck with the next flea market and then on to the farmers' markets, which should by their very nature be more conducive to selling handmade products.
 

houseofwool

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I would think the farmer's market would be a much better fit for the products. I know that when I hit a flea market, I am not looking for B&B products.
 

carvan

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I would think the farmer's market would be a much better fit for the products. I know that when I hit a flea market, I am not looking for B&B products.

that is the sense I got from walking around. People seemed to be looking for hidden treasures in what looked like piles of old, dirty household items. Pre-owned clothing was selling also. Early on it was mostly older men and then as day went on it was more families.

I only noticed one other person selling B&B product (shea butter) but it was very small display of maybe 4 jars and did not see sale while we were there. We will chalk it up to experience an read the business section on making our display more attractive.

Thanks everyone.
 

MaitriBB

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Eh, I've almost given up on anything but big farmers markets. Just not worth my time and effort. Saturday I went to a craft/vendor show and even though they had a DJ there broadcasting live, there was very little traffic. I made $15 and spent $50 for the table =\ You'll have good days and bad days. Sometimes people want soap and sometimes they don't!
 

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