Monday, May 5, 2008

What a rush!

First, I should say that, although I procrastinated quite a bit, the Spring Fling on Saturday was a huge success. Sales were good and I raised quite a bit for the Ronald McDonald House. Also, a lot of people recognized my products which is a wonderful accomplishment for me! It was a little chilly but the rain held out and there were a ton of shoppers!

I've really scaled back on the amount of craft shows that I do. I got burned a lot last year doing shows that amounted to about nothing. But I did gain a lot of experience and and got a lot of consumer research out of my time. Here are some things that I've learned that may help first timers or those who are having a hard time making good sales despite good crowds...

1) Allow customers to see, touch, smell, taste, try on, and try out your product (all that apply to what you make of I wouldn't recommed tasting soap).

Not only can you show off how amazing your stuff really is, but it also builds trust in your product. If you're willing to prove the quality of your products right there at the show, then customers will feel confident about purchasing. Have samples, testers, mirrors, etc. all available and encourage customers to try them.

2) Have clear pricing and good, descriptive signage.
Do not assume that if a customer has a question, they will ask. You are the expert about your products. Inform your customers. Make clean, professional looking signage giving customers the information you think they need to understand your products and why they would want them. For example, if you sell jewelry, tell them what kinds of metal you use, what type of stones you use, or what technique you use.

3) Greet everyone who comes to your stand and everyone that makes eye contact while walking past your stand.

Just say hello! Make small talk, but please don't be catty, gossipy, or annoying. Be informative, but not boastful. Be friendly, but not pushy. But definately don't ignore your shoppers or make them feel like their potential business is not important to you.

4) Make your displays clean, organized, and thoughtful.

You don't want shoppers to feel overwhelmed when looking at your stand. Separate your items into themes or categories that make sense. Ask yourself how you shop. Look at popular stores that carry items similar to yours and see how their products are grouped and displayed. Figure out how you can apply that to your items. Put complimentary products next to one another. Make it very easy for customers to see what you have and allow your displays to casually suggest other items.

5) Come prepared.

Have plenty of cash and coins for change, tissues, paper towels, tape, scissors, pens, scratch paper, snacks, water, any tools you would need to make on-the-spot simple modifications to your product (if applicable), business cards, promotional coupons or postcards, etc.

These are just some simple basic guidelines that have helped my sales quite a bit. And I'm definately still learning. Experience is very valueable so if you're just getting into craft shows, do a lot of them. You'll find which shows are worth returning to and you'll get lots of very valuable consumer research. You'll also get the opportunity to perfect your display, your technique, and your people skills.

Oh yea, and by the way, I snagged a treasury today! It is my first and I'm very proud of it. It features some amazing Etsy sellers.