2 MONTHS BEFORE SHOW;
Plan Your Production Schedule. Think realistically about the amount of work you need to accomplish before the show, and use a calendar to schedule your production hours. If you map out your hours ahead of time, you’ll be able to focus one day at a time and prevent last-minute anxiety.
Take Inventory/Create. Do you have stock left over from last season? Are there some materials you could still use? Go through all your stuff before you buy more supplies or start making new items. Make your crafts, in various sizes, colors and textures if applicable.
Design and Print Literature. If you haven’t done so already you need to design your business cards and signage and get them ordered. Same with Brochures, Catalogs, free literature (optional), Try to stay consistent in color and design. www.moo.com or www.vistaprint.com both offer good prices for printing needs. If you are going to have shopping bags you will want to order them now also. I have found good deals at Costco and Sam's Club for plain bags then I just put my sticker on them. Another great place for bags and cellophane etc. is www.mygirlfriendshouse.com
Get Legal and Registered. Send in your registrations form along with money. Be sure to let them know if you need to be by an outlet, near a restroom, or any other special needs. Get Directions/contact info for the show. Order your sales tax permit and any other permits needed for your state. www.irs.gov is a good starting point.
Buy Display Area Needs. If it is an outdoor show you may want a tent or canopy, canopy walls, and weights. And for indoor or outdoor you may need to provide your own tables. You will need your own Table cloths, Additional fabric draping, and Backdrop. Be sure to ask the size of the area you are allowed so you can plan accordingly. Other optional items you may want to bring; Banner, Risers, Shelving, Pegboard, Lighting, Mirror, Baskets, Magnetic display board, Extension Cord, Power Strip, Chair or stool, Dolly or Rolling Cart.
Let you customers know. If you have a website, post an announcement of the shows you’re attending, and make sure you’re consistently posting on your favorite social media sources so customers know exactly how to find you. You may want to make Discount coupons for your website for people to bring to the show.
Plan for new customers. Make a mailing list signup sheet, and/or door prize drawing slips to get the names, address, e-mail, and phone of potential customers. Make a Portfolio of pictures of items for custom orders (optional). Create a great looking door prize.
Visualize Your Booth. Every product provides a unique challenge for display and packaging, and creating a mock up at home is a great way to test drive your booth display and plan ahead. Checking out online photos, and craft show booths is also a good way to get some ideas and visualize what you’ll need to succeed.
Continue to Create. You can never have too much because what doesn’t sell at this show may sell at the next. Plan to bring everything you have, even if you think it might not sell. It might be just what someone is looking for.
Complete any of the above items, and continue to create. You want to have everything organized and ready to go a couple days before the actual show so that you can relieve any last minute stress factors.
Pricing and Record Keeping. Individually price each item using hang tags or stickers. Make signs for small things that you don’t want to price individually. Type an inventory list of everything you are taking. Use a system that is easy to find the item when it sells to mark it off your list.
Organize Your Show Gear. Make a master list of all the stuff you need to remember to bring and start organizing it all in stackable, clear plastic boxes. Include lists on the sides of what they contain.
|Scissors||Hammer||Water Jug||Directions to show|
|String||Wire Cutters||Sun Block||Business Cards|
|Safety Pins||Tent Weights||Breath Mints||Portfolio|
|Push Pins and Tacks||Tent Stakes||Asprin||Table Cloths|
|Paper Clips||Bungee Cords||Band-aids||Fabric Draping|
|Clothespins||Risers||Calculator||Directions to show|
|Super Glue||Baskets||Change $ and cents||Backdrop|
|Hot Glue Gun||Shelving||Credit Card Reader||Money Bag or Apron|
|Zip Ties||Pegboard||Receipt Book||Sales Bags|
|Masking Tape||Magnetic Board||Sales Tax Chart||Tissue/Butcher Paper|
|Duct Tape||Banner||Tax Certificate||Inventory List|
|Trash Bags||Chair or Stool||Sweater||Drop Cord/Power strip|
THE DAY OF THE SHOW;
Arrive Early for Setup. You don’t want to be a hot, sweaty mess, setting up frantically 15 minutes before doors open. Customers will feel stressed just looking at you.
Network. Get to know your neighbors and introduce yourself to the show organizers. The more people you’re friendly with, the more your business will benefit.
Talk to Customers. Engage in conversation and be as helpful as you can. Ask questions like, “Are you looking for gifts?” or “Have you been to this show before?” and “Would you like to try that on?” you need to obtain customers’ emails, too.
Take Final Inventory. Resist the urge to close up early. That last customer may be the best. And don’t throw all your show gear into a random heap. I know it’s tempting, but if you take some time to organize, you’ll thank yourself later. Make sure you do a post-sale inventory and list any supplies you’ll need to order more of. Enter all your new emails into your database and send out a newsletter of gratitude to everyone who stopped by your booth and supported you. Share links to your Etsy shop and social media.
Be sure to journal about your experience so that you can remember the good/bad, or what works and what doesn’t work for next time.
And last but not least HAVE FUN.