Saturday, February 7, 2009

Spring time festivals: a how-to

Though I have to admit, I don't have the fanciest booth set up on the block, I do have some experience with festivals. Since we're coming up on the nice weather, it's time many of us need to start thinking about the spring fairs. You might ask, "Should I take the time, and expense, to set up a booth?" I say YES, definitely!

Look around and apply to a few art shows or craft fairs in your state, even if you have to submit an artist statement and photographs. See if they offer booth prizes - you might surprise yourself! Another thing to look for is if the festival is selling gift tokens to their patrons, meaning the person will definitely be buying something at the fair. I had my best sales at a small town fair that sold tokens - women were flocking to my booth to buy themselves jewelry. If you don't have a large vehicle, consider getting a space with a tent provided. Yes, it might cost more, but it's a lot less hassle. If you don't have your own tent, and the event is outside, you'll have to borrow or rent one, like I have done in the past. This year, I'm getting the tent provided.

A few things you might want to think about when you set up your booth:

  • Getting a banner with your business and/or store name on it. There are many shops on Etsy that sell banners, like monster promos. You can even ask LazyT how she likes hers!
  • Include sales tax with your pricing. If you were selling consignment, the store would be asking for tax, unless you live in Texas, or something! And use even numbers - get away from change - it's so much easier.
  • Use props to display your smaller items. This helps to attract and hold people's attention. I use large gourds to drape necklaces around, and little ballerinas, specifically to hold earrings. I've even had some who wanted to buy my props!
  • Purchase tables that have extendable legs. I've found tables that fold out and expand to two different heights. And if that's not possible, bring different sized tables. You can also stack flat objects or use boxes to create depth and height.
  • At the festival itself, stay at the same height as your patrons. No one likes to look down to someone sitting in a lawn chair. Stand or get a bar stool to sit in when you're tired.
  • If you don't have a credit card machine, get a ProPay account. It's real easy, and you're charged only when you use it. You get the buyer's credit card information, and process it over the phone, for a small fee. People are apt to buy higher priced AND multiple items, using a credit card.
  • Have your business cards accessible. Stormy Designs makes personal business card holders, and I love mine. Now I put my postcards on it - they're great advertising, and people can put the card on their bulletin board or refrigerator.








Remember to bring some drinks and snacks for yourself. Food is so expensive at fairs, and you don't want to spend all your hard-earned money! Most of all, have fun and talk to people who go by your booth. They will remember you if they have a good time looking.

19 comments:

Patti said...

These are great tips, stormy. I'm going to one in March and this will help. Thank you!

TiLT said...

Wonderful write up! I tried a show or two this past fall & found that it wasn't nearly as scary or difficult as I thought it would be.
Thanks for the link to the banner shop - that is definitely something I could use.
And Propay...love it!!!

Stormy Designs said...

Great tips Deb. Thanks for featuring my business card couches.

Janel said...

I love the couch for your postcards. Great tips in this post - thanks!

Deronda designs... said...

Yes, great ideas. I am trying to get up the courage to do some shows this year.

MagdaleneJewels said...

Thanks Stormy - although I have done a lot of shows. It is always great to get new ideas - like the idea of the different heights of tables. Also going to check into ProPay. Spring will be here before we know it!

MagdaleneJewels said...

Although I have done a lot of shows, it is always nice to get some new and fresh idea. Love the idea of the different table heights. Also going to check into ProPay. Spring is almost here!

ocean said...

Hi friend.. Interesting post.. keep up the good work.. Do visit my blog and post your comments.. Take care mate.. Cheers!!!

Tulip's Talking said...

Hey Deb! Great write up indeed!!!

I have never considered the height of oneself to that of ones customers until the show I was in a few weekends ago when my "mentor" told me the same thing.

Now off to open a ProPay account!

Thank you,
~Lily

Athena said...

Great tips! I love the one about using props to display your wares.

Youvegotmaille said...

Great tips, I've been thinking about the upcoming craft fair season.

Nancy said...

Very good informations, thank you!

Journey of Love Designs said...

great tips!

regarding your comment: no, i didn't make those frames. I'd be in way over my head if i had to pick up metal smithing too!

Waterrose said...

Great tips! I haven't done any shows but I know that all of these make sense. For credit cards and if you use quickbooks you can process your transactions that way as well. You can't do it on the spot unless there is an internet connection, but you can as soon as you get one, whether it's your home or where you are staying.

Sarah said...

Hi, thank you for your nice welcome to etsybloggers :) I haven't done any shows before, but definitely plan to, so I appreciate reading through your advice!

Kala Pohl Studio said...

Wonderful tips, I am always learning something new, thank you:)

MySweetThree said...

Such great advice! I think I will look into craft fairs when I have a huge inventory of my beads...otherwise, it would just not be worth the investment for me.

UberArt said...

Wonderful tips! Thanks for visiting my blog and welcoming me to Etsy Bloggers! I've been wondering if my application was approved. :)

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

Great advice, I love my stormy couch!

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