Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

How to Get Ready for Spring Craft Shows

17 tips for preparing for successful sales — before, during and after the big day.

By Jenna Herbut Mar 21, 2013
Photo by The Wheatfield

Spring is the time when cherry blossoms bloom, electric green leaves appear, and our brains burst with new ideas and inspiration. With so many awesome spring craft shows on the horizon, there’s a ton of potential to sell up a storm.

Gearing up for spring craft shows can become overwhelming, but if you’re armed and prepared with a plan, you’ll be ready for the most successful season possible. Here are 17 tips for before, during, and after craft shows; if you tackle a couple tasks each week, you’ll be shocked how quickly it all comes together.

Before the Show

1. Set Goals. I’m a big believer in setting intentions before you set out to do anything. Take a couple hours to become really clear about how much you want to sell and how much money you want to make. Close your eyes and visualize the sensations you’ll feel after you’ve accomplished your goals. Though this might sound a little weird, trust me — it works!

2. Get Organized. Create a Google Docs spreadsheet to keep track of all your craft show details. Insert data from previous years, such as the number of sold items and the amount of money you earned. This will give you a clear idea of how much stock you need to make. If you’ve never done any shows before, make an estimate based on your goals and what you can realistically manufacture.

3. Take Inventory. 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. When you think about it, unused supplies are like piles of money.

Photo by TheNewtonLabel

4. Create a 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.

5. Organize Your Show Gear. Make a master list of all the stuff you need to remember to bring (Scissors? Change? Snacks?) and start organizing it all in stackable, clear plastic boxes. Include lists on the sides of what they contain.

6. Update Your Web Presence. 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.

7. Alert the Media. Read How to Win the Hearts of Bloggers for tips for pitching appropriate journalists and bloggers who cover the craft scene. If you’ve written a press release, ask the show organizers if they’d like to use your press release and photos. Also tell them that you would love to be featured on TV if they're looking for designers for any segments. I know this can be scary, but the result will blow your mind.

Photo by Jodi Lynn's Emporium of Doodles

1. 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.

2. Use Noticeable Signage. Think of your booth as a big, virtual business card. Creating brand awareness is just as important as selling.

3. 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 — plus, you might make some new crafty buds. Maybe you can do some tradesies later, too.

Photo by Hunter & Co. Designs

4. Think Positively. Selling is all about mindset and energy. Put positive vibes into the world and you will get them back. If you look like you’re having fun, customers will be attracted to you and more inclined to stop by your booth and look at your stuff.

5. 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?” Tell customers about your creative process and how you started — they love to hear stories about passion, so give it to ’em!

6. Collect Emails. It’s not enough to distribute your business cards or promotional postcards; you need to obtain customers’ emails, too. A great way to entice shoppers is to produce a contest — make sure your prize is awesome so customers will be more inclined to enter.

After the Show

1. Take Final Inventory. Resist the urge to 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.

2. Show Some Love. 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.

3. Take Time to Reflect. Go to your favorite coffee shop and write down anything you learned, cool people you met, and pat yourself on the back for any goals you achieved. Also, take some time to set new goals for next year.

4. Part-ayy! Treat yourself to some luxurious time off, because you earned it, baby. Craft show season is a grind, and I highly suggest pampering yourself for at least a couple days and having as much fun as possible.

I know craft show season can be a time of nerves, anxiety, and all-nighters, but I promise if you follow these guidelines, you’ll feel less stressed when you make it rain dollar bills. Now go rock your spring shows!

Author

Jenna Herbut from MakeItUniversity

Jenna Herbut is the founder of Make It University, an online business program specially designed for crafty entrepreneurs. She loves nothing more than to help people do what they love and earn what they deserve.

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