It's that time of year. Craft show time. If you're like me, you are crazed and working away. It's stressful but exciting. I've had several friends who are new to the scene recently write me with some questions on how to prepare for their first show. Now I know there's more than what I have below but this is a good start. I hope this helps!
For starters: Make your life easier with a good folding cart. This one at handtrucksrus.com is amazing. It folds up so small for storage and opens up so huge for carting all your wares. It fits in your car and hides well under your table.
Display: Make your display inviting, yet simple, clean. Tie it in with your work and your style but don't let it compete with what you're selling. I've always found great display items at TJ Maxx, Joanne Fabrics, Pier One and on Ebay and Etsy. Have a table cloth that hangs to the floor so you can hide stuff under your table. Make sure to have a comfy enough chair but stand as much as you can. Be sure to have a mirror if your items are jewelry or clothing or other wearable goods. Make sure your prices are visible. The lighting is never great at shows so it's a good idea to bring your own lights (and extension cord). You don't have to go crazy though. I just set up a desk lamp on either side of my table and really clamp them down well with extra c-clamps.
Banner: You need to have a nice banner so people can find you in a crowded show. I only had to look as far as Etsy to find a banner maker who was fast, affordable and friendly. His name is Paul Wilson and his Etsy shop is Wilson Graphics. He can print whatever you want on thick vinyl complete with grommets and he has a variety of sizes. I chose the 1' x 3'. It only cost $22 + $10 shipping and I received it 4 days after I ordered it! (Although this was 3 years ago, his prices may have gone up.)
Change: I think it's good to have 20 $1s, 4 $5s and 2 $10s. Also change for the meter! I recommend using a modern fanny pack type bag to keep your money on you, instead of a cash box. Be sure to have a calculator, I always check it twice just to be sure I didn't punch the numbers in wrong.
Credit Cards: Now thanks to IPhones and Square, vendors can take credit cards. This is a great thing! I've been using it for a year and I've had no problems. I've made more sales because of it.
Packaging: It would be easy to go nutso here but simple works. Look for boxes and bags that are made from recycled paper. Re-use tissue paper that you've gotten from purchases. Buy or make a custom stamp of your logo to stamp on your boxes and bags. I made mine by carving away at a rubber stamp - something Celie Fago taught me.
I love my mini moo cards. They are small but sturdy cards, you get 100 for $19.95 but the best part is, they can be 100 different images! It's so great to be able to get a variety of images and not be limited to just one. I picked 20 images of what's currently available in my Etsy shop and got 5 of each. Always put a card in your box and have them out on your table for people to take.
I get business cards and postcards from Overnightprints.com. They have good prices and quick turn around time. I like to go with a matte finish and rounded corners. The more you buy the cheaper it is. During the holiday season I pick a great image of my work (or multiple images) for the front and list my show schedule on the back.
Food: Bring snacks, lots of them. Things that are easy to eat - not messy and things that aren't going to give you offensive breath! If you drink coffee, chew gum or mints after!
Stickers: Always good to have stickers to give to the lil ones so their parents can have a minute to look.
Show Day: Remember to advertise your shows on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, your website, etc. Especially on the day of your shows to remind folks. Get there early. Always better to have more time to set up and you never know if you'll need to run out for last minute items. Try to always have something to work on during slow times. Smile! You'll learn as you go and the more shows you get under your belt, the easier and more streamlined your whole system will get!
Some extras to remember:
extra price tags
paper bag for garbage
mailing list sign up
Okay, that should do it... Best of luck vendors!