Deciding on Your Product for a Craft Show
One of the most difficult decisions that you will face in preparation for a craft show is how much and what to take with you. Most of this decision will lie within the venue that your show is held; however, there are a few things that you can consider that will help you to make this decision.
In my opinion there is no more difficult a task in preparing for a craft show that deciding what products you will take with you. There is lots of advice from seasoned craft show enthusiasts and vendors alike who can help you with this decision. I too will try to give you some guidance. Ultimately however, the responsibility for this decision is a tough one and one that only you can decide. No one should know your product line better than you, therefore it is you that should be making all the decisions. Hopefully after reading this you will have some nice insight into the kinds of products you need to take with you to your next craft show, depending on venue and price point.
As I stated earlier, much of the decision of what type and how much product you will bring to the craft show depends on the venue. There are many venues for Craft Shows, but here are the most typical shows around and the type of clientele that you are most likely to run into:
- Flea Market Style: This type of show will collect people who are not looking for quality products, but for good sales and deep discounts. This type of show has an overall lower price point than any other show on this list and often will attract the crowd that will want you to lower your prices, offer a coupon, or give away your items. This being said, this is a great type of show to get rid of those pieces and products that you’ve had for years, have flaws, or just aren’t quite your “top-notch” product.
TIP: Don’t forget to fill a $1.00 bin with things that you just want to “get rid of.” You won’t get much, but you’ll get something and be rid of the product.
- Themed Craft Shows: These type of craft shows can be a lot of fun and attract a crowd of “regulars.” Theme shows are built around city events, holidays, causes, or figures. For these type of show you want to make sure that you have items to match the “theme.” For example if the show is a Christmas show, you want to have plenty of Christmas items in all price ranges. If the show is to raise funds for cancer awareness, make sure you take your products with awareness ribbons in lots of cause worthy colors.
- Artist Portraits: These type of craft shows can be a lot of fun and a lot of pressure. These shows carry a much higher ticket item, but also bring the most picky-of-picky buyers. They are expecting perfection in your work, a high amount of details, and are willing to pay for it as well. For these shows, take a small amount of “low ticket” items and a large amount of higher ticket items. Be prepared to take orders for product and offer personalized & customized service. It’s also a good idea to be working on something so people can see you in action!
- Demonstration Shows: These shows can be a lot of fun. The primary reason for these shows are so people can see crafts being made and peak their interest to start in that craft/hobby themselves. For these shows, take lower ticket items and make sure that whatever you are demonstrating, that you have oodles of those with you to sell.
This is a tricky topic for many, not knowing what price point to target and how much of it to bring. This varies by show type (see above) and by demographics. For example: a show in the inner city of Cleveland, OH will not bring as high of prices as a show in Westerville, OH. The demographics are much different in those areas. What would sell for $10 in Cleveland may sell for $20 in Westerville.
Here’s the hard part: you can NOT change your product prices, especially if you do a lot of shows! Your product prices need to be FIRM and the SAME from your website, Etsy store, to real live shows. If you change these prices, people will assume you are unreliable and will not purchase from you. Here’s a good example: If your items are just 10% less than your online price at shows, any new customers you make will WAIT to purchase from you when they see you at shows. While this is a good thing, you could be missing out on valuable “in between show” profits because your prices are all over the map.
TIP: Offer a “Show Special” where you feature one of your products at a special price for that show only. Do not offer this same item at the next show.
What Items to Take:
As I have discussed before, the artists & crafters who do best, are those who have a dedicated display and only one type of item (knitting, oil paintings, wood work, etc). In deciding what to take, take only a few different product items. Customers do not like to be overwhelmed, but you don’t want to underwhelm them either. I was very impressed at a show that I visited where a lady had only 10 items on display. Behind her table she had no less than 25 of each item and in some cases 40. Her display was amazing and her sales were out of this world! She had a constant flow of customers who were happy and where not overwhelmed with product. She left the show with no items to take home, even selling her displays, and had ZERO business cards left (she brought 500). That is awesome marketing & a great customer base. This is a great example that it’s not the number of items that you take, but your display & product examples that need to do the work for you.
From My Shows: When I do my Fall Show I take my Christmas Ornaments, Chubbies, & Individual Parker figurines. I leave my StoryBook Scenes at home with the exception of a few that match the “fall” theme of the show. I do this because at this particular show, the venue is in a church, smaller ticket items sell better, and if people want more, I always have business cards to send them to my online store.
Thanks for joining me today. Join me next week to Build Your Brand on Etsy & experience success.
“BUILD YOUR BRAND”
is a series of posts designed to help you succeed in ‘Building your Brand’ on Etsy and achieving online success through social media, blogs, websites, craft shows, and so much more. Join me every Wednesday as I give you some tips to try and help you achieve Etsy success and perhaps even be one of the lucky few who get to quit their day jobs and focus on their art/craft all day!