Secrets of Selling at Craft Fairs: How to Get In, Make Sales, and Grow Your Business

Lesson 6 of 39

Get Your Product Ready

 

Secrets of Selling at Craft Fairs: How to Get In, Make Sales, and Grow Your Business

Lesson 6 of 39

Get Your Product Ready

 

Lesson Info

Get Your Product Ready

Right now we're going to talk about setting yourself up for success, which we kind of mentioned earlier and how to get your business ready for a craft show, so preparing your products talked about a little bit about that making sure that they're ready and parade sing them I feel like a I'm like the pricing police right now like if there's one thing you leave here with which I hope you leave with more than one thing I want you to leave here pricing your products for profit not based on emotion and it is that is so important and we're also going to talk about branding so what? What have we already talked about? We've determined our readiness, right? We figured out the benefits and had a schools and figured out how to turn big, broad thing like a benefit or a goal into doable tasks into actions that we can actually accomplish on our to do list and what we're going to do now is we're going to talk about preparing our products so getting them ready, branding our business, pricing our produc...

ts and we're also going to talk about starving artist syndrome does anybody have that or is it just I'm I the only one three of us okay? I'm hoping that it's not just the three of us, but yes, so we're going to talk about working on getting over that together you know if if you have that syndrome is kind of like always with you and you always have to make sure to keep it in check and they want to talk about getting experience kind of like getting your feet wet at smaller shows so first thing we're gonna talk about is getting your product's ready so preparing them for purchase these people here are your biggest fans this is let's see mom your girlfriend cousin josh I do actually have a cousin josh that is not what he looks like your best friend your dad your aunt your husband your partner these were the people that are like well cool you're gonna be awesome okay but these are not the people that are buying your products it's great to have that's that support of all of these people cheering you want but when you show but when I show my mom something that I made chances are she's probably going to be like that's also you are best daughter ever and I love you and you just made something amazing and this is basically equivalent to gold but my mom is not my customer so you we have to be keeping our customers are customers in mind so when we talk about how to get your product ready for the marketplace let's talk about what we're actually talking about so we're thinking about if that product is ready to be used which we talked about can people you know, wash it where it do stuff to it appropriate stuff to it? I mean, if it's you know you don't if it's like a scarf or something you don't I want to make sure it's okay if somebody uses it as a jump rope you know you want to do for its intended use and make sure that everything is very clear that the instructions air clear and that you have those proper permits if it's something that's needed and that it's been tested you know that it's actually been used and that you know that it's ready um the next thing we want to talk about is whether your product is unique or the market is saturated. This is something that's very difficult for us to understand uh when we make something we love it way feel like it's very, very special and we feel like it's very different from something that somebody else has made that similar to ours and there is nothing similar because it's our thing but the truth is coming from somebody that has headed our jury for eight years for our craft show and has seen I don't even know how many thousands I cannot possibly count of applications when you're going through seven hundred applications, everything starts to look the same and the things that are different that are truly different stand out so you want to think about if your product is unique in the market saturated so this is a this is I thought that this was going to feel ok but now it feels kind of weird now that I'm doing this I was sharing something I made so I recently got into weaving and I mean this I made this weaving and this is my first weaving that I made and I had so much fun making this I mean so much fun and I wove on the amtrak train and I wove in bed and I will first thing when I got up in the morning and it just was awesome and I just wanted to we've all the time and I thought maybe I can like leave some more stuff more of these and sellem you know and uh then I thought about what I'm seeing all the time online and our craft shows that it's weavings very similar to this very, very similar but not my eyes not even not as you know this is the first one I didn't know how to tie things are you know it's just a mess back here so I thought okay if this is something that I want to dio if I want to do weaving and have this b a little fun side project I guess when I have to put a new spin on this you know this market is saturated for this in my in my community in my world you may live in a different part of the country weaving hasn't come back there yet or something so then I had to start thinking okay, what can I do to make this up? I can make I think about size so changing the size maybe everybody's doing with things like this and I make my I'll make my own custom loom that's like super long or that's like gigantic and I'm actually weaving like a bedspread or you know whatever whatever it is I'm throwing things out there right now I don't want to leave about spread but yeah and you know, maybe you want to think about you know, use doing packaging that's different if everybody else has their weavings you know, hanging like this from a piece of driftwood maybe make some kind of like metal thing or something and you're making everybody else's weave these are kind of like this do like a really modern, really sparse you know, stark kind of style with, you know, middle bits or whatever um and so that's kind of thinking about the materials or or the process maybe you use a different kind of yarn that's like super rare or you hand iet yourself so nobody has colors like this or maybe do what I did and you make a little loom out of cardboard and you make figure out how to make something different I really what I loved was the process of weaving you go like this very meditative and I never get that special time to just make so I made this on like a little mini loan now I don't see I haven't seen anybody with a necklace like this before I haven't seen anybody ever apply to our craft show with like a woven necklace made out of nylon and embroidery with ease we're little tassels on it so if I were going teo turn that and aside from that since I've worn it I've gotten some compliment so that's been awesome but also like we talked about how much would I have to sell this for? I mean, you guys can't even imagine how many hours this took me but you know along that same lines you really need to think about the uniqueness of your product and if the market is saturated and what can be different about your product to set it apart um kind of along those that same line is thinking about if it's easily replicated this anybody that orders a loom I ordered off amazon and get some fluorescent yarn this was my first time not complicated any anybody can make this however, if I put the driftwood on here and let's say maybe I packaged it really nicely and I had an awesome hang hang tag that told the story of how I hand dyed this yarn and you know, handpicked the driftwood from a beach I think it's illegal the victor foot from the beach so don't do that if it is but you know told that told the story of my product and really made it special and had professional packaging people wouldn't immediately think oh, I could do that but if this is just kind of like hanging up it's like yeah I could we have that right up this is a great example this is one of our vendors from patchwork show plush puffs and they make marshmallows have any of you guys made marshmallows before? Okay it's so fun right? Yeah yeah it is not it is not the easiest thing but it's possible it's not impossible so what if these guys so they made marshall's like they're making some you can buy all those ingredients at the grocery store, right? What if what if plush puffs made their marshmallows and put them in a ziploc and then took a you know, label and just wrote on there gourmet marshmallows? You know, uh I don't know offhand how much how much their marshmallows are how many are in that package but if they did that I mean maybe you'd spend a dollar or two dollars right? I mean, maybe I wouldn't even buy something that was package in a ziploc bag because I want to know like where it was made but this stuff this this looks pro style right? The packaging is awesome it's really well thought out you can see the marshmallows in there so you know exactly what you're about to eat I don't feel like I can replicate that you know, maybe I could make some marshmallows but that packaging no so that's that's part part of something that will help your product um seem and b more professional we're going to talk about some difficult craft show customers on one of the people we're going to talk teo talk about is oh, I could totally do that so we're gonna talk about what to do when somebody when somebody does that but stuff like this helps avoid that your stuff is pro looking people have less of a chance to be like oh yeah I can totally do that okay then you want to think about is it current? This is really tricky because current is different to different people, okay, but overall there are trends you don't know what the trends are goto a craft show go to some stores that air in your kind of aesthetic see what's in there looking magazines figure it out some things never go out of style little black dress little black dress you're wearing a little black dress right now oh, always in style, you know so things can be classic and things can also be trendy were like uh well birds you know way have some vendors that patchwork that do bird based stuff that's awesome that feels very current because they're doing something different with it so but there was a period put a bird on it everybody if you don't know that you go watch portlandia right now but just that bird trend that was really, really big maybe five, five years ago wish some somewhere around there so you want to be at the beginning part of the trend or having something and having something that psych class see that will outlast the trend it doesn't mean you can't put birds on your stuff, but you have to do it in a way where it doesn't feel like out here is just another thing with a bird on it. You know, um thinking about that current too you really have to think about your customer and the market because something that's current for me may not be current for you it may not be current current for you so it's your what's current to your customer, your brand so on and then you want to think if there's an actual market for it, do people need this thing or do they want it? You know they have to need it or want it or else they're obviously not going to buy it, so you really wantto do your research and see what's what's selling and see what's on sale like that's another great way to do it you go to a shop and you see what is in as it's anthropology is a because they're like kind of like cutting edge trend, you know, so going in there and going and there was like this big room filled with sale stuff just going in there and looking what's on sale what are the colors that people don't like anymore? You know what are what are the styles that people are what air the motifs, you know is it arrows that air out now is it you know squirrels that air in like what you know is it geometrics? Is it what is going on? Is that all circles right now? You know, is that what's in the sale, ben and just and just see what what is going on? Are people going to want to buy this thing and also getting feedback from your online audience? So, you know, reaching out to them that's what one of the great things I must was like my phone, but this is so not my phone, but that's one of the great things about pretend this is a phone about social media, you know that's your chance to have this like more personal connection with your customers and to share something that they you know don't get just by going to your website and reaching out and saying like, hey um in my studio today and I was thinking about making a version of this with this yarn what do you guys think you know and getting and getting that feedback really reaching out um the other one the last one on here so anonymous anonymously showing it to friends or family I don't know if you guys are lucky enough to have a friend like this but I have a friend that's like super honest you know and it's like your friend that you go to when you're like how do I look you know and they're like no not so not so good do you have spanx I'm like now I don't we're gonna have to let it go but going to that going that really honest honest friend is great if you don't have that kind of friend you know showing to somebody and saying look what I bought it a craft show what do you think about this? You know, sometimes it will be your close people and they'll know right away that you made it but maybe there is somebody that doesn't so because again nine times out of ten your loved ones are going to be like this is the last thing I have ever seen and I just love it and I love you and like let's go b happy on a camping trip together whatever um you want to think about is your lying cohesive? This is really really a tough one for people to get and it's constantly comes up as a reason why people do not get into our craft show is they don't have a cohesive line because they're making a mme boxes that they're gluing jewels on to and then they're knitting scarves and then they're making hearings and then they're making cards and then they're making uh they're taking clothes from the first turn application on them and it looks like a different artist made all of those things I don't care how many different kinds of things that you do but they have city of cohesion so this is one of our patchwork fenders rock scissors, paper or rock paper scissors but these are their products so they make cards they make mugs I can't really tell what that is but I think I think that these air magnets stuff he's like little plushy stuffed animals, gift tags, no books and and more they make more things than that no problem that is cohesive if you look at this like you see like there's this is actually their booth, not their product color you know what I mean the colors, the motifs, everything has this feeling the customer that likes this mug is goingto like that hard, you know so that's what a cohesive cohesive linus and it's really it's really uh a tricky one took to fully understand but hopefully that what I said like kind of you know brought it out a little bit obviously I have crafting a d d I just told you I just took up leaving last week and I had to create my own loom and I screen print and I make candles and I do all these things and I love having crafting a dvd and some other people in this room have crafting eighty two and that's great but that is good for your hubby so your business you are making a product or products that fit under your brand okay so I'm not telling you not to make all these different things but I'm saying make one perfect it make the best thing of that that you khun dio and then look at it and decide does this fit with my brand is this something that fits with my other products that my customers want and really thinking about that in your free time if you are lucky enough to have any make whatever you want you know and nicole were talking a little bit about how to set up products that are similar someone from online is wondering what about those local craft shows that combine everything for display they have one in november it looks like where they assigned a number and you tagged your products so they put everything together into one large display how do they make their product stand out when it's among random other things you don't you I mean your product just basically has to be awesome you have no control over anything I'm really curious about a show like this so you give them your prat has anybody and you're done this kind of show you have it was like a christmas between type of thing and you bring your goods and then at the end they take all the customers coming with a basket and they grabbed what they like but yeah, you had a little tiny maybe thirteen or but you're not there with your you're no it's not no no we're not there with the product at all we're mixing up so it's basic makes it a store so you make your presentation whatever small space you have you make you make that president shin look awesome so everyone wants to buy from that one section well there it seems like our online friend is doesn't even get to display their own stuff they're just they just give them it's almost like a wholesale thing where you give them the product and they just put put it however they want in their shop honest honestly, I don't want to say don't do that show it sounds like it sounds a little like risky and tricky to me a little bit weird you know, maybe do it once and see what it is if that show cost money I'll be interested to know how much it costs or if they're just charging a percentage I want to know what what the risk is for something like that it makes sense to me and I see a lot of head shaking that that would be like a percentage like drop off your stuff we'll give you you know we'll take twenty percent of whatever cells or whatever or whatever it would be yeah it's kind of like consignment so I hope that you wouldn't be paying for a spot up front at a show like that but to make your stuff stand out your stuff just has to stand out all you have is your product there so your product has to speak for itself make sure your packaging is clear you know it's like I said something like this guy the weaving that I was talking about if uh if I can't be there with my weaving I need to make sure my hand hang tag says everything I need to say my hang tag needs to speak for me so make sure that the product is clearly labeled you know with everything that the customer we need to know because you're not gonna be there to say anything so um going right along with this cohesive this notion of cohesiveness is uh is it well branded so if your product is well branded all of the aspects of your product and your packaging and we're not even talking about booth yet we're not even there all have to be cohesive and I love this this is one of our patrick vendors lagoon assault company and you can see their their logo here it's kind of like worn out a little bit and then look at their box kind of worn out a little bit too and like silver silver you know, like everything is just like really well thought of really well branded like again salt throw that in a ziploc no, but guess what? Holiday times these air my stocking stuffers now everybody knows what they're getting, but whatever I don't think any of my people are watching you are watching this right now what it was like I can't wait to learn about craft shows, but what is packaged up like that total off total awesomeness so keeping keeping that in line with your branding and that what I said about the customer should know that it's yours um okay, now we're going to do a little product critique so you guys are going to start critiquing me? What do you think you guys ready to rip rip me apart? Basically I'm gonna pretend like this is my product and you guys are going to answer these questions so now I'm on the hot seat and everything is going to be just fine uh okay, so first thing we want to think about is is it unique? Is the market saturated? I think that I just went to let west coast craft just earn a and I saw a lot of weeping yeah and horsehair weaving with horsehair somebody trying to take this and be like I love weaving let me do something different so then they were like, oh, I'm going to weave with horsehair and then everybody else was like, oh yeah, me too I'm totally going to leave with horsehair now, you know, which is usually what happens it's like this ban ban way in or maybe it's collective consciousness, who knows? But whatever it is, yeah, however I didn't see a lot of neon, so I think that is unique about it and I am drawn to that personally, I really like it I love your necklace honestly oh, thank you, but I can't imagine how many hours do that. I might not be able to afford it, but it's beautiful it's five million dollars so if anybody wants to buy this necklace for five million dollars, come, come right along just let vanessa know and then I won't be here for the rest of the workshop because I'm on an island, hopefully hanging out with richard branson or something but I enjoyed it through the rest of you could just look through this lives on your own yeah uh yeah so so that's kind of is unique is the market saturated that's kind of yes and no so the market is kind of saturated but we're finding a way to make it unique by working with our materials and our colors so easily replicated anybody yeah little loom is like ages five and up so I think you could show today I think you could totally replicate this I said this was my first time so you're obviously skilled at design because well, I mean I would never be able to clump with that looks really interesting so that is the part that its unique here and that is the part that can't be replicated and that's something important to think about is that design sense that is something that's unique to me. If I gave everybody in here all the materials you guys all got a loom you got all the same yarns and I was like, well, everybody would have something different everybody would have something different in fact my one of my assistants sash friends lindsay I give I give her a loom and she made something I was like, whoa, you know, you don't even you don't even think about it you know because you have your own creativity your own sense of design your own aesthetic and that is it current definitely yeah it's like two current maybe perhaps perhaps it's two current let's see how long weaving last I hope it lasts a long time so awesome it is a remark it for it yes okay is my land cohesive well that's kind of hard to six I don't really have a line but if we were going to say these two things were my line yeah maybe me on is the thing I'm getting ahead shake of no but with the same person that likes this be interested in this yes okay we've got one no tell me what you say no well definitely the person he's interested in the necklace is about wearing the product the person who is interested in the wall hanging is more about their interiors I think they're two different customers one is a lot more bold and wants a lot more detailed I think they look very different personally one looks more natural the other one looks more up cycled I think they look different that's an interest that's an interesting perspective and I I think I think it depends on your customer you know when I'm thinking about mike my customer my customer that would have like a fluorescent they hang in their house we're probably be this I'm thinking about my customer is somebody who is attracted teo handmade I'm thinking about my customer is somebody that is on trend, you know, that knows like this is this is what's happening right now, and maybe a broader product range would tie them into together? Yeah, and also working with working with my materials and kind of linking through there, maybe using a natural color guard mixed in with this I mean, there's so many, so many things we could do here on denizet, is it well branded so, um, about the wall hanging here? I don't think I've ever noticed them anywhere before something I would necessarily by s o when you see what the driftwood and that helped kind of see, but I don't even know what that will look like in my house. So I think that is a huge piece for somebody who's like a novice teo weaving and everything like that, I will be like, it was kind of like a scar, yeah, and I'm like, oh, it goes on my wall and I hang it, so I think that will be a huge piece for somebody who doesn't is not really into that. Yeah, and I think I mean, in my opinion, this product is so not ready, so not ready for market. You know, I talked about the back it's not even ready to hang so what you're like oh, here go get some driftwood and hang this up you know yeah, it would be like okay, I made this and then it was like what kind of driftwood? Um I'm going to use you know, whatever, um making bicycle bags yes, see that that is great when we're talking about a saturated market taking the process weaving looms, making something new out of it making by school bags maybe I mean, this is a really like, thick scarf it's almost like, what do you call it when you get with last thing but this adorable? So maybe you make adorable, like neck whiplash medicine, whatever you call those covers that prices yeah, so maybe you're like selling neck brace covers or something for people who want to be adorable when they're hurt believe the eye I got hurt, I had to get a sling for my arm and I was like, this thing is so ugly like why can't somebody make an adorable sling? And then I was like, okay, nickel, you're you don't have time to make adorable slings, okay? So I think we've all come to the conclusion that this product is not ready for market yet, but with a few changes it could be right okay, it looks like we actually got a response from that one question regarding the craft show it's from t j b who says, I'm the one that posted that question about the craft show that makes one big display, and actually, it does cost to get in, kind of so they get ten percent of your sales on and there's about fifty people, and it looks like they price their own things and it's on the tag itself. There's two tags, and when someone buys it, they keep one tag and give you ninety percent of all of your tax added up, so I don't know if that's something that they charge of feet besides a ten percent, it doesn't say doesn't say now, but it's kind of interesting to see how many there are. Yeah, well, different. When I first started out, I did do some shows that were so living in l, a there's, a lot of like fancy schools, I guess you would call them, and these fancy schools have, like, fancy fundraisers, and so they would have these holiday boutiques, but it wasn't just like any holiday boutique with, like grandma's muffins and, like cousin betty's, like potholders and stuff, it was like a big time, you know, like just really fancy stuff, and, uh, they would charge I think it was, and he was a booth fee, very low, like forty dollars, and then twenty percent. And it was like that where the customer take your product, and then they would check them out. And then you would get your percent. But and you set up your own booth. You sold your own stuff to the customers. They paid for it with this other person.

Class Description


Selling at craft fairs is a big investment of time, money, and resources – it’s also one of the most powerful venues a crafter has for getting products in front of people. In Secrets of Selling at Craft Fairs: How to Get In, Make Sales, and Grow Your Business, Nicole Stevenson teaches you everything you need to know about working the craft fair circuit.

Craft shows are complex affairs. From the application, to the preparation, to the actual hustle there are many variables to plan and prepare for. Nicole has been a vendor at over 300 craft shows and produced over 40 – in this class she'll help crafters make informed, strategic decisions about where to invest their time and effort. You’ll learn how to:

  • Find and apply to the right show
  • Develop your “look” using basic branding
  • Prepare for shows with products, checklists, staff, and a pitch
  • Merchandise and display products for maximum effect
  • Deal with pricing, permits, and taxes

Nicole will offer insights on troubleshooting common challenges so you aren’t left in the lurch without the equipment or information you need to do a great job. You’ll also learn strategies for keeping in touch with customers and building relationships with event producers that last long after the show ends.

The world of craft fairs is complex and it is not always easy finding the right match.  Secrets of Selling at Craft Fairs: How to Get In, Make Sales, and Grow Your Business makes the process of finding your perfect fit as stress-free and fun as possible.

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

I've been growing my business successfully online for the last six years, but hadn't shown my work in person for a decade. As a refresher, I took Nicole's craft show class to be sure that I made the most of the time I would have in front of my customers. Because of the preparedness and mindset that I gained from Nicole's teaching, my show was a huge success. My interactions with the customers, producers, and other vendors were genuine and joyful, building a stronger foundation for future business and relationships. This course took the worry and stress off my shoulders so I could enjoy the opportunity that I had. Thanks, Nicole! Tamara Kraft Pithitude