Introduction: How to Have a Successful Craft Show Experience

 

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

 

Lesson Info

Introduction: How to Have a Successful Craft Show Experience

So let's talk about how to have a successful craft show experience and I feel like a broken record already the importance of preparation this's me right here I almost was thinking about putting like one of those black bars over my eyes but then I realized I had to say that this was me so everybody would know anyway, I wanted to share with you guys a little bit about how I started and how craft shows have influence and impacted my life, my creativity and my business. So this is me I kind of look like a grandma slash hobo in that picture I'm realizing which apparently was my look at that time on this is at a flea market in hollywood and this was the, um really the first place I ever kind of seriously, you took my business seriously at craft shows and I remember I remember that feeling uh when I went to the flea market to kind of check it out and another bender there I started talking to him and he was like, you should you should you make stuff you should sell it here. Okay, well, what do...

I d'oh? Well, you get on the waiting list? Well, the waiting list turned out to be a line of cars that were rating I I see you shaking your head you know what I'm talking about okay, yeah so you're waiting in this line I had to be there three o'clock in the morning, okay? And you're waiting in this line of cars hoping that a regular vendor that has a booth isn't going to show up and then they start giving spots to the people that are waiting so I know someone harm for two o'clock in the morning I don't even know if I slept got their three I'm in my car had didn't really think about the fact that it's probably freezing in the middle of the night I'm not usually awake at three o'clock in the morning, so I'm in there freezing. Luckily I made t shirts, which you can see some of them there so I just started putting my t shirts on and then kind of like fashioning them into a t shirt blanket and kind of kept myself warm that way and um I was really poor at that time I was really making a go at being an artist I didn't have a job e job or anything like that I had forty dollars in my bank account and the booth fee for that show was thirty dollars, so if I was lucky enough to get in, I would have ten dollars left afterwards, so I was really I was really hoping to get in because I needed to turn that forty dollars into something more um so I got into the show and that first week I thought that I did really well I sold like two hundred dollars worth of stuff and people were excited to see my stuff and I celebrated by going to carl's jr which was like basically like eating filet mignon and you know, lobster crab it was just I took my my roommate out there and it was just like, oh my gosh, we're out to dinner so the next week I I went back I didn't have to wait in that line anymore because I had already had a spot that first week and I went back and I was ready to go I was so excited I was like, here comes the money going to make it happen and then I'm there and I'm like, okay, two hours have gone by I haven't sold anything what's going on and then I sold something I was like, ok, cool great I sold something and then by the end of the day I hadn't sold that much can't remember exactly what I sold it was definitely not two hundred dollars but I started realizing throughout the day that the customers that were coming were the same people I had seen the week before, so the first week I was there they were like, oh my gosh like look at this new thing this is so rad and then the second week I was there they were like, oh my gosh yeah we saw you last because it going and then they would leave so I kind of figured that out and the next week I made some news stuff I also rearranged my booth so I put, like, different things in the front. I put a different outfit on the mana can a kind of highlighted different products products and then the next week I did better, so that was kind of my first, my first lesson in paying attention to where you're at, you know, what works now might not work the next time and also being prepared because I should have thought ahead and realize it would have been cold in the car so I wouldn't have been freezing. And then this is one of my later booths. Eso you khun tell that I got a little bit better at booth booth display whereas this time this is one of those plastic shelves it's like twenty dollars, that I mean there's no branding there. I don't know why I have that visa thing on there. That was my credit card sign, which I thought I was being really smart um and then I kind of started branding I actually have a business name on a sign here uh, I want to share with you a little bit about my path after that flea market. So here I did the flea market. We just talked about that that led tio me selling my art. I was doing paintings along with the clothing and stuff back then and then I started producing art shows, sold hundreds of pieces of my art. In fact, a couple months ago, I was watching tv and my with my cousin, and he was, like, isn't that one of your paintings? And was hanging on the wall in a tv show, and I had no idea, but because I was in hollywood, they were just stylists and set decorators always going down there. So that was a really awesome thing that came out of it. And then I built my clothing line, which was called random nicole. I sold it over two hundred fifty stores. I mean, I did hundreds and hundreds of craft shows. I had, um wholesale reps, which are people who take your, uh, products and sell them to stores and did trade shows, which are where wholesale buyers goto place orders for products. And then I started teaching die, why workshops and really got interested in war in the teaching part and kind of the empowering people part and opened up my own brick and mortar store, which, you know, taught workshops and had ah independent designers goods then I cofounded patchwork show with my business partner and aunt delilah and that started out in a parking lot with twenty vendors and now we have many locations you know, hundreds of vendors closing down streets and then I started getting back to the making part you can see I kind of go back and forth between helping people and making so then I started getting back to the making part again and started doing illustration uh for my for my business show until design studio and then I cofounded craft cation conference which is a business and makers conference which thinks he's been too so we have some of your audience that's been there and this whole time I mean this is like uh over a decade so maybe thirteen years everything started from that flea market and this entire time I have been making a living off of my creativity and whether it's me making something or me helping other people make something and it all started with a flea market like I like I said my biggest lesson that I learned was being prepared and organized through all of that if I wasn't prepared organized I would've never been able to do anything I wouldn't be here with you today being able to share this knowledge from over ten years of producing and vending and having businesses I wouldn't be able to do that unless I was prepared and organized okay, enough about me I feel like you guys know me really well right now and it's awesome but I want to know you guys a little bit better I love to hear from our audience online and our audience is sitting right here with me a little bit about about you so I want to know if you sold it a craft show before if you have how many you've sold at and then we'll just kind of go from there and see I feel like other questions they're going to pop up I want to know so many things about you guys so, uh does anybody in here in this room with me juana share has anybody okay? We'll just start by hand raising if you have sold at a craft show before please raise your hand okay if you sold it more than three craft shows please raise your hand okay if you sold it more than ten please raise your hand. Okay. Um does anybody want to share what they make? Don't make me call on you I makes laser cut jewelry and souvenirs and steampunk christmas ornaments. Okay, also how many craft shows have you sold that there are these that counted it's lisa dozen okay, so that's great we're going to talk in just a second. I could I have another question to ask you but not yet okay anybody else? Yeah you know, one say your name to least jones. I do leather goods. Um, handbags, bracelets, belts, jewelry, all out of leather. And how many craft shows have you? So I've been doing cross shows, including farmers markets and festivals. Yeah, for four years. So I think maybe twenty? Yeah, do it like a booth second and fourth sundays. Okay, so you have a regular market is a regular market with regular customers. That's us that's kind of what I did at the flea market was having that regular market with regular customers. Man, I learned so much so, so much to tell you what? When they get to know you. Yeah, it's like free market research too, you know? And yeah, I feel like all of that. So I have done starting with that flea market was kind of like being in this, um, advance like, sinker swim business school where it's like, learn this or starve to death, you know? I mean, it wasn't literally going to starve to death, but, you know, it's that that really intense, intense way and like, learning by doing is pretty awesome and it's also really a safe place to try new stuff and get honest feedback totally, yeah, we're gonna talk about feedback for her does anybody online wanna sharing way have tons of comments coming in okay mom becca says I have sold at a couple and felt like a chicken with my head cut off ready to give it to go better prepared so she's definitely tuning in learning from that preparation scale of about and he says I tried making our and selling at local shows right out of college I felt like a failure so turned to really job world I'm recently to get him to a point where you know she's leaving her day job to dive back into our and selling mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm anybody else you want to say anything? How many can I? Because I can't any shows have you sold that rebecca well, last year I because of my friend drug me tio craft show every single weekend oh, which was a little intense and I do not recommend doing that, but I did learn quite a bit. So, um we're so lucky here in san francisco that we can do a crash. I think you could do one every single day if you want it. Um yeah, but yeah, that was a very intense experience and I felt like I was either at my sewing machine making things or I was at a show selling things, so I did almost fifty shows last year wow, which was intense and I don't recommend it but yeah, it was a really good learning experience and then we somehow got the crazy idea to produce a craft show too so we did that tells people tell people what what you what I do yeah okay and then you're kind of side thing tio okay, well, my name is rebecca and I have a business called doodle doodle and I make what I call whimsical home decor pillows I always say I'm making the world more huggable um and they're all made from reclaimed materials actually from the design center here in san francisco so really high end textiles I also co lead the san francisco at c team, which is a collective of etc artisans we have over fourteen hundred members, so, um it keeps me busy yeah, rebecca like me, you're kind of on I mean, I'm very this much on the making side now, yeah, but you're you know you're on the making site, but you're also on the kind of community and organizing site. Exactly. Yeah so so excited to hear your perspective and what I can learn one of the things I'm gonna move on because I have more questions to ask you one of the things that I I just community community community that I want to do is start building our community now a z mentioned earlier I work by myself and carry cheapen who's a fellow creative live instructor and if you have not washed her classes please go wash them right now she is just inspiring in mind blowing when I first got to know her I actually interviewed her and she said this just fell out of her mouth when I was interviewing her creative work is for the most part solo and we crave community so so true right? I mean you can't just all be chickens you know it has to be people too, so we've already kind of experience some of the things that we've gotten from from community so support I already feel really supported by you guys this is just and this is just starting and just, you know, also hearing from our online audience too and we've already started sharing you know, our struggles and our triumphs with each other and you know, I I love my husband I love my friends I love my family I love the people in my life but there is something different talking to somebody that knows more about what you're going through. You know? Um right when I told my husband I'm gonna I'm gonna do a creative life he was like, oh cool what's that and then people people my community were like, oh my gosh that's amazing, you know, it's like it's just having that intimate knowledge of your industry is a different kind of sharing and support and stuff on dh and then that same thing with feedback you know, the feedback that we get from somebody that knows like let's say let's say that I made this necklace and I was like, hey, what do you think mom and she's like that is adorable? I love that necklace oh my gosh, yes, totally, but showing it to somebody that knows is like, okay, well, looks like it took you a long time to make that maybe rebecca would say that looks like it took you a long time to make that. Do you think you're gonna be able to sell that for what you need to sell it for, to make a profit on it, you know, somebody that doesn't know about that stuff wouldn't even think to ask that and one of the other things when I was just talking about carrie is getting that inspiration, you know, like we inspire each other, you know, when you're when you have people in your creative community that air like making it doing and, you know, all that stuff I so the conference that I coproduced with my partner delilah craft cation is, you know, four hundred makers and creative business people, some people are just there to make some people are there, you know, to build their business but when I am there, I never feel more inspired in my life and it's so much work and preparation and all that stuff putting it together but like it so I so look forward to it you know it's like you're walking around use feel like oh, I belong here all these people are different but we all have this commonality and this is where I belong and I wantto work on building our community now in person and online bring it together so I wantto I want to talk about we kind of talked about this almost started touching on this but I want to talk about what are some of our biggest craft show obstacles so everybody in in this room has done craft shows I know somewhere people are online have as well so I want to know about you know what? What is it that's your obstacle like what lead you what led you to this class? You know, if you don't have any obstacles, I don't think you would be here right now, right? Oh boom we've already got your ready I've got a few obstacles but one of them of course is pricing and the other thing is picking the right show for my products have a really hard time deciphering there's like like a gazillion shows out there and sometimes I go and I'm like what ah I'm like a fish out of water there's no products even close to what I'm doing I am so excited that you said those things because we're talking about this and we're talking about that like at length that I'm here okay good good um yeah I don't want to give give too much away but this is very important the right show um very very important it doesn't matter how awesome your stuff is if it's not getting in front of the right people nobody's going to buy it so yeah to apply confidence to apply got on luna from online says for her it's keeping high energy up throughout the day and being a sales person when I'm an introverted okay so at the show hoops this writing is getting a little messy I think I'm too excited at the show and then um selling uh selling an energy in korea is really hard to inventory in what way having enough knowing what to have not wanting to have toe float it all back and take it home callie and the charon says she's concerned about how knowing how much product to prepare for a good one e I sell multiple things know in which products I should take uh and flower you're gonna have to come up here so I would call that having a cohesive line okay anybody else have anything to add? Yes getting getting in having enough money sometimes to make adequate inventory mmm. Mmm mmm. Mmm mmm. Um, there's a lot of stuff, and he does have a lot of obstacles. No, but this makes me happy. Uh, because I'm not happy that you guys have obstacles, but I'm happy that I'm talking about that. We're going to talk about all of these obstacles. I had no idea where your obstacles were, so I was just kind of hoping that they would be things that were going to talk about, um, so you have had by the end of this class, you guys are going to conquer those officer holes, and you're also going tto be successful and achieving your goals. I talked about how we're going to figure out which goals are right for us and how to get those and then you're going to grow your business, build your community, which were were already like khun, basically check that off our list right now, we already have our we already started building our community, and you're going to make money so that you can do more of that stuff that you love, which is making and getting those awesome feelings.

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