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

Lesson 30 of 39

Product Loss Prevention

 

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

Lesson 30 of 39

Product Loss Prevention

 

Lesson Info

Product Loss Prevention

One of the things that can throw you for a loop is people stealing your stuff. This is always a big a big bummer, huh? It's really important to protect you think we think about our our money, you know, and protecting our money, but also protecting our ideas and our products? Uh, story time I, uh, there was a time that I was very glad I wore my running shoes to a craft show, I was in san francisco and sharing a booth with someone, and this girl came in my booth and right away, you know, you just learn to read people when you're working with them so much and right away, I felt something off, you know? I didn't know what it was, but she was, you know, well, dress and friendly, and she was in my booth for probably forty minutes trying stuff on, and I noticed that she wasn't looking at the sizes of things she tried on actually a kid's shirt, and it was just like this, and it was just really weird, but I needed to stay with her because I felt like she was going to steal, so it just attracted...

me from my other customers, you know, I didn't have an assistant with me to help out so that that was kind of a bummer and, uh and then at one point, I just I couldn't spend any more time with her, and so I started helping other customers. And then that was a point when she grabbed a bunch of my stuff and took off and the person I was sharing the booth with was like that girl, just a bunch of stuff go getter or what? You know, I'll stay here, so I thought about it for a second. I'm I gonna chase this person or not, and I weighed that that pause, and then I just took off and I just started bolting down the street, and this is an outdoor street fair and hayes valley. So I was bolting down past boots and I could see her like, far up ahead, bolting, building, bolting. She starts running, she runs into this like, fancy store and there's. This guy in there is just, like, very fancy, and I and I run in there and I'm like theo, super fancy store and he's, like covered in covered in sweat. I just looked like a panting hobo and he's a. Did you see a girl in here? I think she's a drug addict you what are you talking about? I'm like, ah, girl just stole way stuff and he was like, I don't know somebody somebody just came, came in here, you know? And I went after her and I was like, hi, you know, I had to catch my breath, obviously and I was like, hi, I'm nicole, you were just in my booth. I know you stole stuff from my booth. I'm really disappointed you're at a craft show, all of us are making our stuff from we're making it by hand, I put my blood, sweat and tears into those t shirts is that you stole time away from my family time away from my friends up all night not taking care of myself for those shirts. I hope you really need them and I just walked away and that was it, and that was enough for me. I didn't want my stuff back at this point, and she was just standing there standing there like this, and I just left I didn't even give her a chance to say anything. I don't know if that's best, we'd handle it, but that was how I handled it, and that felt good to me that that I felt empowered by that, you know, like you need it more than me go ahead by so let's talk about how to protect your stuff so that that doesn't happen to you okay, one of my points I'm drilling home just catch to this stuff on me and then I can stop stay saying it and it's just like assistant price for profit branding what was the other yeah so uh your assistant is going to reduce that stress and when you're less stressed you're able to pay attention to things more so you're you're more aware you're really seeing what's going on and you get those second set of eyes you know, I was lucky that I had that booth partner who saw that happen, you know, now that I got my stuff back but I mean, I probably could have you know, um you wantto you know, we talk about that assistant you want to make sure that they're they're trained that they know what to dio you know, like what my dad calls me somebody's in your booth right now you know you want to train that assistant to handle that situation so okay, here's what you do if you think that somebody if somebody's rubbing you the wrong way and you think that they might be a thief a stealer bad bad dude, bad lady you know here's what you do if you catch someone stealing you know, here is how we protect for that this is what we look for, so you train them and then, uh, figuring out those those duties ahead of time, you know, so that you're you're not in there wasting your time doing other stuff when you could be actually working. So we used to protect your money. My favorite way I like is just keeping it on me in an apron. You saw a picture of me earlier in a booth, this is debra rebbie, and she makes this this is actually an apron here, so but it's, like it's super cooled something she makes, and it has these pockets in it, so she's got everything on on her all the time, you know? And then she has another thing, you can't see it, but it's underneath it's like a bell thing that goes underneath her shirt. So it's like large drops of bills in there, you know, change here, I always like tio, you know, do hourly drops of large bills if I'm in a really busy show so that I'm taking out some of those twenties or hundreds or fives and putting them either in another pocket if I'm keeping everything on me or under, if I'm using, uh, cash box in the next layer and then, uh my dad taught me this trick, which is rap with your with your small bills facing out so you get your ones, your fives, everything goes in because when you open up and it's just like twenty, twenty, twenty first of all your customers just like boom, you're rolling in the dough like maybe I should I'd start doing craft stuff and getting and getting a booth so rap rap, rap it with your money facing out and then never put you know, if you have one of those students as an assistant or you have, you know, you reached out on your social media don't put that person in charge of your money, you know, just be in charge of it yourself. This is actually my business partner to lyla and that's, your friend who's, a cop so that's a fake picture, but I thought it was pretty appropriate for this, so you can tell by the way, that he's smiling, they know each other and then protecting your product's so for two days shows or shows where you set up the day before don't leave your stuff there unless you feel comfortable. If you want to ask the producers if they have insurance, you know, or if there's something in place, if something happens, ask them you have every right to ask that a lot of vendors will just set up their stuff and then take their product or we'll set up their product and then put a sheet on top you know I don't think his sheets going to prevent anybody from picking it up and looking at what's underneath there but you do what you're comfortable with so that you feel protected and keeping expensive items you know you have higher price things like maybe fatima is you know, doing her wedding she has some samples of you know what her wedding rings would look like instead of just a picture an actual sample you keep that back by you you know those are probably going to be made out you know out of a finer material they're going to be more expensive their custom so keeping that stuff you know really really insight checking your inventory often just looking around and see and you know seeing keeping inventory keeping inventory of your stuff what do you have when you go to that show what do you have it's still a home what what are you selling that day keeping track of that I mean that's just that's something so basic that it took me so long to think of is keeping inventory you know it was just like I make the stuff I put in a bit I take it to show I sell it then I philip that been with more stuff and make it but you're when you're keeping inventory or think about what is selling, what is selling, where, what colors with sizes on then just watching your customers like we talked about watching, watching, observing them, which you'll get better at over time, and then letting customers know that you're there, you know? So we talked about, like, looking busy, but engaged, like I contact those customers high that's it they know you're there, you know, it's not hey, you know, and then protecting your ideas, this is a big this is a very, very, very big big deal, especially in the crash. Oh seen larger stores, I won't mention any names send employees to craft shows to go scout for new stuff, so they're looking for those emerging emerging ideas, so they send people there, so pay attention to, you know what people are buying when somebody walks into your booth and they just kind of, like, grab a bunch of random stuff, you know, maybe it's not it doesn't even seem like it's for the same person, or they're not paying attention to sizes, you know, you think about that, and that kind of will alert you to that. Not to say that you're going to say, I can't sell this to you, are you? Could be planning on stealing my idea, but just so you know, and be aware, you know oh, this awesome, like I love I love making stuff. Do you ever make stuff? Oh, really? You don't. What kind of work do you d'oh boom! I did that before, and it was a scout from a huge department store because she was just like buying kids clothes, buying a mensch. Herb, I miss buying that. Not looking at prices and not looking at sizes. And I was like, this seems weird. Yes, sure enough she gets. She did give me her business card, which I was like. Thanks. Yeah. Uh, it happened, terry, once that someone was taking a picture of my jury without even, like, asking me first. And it was like, what are you doing, lee? I don't mind if you want to take pictures, but I just want to know, like, why and what are where are you going to do with those big cher's? So, yeah, it was food. It is rude. Um, I mentioned that here have a have a no photo sign or products or copyrighted sign. If you are fine with people taking photos great, if you're not let them know or please ask before taking photos personally for me, I take a lot of photos all the time. I always have my camera with me and I when I travel, I'm taking photos in shops. I'm taking photos at craft fairs and I'm walking on patchwork, taking photos and not everybody knows that I'm the producer, so I always introduce myself. Hi, I'm nicole, I'm the co producer of this show. Thank you so much for being here. Do you mind if I think a few pictures of of your booth? Oh, yeah, that's awesome or someone people will say, yeah, that's fine, but I don't want to be in it. Can you just take it of my stuff? Sure, no problem. So just that that asking and I recommend that when I go into a brick and mortar store or even like a restaurant, they say, hey, I write, I, you know, I have a creative, a creative blogger idea why blawg lifestyle blogged and, you know, I'm writing about my trip. Do you mind if I take a few pictures inside your store? You know, I'll be sure to link to it. I've never had somebody say no, but just that you know, being aware you don't want to put in that awkward position, and the last thing is, you know, copyrighting again that's going to cost you a little bit of a little bit of money you have to decide what you know what what where is the important priority place for you to spend your money right now? Uh okay, now we're goingto reach out to you guys and talk about if you've ever experienced product idea theft at a craft show we just got one that was like it's not necessarily theft but it was definitely an invasion of privacy that was unwelcome right? So yeah, I've actually had people take pictures and and continue to take pictures after requested toe not take pictures really like I mean just the sort of vibe of like because quickly scanning things are inches cooking just like click click, click, click and I was like no no did you hear me? I said no and she was just like, oh yeah, I'm not taking pictures and she continued to do it wow, yeah this is going to depend on your personality first sure, but at that point I would say, you know, I'm I'm getting the security, you know? And even if there isn't security to show I just be a security, you know but again it's going to depend on your personality if you want to start a fight or not that's horrible I'm so sorry that happened to you weird yeah, rebecca, it wasn't the actual theft, but it was an idea that I was at a very early on in my business, and I've only been in business for three years. So is a couple of years ago, but I was out an outdoor show, and I just had a really small table, and there was someone across from me actually making laser cut stuff on, and I thought it was they have really cool, interesting things on dh I was selling quite a bit, and then the next show that I did, they were next to me, and they basically made a laser cut version of my pillows. Oh, honestly, that makes me very sad. And even to this day, when I see it hurts my stomach, but so you see this, you see this often? Yeah. And then I saw the person out in the wild, and he knew wild, and I saw them in their natural habitat. He said to me, oh, he was with someone, and he was like, oh, this is rebecca bowl, and I was late. You stole my eye, and I think what really hurt me was that I would have totally collaborated because I'm never going to make leisure cut versions, it just sort of was, like, weird, and it made me I mean he acknowledged that he was inspired by my work but it's still really buying me so inspired by your work and create an entire line based on yeah fine fathers will use but especially I think if you know someone and you're running in the same scene teo e mean rebecca just said that if he would have asked you would have been happy to collaborate total maybe that collaboration would involve a profits but maybe that collaboration would just involve like cross promotion like me who know you know hey you you make this is inspired by needs a collaboration all sell in my shop you selling yours will be directing people to each other stuff I mean, there are so many so many different ways so you know, that goes back to what we talked about about asking you know and like being scared to like, reach out and scared and scared to ask he said I have had some people recommend that I watermark photos just because you know what I do can be replicated and I don't think you can copyright that but there's been some cases where it's just so egregious that they they take your picture and they put it to their their feed claiming it their idea so there are no instruments or something a lot yeah, well even used whatever the product was it was like the day they she oh yeah, I mean, they're they're so money and everything is changing so fast with social media and all of this and the laws are changing I really recommend you know, getting getting a consultation from an intellectual property attorney that specializes with increase business um score is a really good resource for that score. It's what does that stand for the small anyway, don't they help they help it's ah free resource that helps you with business questions. They have retired business people, business people there that are there to offer you help and advice so it's a it's a really it's a really awesome resource um I had an idea theft before you people charge they're definitely relating to a lot of these stories barry says I've had a child walk away with something but that was obviously easily rectified a fantastic says one lady tried to use the stroller to steal stuff under a baby blanket. Wow carol says I spent a couple of three a couple of three years teaching our drawing, painting bookmaking and was shocked to see someone want to steal project ideas so again just reiterating the same thing. Yeah, I think that actually brings up an interesting point this wasn't something that I was planning on talking about when we talk about teaching, you know, teaching, teaching our process and a lot of us now are thinking about multiple income streams you know and getting outside of that just making stuff so we're thinking about, you know, selling kits or pdf patterns that are, you know, downloaded downloadable in our shop and we're thinking about teaching and educating and you need to think about that you need to clearly mark your your patterns somebody you you were talking about a book kathleen and it was you were talking she was talking about a book I had, uh, pattern for patterns for purses, you know, and whether or not she could use that people usually are very clear like this is intended for personal use only, so protect yourself by protecting your ideas but you also want to protect yourself by not overstepping the bounds and if you're questioning it google it you know, that's a that's, a good place to start and then if the information isn't clear than reach out to a lawyer, a lot of times consultations like that are free. This was a time when I was at that flea market and I used to make these make up bags and it was just like a like a simple gus it'd make up bag like what? Like what you were looking at, but it was made out of oilcloth special id my tag in a certain place and it was sewn on in a certain way and whatever and I made three for specific size is kind of odd. Size is one was like really long and tall and skinny and open from the top like an eyeglass case. And I had a friend at the market who made made purses and I'm a person's, too. And then one week I went to her booth and somebody was like, you need to go check out global blows booth right now, and I went over there and I was like, oh, and she was like, I'm sorry, and I was like, yeah, you should be on like, this totally sucks. You're really bumming me out. She had made same exact shapes, same tag placement except her name, same way of sewing the tag on everything was just a different fabric, you know, that wasn't something I could go to a lawyer for, but it was just a bummer. You know, when I was a friend, so really think about that stuff. Seek legal counsel when needed and also use your community, reach out to each other. You guys are the best resource is

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

user-1b0a09
 

It was an awesome experience. I learned so much from Nicole. She is entertaining and so knowledgeable that I feel I left the show with soooooo much info. I loved being in the studio audience, I met so many great people, crafters and new friends I feel we all became one big support for each other. I am putting to good use everything I learned. I look forward to coming back to Creative Live for another learning experience. Craft Show Secrets taught me all the ins/outs of craft shows ...I'm excited for my next craft show. Time to Create!!!

Lisa Jones
 

Great Class! Full of practical information + tools about how to REALLY succeed doing shows. I have attended many a craft show and found an enormous amount of useful tips. I especially loved the bonus material! Thank you Nicole and Creative Live for keeping it real + FUN!!

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