So you’re sitting in your gorgeous new booth, watching customers walk buy. Some of them glance your way, some stop and browse, some keep on going without stopping…it can be disheartening. Or as I’ve heard teenagers call it – a BUZZKILL.
Or maybe you’re so busy you’re wondering why you didn’t ask someone to come help, you’re making sales left and right, maybe you’re starting to run low on stock…it can be exhilarating. Or as I’ve heard teenagers call it – a BANGIN’ TIME.
Either way, you better be ON YOUR GAME. And this was something I touched on in a previous post. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve walked by a booth where the artist was frowning, on their phone, arms crossed, general body language telling me they were not having a good time and they were going to let you know it. And I can equally tell you how many times people have come by our booth because we were having a good time and they wanted to know what all the fuss was about.
Now that crowd didn’t necessarily lead to sales, but the minute a customer walks into your booth, a sale is made – either on the spot or in the future – a customer will remember you based on your attitude. Not only that, I can’t tell you how many times show organizers scoped us out and then invited us to future shows. So a great way to find out about potential show opportunities is by having your GAME ON while at your show.
Naomi Dunford of Ittybiz gives FANTASTIC advice on selling to your audience. I have subscribed to several of her marketing courses and each time, I’ve learned invaluable strategies for making a show work for Book-Inz. I strongly suggest you find a small crafty biz consultant that connects with you and follow them. There are several in the industry, not necessarily wholly geared towards crafty businesses, but a lot of their advice and direction can be used in our craft business. Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl is another one.
Another aspect of being at the show is keeping track of sales. Everyone has a system that works for them, whether it’s a spreadsheet, an inventory tracking system, or just writing things down on a piece of paper as items are sold. But there’s more to a crafty business than just what you sold. Some of the things you need to remember is that the fee you pay for your booth is tax deductible, BUT, it’s also a cost associated with your show. Many times you’ll hear another crafter say, “I made my booth fee.” That just means they’ve sold enough to make back the money they spent. They’re not profiting, but neither are they at a loss. I really don’t have a tracking system I can recommend because Book-Inz is pretty simple. I only bring X amount of each Book-Inz and then take inventory when I get home. Easy peasy.
I have been asked about show tracking and what I can tell you is that there are several types out there. Handmadeology.com has a Show Sales Tracking Spreadsheet. I’ve never used it, but as with everything else I’ve gotten from that website, I imagine it’s not only good, but worth the money. Sometimes, making your own spreadsheet works for the interim, because no one knows the details of your business better than you do and a one size fits all system may not address everything you need/want to track.
At a minimum, you should be tracking your sales, the booth fee, meals, travel (mileage), lodging, cost of goods (I base this on raw costs), and other expenses (such as marketing, printing, etc). Just remember that while it may seem like you’re operating at a loss now, once tax time rolls around and you’re deducting all those expenses, you might come out ahead. And it generally takes a couple years to break a profit out of all those expenses. Don’t despair. You just might be the one who has the next big thing and no worries for anything ever again!
All of this to say – there’s still work to be done! Craft shows are not just a set up your tent and sell your wares kind of thing. But I also want you to know that while it’s hard work getting out there and putting a face to your crafts, it’s also just so much fun getting out there and meeting people who are as in love with what you create as you are. It gives me such a thrill when strangers come into our booth and tell me how much they love their Book-Inz! It means I’m not the only weirdo in the world who thinks Book-Inz are awesome!
And it will mean someone else finds your creations just as valuable and amazing as you do. That’s a feeling no one can duplicate.
Until next time, Keep Calm and Read On! And if you have a question, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I am happy to answer your questions!
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