Tag Archives: craft business

Crafty Business #4 – At the Show

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 book-inz@att.net, I am happy to answer your questions!

And if you’re curious about Book-Inz, click here to view our latest offerings!

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Book-Inz Random Thoughts: Craft Shows

I’m not sure why but I am frequently asked about how to get into the craft show circuit.  I am no expert and I don’t claim to be.  We did do about two shows a month last year and I guess people think doing that many shows gives us an edge?  At any rate, I find myself repeating the same things over and over to different people until I finally decided to put it in writing so I can refer them here.

What I’m planning is a Wednesday series on the various topics related to getting into the craft show circuit.  I’m not sure how many posts this will entail, but I assure you at the end of this series you will have the rudimentary knowledge you’ll need to get yourself out in front of the buying public as a professional crafter.

I’ll start by introducing myself today and next week I’ll delve into the first thing you’ll need to do…

My name is Ky (key) and I created Book-Inz, a patent-pending, handmade, fabric magnetic bookmark that stays on your book and in your book till you’re done reading.  It’s very difficult to tell you how it works, Book-Inz has to be seen to be understood, but once you get it, you get why it’s so cool – as many readers can attest! I’ve started calling it Intelligent Bookmarkery.

I am by no means an expert in marketing, sales, or business.  What I am is a seasoned craft show vendor who is also a nerd of epic proportions.  What does this mean for you?  I have a plethora of tips, tricks, ideas, and advice from all I’ve experienced, read, researched, and practiced and I am going to share this information with you.  I am a bona fide, card carrying, don’t-even-need-to-advertise-you-can-just-tell nerd.  Which means I read everything.  Twice.  And sometimes thrice.  Some of it works, some of it doesn’t.  But what did stick and what did work I will be sharing here with you.

And when I say experienced, I really mean experienced.  There have been many memorable moments…and some wish-they-weren’t-so-memorable-moments in my crafty career.  But before I go there, I need to tell you how I got here.  I’m a legal/numbers girl.  I tell people my day job is reading the fine print.  I actually manage contracts between owners and construction companies.  Really fun (for me), really detailed, and really logical.  Book-Inz is my left-brained, creative, and functional contribution to the world of book reading.  Because I’m too logical to leave function behind.  You’ve most likely read or heard the story of how Book-Inz began so I won’t go too much into it here.  Just know that I needed a creative outlet to escape from the corporate life.

I do need to caveat that I live in Texas, therefore my legal tidbits will come from that perspective.  I don’t claim to know how crafty business works in other states, I will leave you something to research after reading this novella. Nor will this information be about online selling.  There is already a wealth of knowledge in that arena and my contribution would be nothing more than regurgitating what has already been said.  What I aim to offer is how to get your crafty business off the ground and start selling at the craft shows – if that is the direction you want to go.

You’re reading this intro because I want you to understand I am just like you.  Or rather, I was you, a couple years and many shows ago.  I had no idea where to start, where to go, what to do…in hindsight, I did a lot of things backwards. But shoulda, woulda, coulda…right? Onward and upward…

See you next week, until then, Keep Calm and Read On!

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