48 Hours

on Nov 19, 2008 in The Business of Craft | 11 comments

Tomorrow I’ll be tracking how many minutes I have left to prepare for La Befana. Thank you to everyone that commented on my last post. Wowza. Pure gold. I’m going to share Candy’s comment because it’s that good!

“So, words of wisdom from someone who has done this before? I have many words, don’t know if they are wise, but…
1. Have you seen this list of craft fair advice from The Small Object?
2. Tote bags look better hanging than sitting. You may even want to stuff them with something so they have lots of shape.
3. I am LIVING the “I’m not going to have enough to sell!” So you only do the best that you can. Every time I have a show, I keep meaning to make some smaller items like simple wallets, etc…and I never get to them, because the profit I would make is so small. I’d rather make one more bag than 10 mini wallets, and the profit would be about the same.
4. Assembly line – make 4 or 5 of something at once. It truly does cut down on the time/item – but freaks you out because none are done until they’re all done.
5. Are you making some of your rubblework scarves? I’ll bet they’ll do well. Do you have a dummy to drape one over – because she would look elegant in a turtleneck, scarf around her neck and totebag on her shoulder!
6. If you’re making notelets & notetakers, the notelets sell better, in my experience.
7. I’m sure you’ve read lots of general advice about this sort of thing, things like wearing comfortable shoes, bringing plenty to eat/drink & duct tape etc… All of that is helpful, but the most helpful advice of all is that you have to engage the customer. You have to figure out when to just say hi and when to schmooze, but interacting with the customer makes all the difference.
8. Give your daughters the task of predating and writing (or stamping) Pink Chalk Studio across a bunch of your sales slips. I ALWAYS flake out on writing all that I want to write on the sales slips – you want to be as quick as possible at the time of sale so that you don’t make the customer wait, plus you want to sell to someone else.
9. Keep your money in an apron or a bag that you keep around your neck – you never want to worry about where that has gone to.
10. Have a pad setup (in a notetaker of course) to add people to your mailing list.
11. Have a space for people to write checks that is separate from where you’re merchandise is. The last picture in this post shows the stand my husband built for this purpose (it’s like a tall, skinny bookcase. I keep plastic baskets with bags and other stuff I need to sell on the shelves accessible on the back. Plus my diet coke.) This is a new addition and I love it – before that people would scoot some notetakers out of the way to write, and I ended up with a notetaker with a pen mark across it – ouch!
12. Have some special order slips made up so you can quickly write those up – if you’d like to do that.
13. Bring some red sticky dots in case someone buys something but doesn’t want to take it just yet – then you can make it sold but keep displaying it…I’ve gotten a few special orders this way.
14. Don’t hold something for someone unless they give you the money.
15. Be prepared with an answer when someone asks for a quantity discount. Um, have two, the nice one and the forceful one when they don’t like your 1st answer.
16. Have fun and rake in the dough!”

Now back to finishing off those 22 mini-wallets!