Sunday, May 9, 2010

Arts and Craft Shows....Good, Bad, Beautiful, and Ugly!

Since I began selling the jewelry and accessory items that I design, I have found that one way of promoting my jewelry business is by participating in art and craft shows in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  This has been both rewarding and frustrating at times.  At my first show I had no idea of what to expect.  Would they like my things? Would they be priced too high or too low? Would there be a lot of people there? Did I have enough inventory to show?  Maybe I would sell everything and then have to start over!

Now, with 6 shows under my belt, I have become a good judge of what is good, great, bad, or just plain ugly in the way of craft shows.  Read up!

1.  Timing.........if the show is too close to a holiday, people won't come and buy....because they already bought.  If it is on a weekend of a holiday, people are getting ready to go out of town, or are already gone.
..........slow people traffic
2. Promotion ....Show organizers are going to make money whether the vendors do well or not. They have their money up I now know to ask what kind of promotion advertising the organizer will be doing.......and ask to see the printed materials and dates for those ads.  New promoters will often think they can just pocket the money and not do anything to produce buyers at the show....News alert!  If there are not many people there........the vendors will not participate a second time.
3.  Types of vendors showing.  If every other booth is offering the same as your product, you may have too much variation in product and it will just confuse the shopper.  They cannot decide what they want when earrings are $25.00 at one booth, and $6.00 at the booth down the way....Shoppers often don't take the time to find out what the differences in the products may be.
4.  Music........If there is entertainment at the must appeal to a wide variety of people.  The music should make the shoppers enjoy the experience, not make them want to flee the area.
5.  Concessions........Vendors need a place to get a snack, drink, etc. Promoters who do not think of this, are not thinking of the vendors who are counting on them for comfort, traffic, etc.  Vendors will feel unimportant..frustrated .i.e. you just wanted my booth fee, but did not want me to like your show.
6.  Good Promoters make everything as easy for vendors as possible when checking in and out.  They ask for feedback about the show...was it what you expected?...How can we improve?  etc.

I love the opportunity to meet my potential customers at various shows...and I like it when I see repeat customers...It is like seeing an old friend!  I also like visiting with the vendors who I have often met before at other shows.  They are helpful and I am finding a vendor network who is willing to share other really good information with me....

If you have been to a craft show recently either as a Vendor or a Buyer..please take the time to tell us about your impression of the show.

I am always looking for new shows and venues....I love to craft my jewelry and accessories and offer it to the people who will appreciate it........

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