PACKING FOR THE SHOW
I make a little folder of with all the information that I could possibly need for each show. I use sheet protectors and slide in information and put it in a 3-ring folder and take it with me.
The folder has the following:·
- A copy of the application and any information that came with the application;
- A copy of the cancelled vendor fee check from my bank (you can usually print it online) and/or receipt;
- A copy of my sales tax license (or other business license depending where you live – just bring copies of all that stuff);
- Any emails or correspondence that I have received about the show, including set up information;
- Directions to the show; and
- The coordinator’s phone number for any last minute emergencies.I always take this folder with me so I can always find information if I need it.
In my state, you could be asked for your sales tax id at any time, so you better always have it handy. For my weekly market, I don't have all this information, but I do make sure I have my tax id. This folder has been very important for larger shows and shows that are further away then just my hometown.
Here is a list of the items I bring to every show. I have needed each thing at one time or another, but haven't needed everything at every show. I like to be prepared. You might need some other items, depending on your product or displays and you can add these to the list. I keep most of the items packed all the time because I do a lot of shows and I don’t have to worry about packing each time.
- Tent· Stakes for tent or weights to hold down tent on concrete/pavement (if you are just starting, a tent isn't absolutely necessary. However, if you are doing outdoor shows, you will find that you really need one.
- Products (obviously!)
- Lights and extension cord for evening/night shows
- Business cards
- Signs with business name
- Credit Card Signs
- Any other promotional materials or give-aways you may have
- Knuckle buster to run credit cards (or a card reader or whatever equipment you need for credit card sales if you take them) and Credit Card slips
- Receipt book
- Bags and Tissue paper (or however you wrap or send off your item)
- Cash box (some people like to use an apron) with a lot of change!
- Notepad for ideas or special orders (I have also made up custom order forms)
For the little emergencies:
- Emergency first aid kit (mine is really simple with Band-Aids, alcohol pads, first aid cream and I have only needed Band-Aids)
- Paper towels
- A small bottle of Windex (you may or may not need this. I use it to clean my display jars)
- Wet wipes
- Cough drops, lip balm, hand lotion and hand sanitizer
- Index cards to make last minute signs if necessary (signs blow away, something was misplaced, etc.)
- Pens and a couple of sharpies
- Extra hangtags and ribbon (or price tags, etc.)
- Sunscreen for outdoor shows
- A lot of water – especially if your show is outdoors in the summer
- Snacks (or even pack your lunch/dinner if applicable – you might not be able to get a break to run to get something)
- If you have kids and are bringing them, make sure they have something to occupy themselves – do not learn this the hard way.
This is a pretty inclusive list and you won't necessarily need all of these things. If you are just starting out, don't feel like you need to go out and buy a bunch of stuff...just gradually add things as you go along (this goes for your display as well.)
I like to pack the night before the show if the show is very early. If it isn’t as early, I wait until morning because I don’t like to temp people to break into my car.
Actually, at this point I almost always pack in the morning unless the show is ridiculously early, but I am used to this process and can pack my car, even by myself, in less than 10 minutes.
I also keep mostly everything for shows packed and ready to go and all together almost always, so that makes it easier, too. For your first show, I would pack your car the night before unless you are really worried that it will be broken into. You will most likely be nervous in the morning and will be likely to forget something.
I am a firm believer in NOT making any more inventory the night before the show. You need to relax and be calm. Of course, if doing your craft will relax and calm you, then do so. Just don’t worry about how many more thing-a-ming-jiggers you can get done before the show.
I also do not like to have to price items the night before the show. Ideally, you should do this as you make the items so you make sure you know you are pricing them correctly and also to avoid the last-minute stress of trying to price your entire inventory.
There is a lot of discussion about what to wear at a craft show. There is also a great variety in what vendors wear. Obviously, different shows will call for different dress. For example, a weekly market will likely be much more laid back than a jurored show. Your personal style will also dictate what you will wear.
These are the tips I follow and think are important and have picked up from here and there. I do want to stress, however, I do not judge people based upon dress and find it completely unacceptable to do so. But on the other hand, you are representing your business and others may judge your outfit along with your overall stand.
1. You must be comfortable. You will likely be standing on your feet from the time you are loading your car to come to the show until you get home to unload. Comfortable shoes are immensely important.
2. You need to look professional, at least in context with what you are selling. For example, it would probably not be appropriate for someone selling high-end jewelry to be dressed in a pair of cut off jean shorts and a t-shirt. You don’t need to wear a dress or “dress up,” especially if it isn’t comfortable for you, but it is important to dress somewhat in context to what you are selling.
3. My mother cannot stand to see people in jeans selling crafts. My boss cannot stand to see jeans period. Although I disagree with both of them, there are probably others who feel the same way they do. I usually don't wear jeans at shows. I don't know if that is very important or not, but I will put it out there. My mom and boss may very well be the exception.
4. My usual dress for a summer show is a skirt, dress shirt and sandals. This is my usual outfit for the summer generally speaking. You may be more comfortable in a nice pair of pants. The main idea is to look well put together and nice. I sell whimsical and fun jewelry, so I wear clothes that can coordinate well with my jewelry and my stand. In the winter, I wear layers. The temperature inside might be cold, hot or anywhere in between!
5. If you sell something you can wear, wear it! (i.e. clothes, aprons, jewelry, headbands, pins, etc.)
Sorry for the slight delay in posting....I was having issues with blogger everytime I tried to post. The next segment in this series will be posted (barring any technical difficulties) tomorrow (Saturday)