Saturday, September 22, 2012

Craft Show- Tips and Trends

At my most recent show, my hubby pointed out several things he observed during the show. Some of these observations were trends he noticed before and in the next few events they seemed to prove themselves as situations I wanted to create or avoid. Hubby is a people watcher and he'll often at shows, whisper to me that a certain person is going to buy something. The most bizarre thing is, he does it as the person is leaving my display and more often than not, he's correct because they come back and make a purchase!
The observation that he finds that often leads to a sale is- a crowd at the display and the bigger, the better! When I have several people standing in front of my display tables, it seems that more people see the crowd and get drawn in, like moths to a porch light. Others become curious and just have to see why there is a crowd at my display tables. Because two pieces of sea glass are rarely alike, my jewelry creations are essentially one-of-a-kind creations. And large crowds at my display make those right in front a little antsy, especially if they "love" one of my items. I have watched people have conversations with each other, almost justifying a reason why they are going to make a purchase... upcoming birthday, Put it away for a Christmas present, this is her color, etc. Sometimes it seems like the person feels that this could be there last chance to make the purchase and if they walk away and come back, "their" piece of jewelry will be bought by someone else. So crowds, especially a large and getting bigger crowd, will often facilitate a purchase and there is nothing better than a large group of people seeing someone make a purchase. I rarely make jewelry at a show. It's often just too hectic and I never liked the pressure of doing it in front of people. At my most recent show, I pulled out some jewelry-quality pieces of sea glass and decided I would try to wrap a couple. The foot traffic at the show was good, but sales were slow and hubby has always encouraged me to make jewelry at the show, "on-the-fly". With my hubby and two boys at the tables to talk with anyone who came to my display, I was able to start wrapping without interruption and just got lost wrapping jewelry. I had a nice flow going and after turning several pieces of sea glass into pendants, I looked up to find I had a large audience off to the side of my table, all watching me do my thing. Several inquired if I would consider making jewelry with a piece of sea glass they personally found on the beach, took business cards, and a couple of them made purchases. One person claimed that after they observed the process of how I chose to wrap a piece, it became more personable watching "the artist" create it right in front of them (wow, I'm an artist in somebody's mind!) Crafters, if you can preform your craft live at a show, seriously consider it- it goes back to my first tip- it draws a crowd to your display and that often results in something positive for you. Business cards are a must and if you feel comfortable, jot your phone number down on a few to hand out to those you feel may be a future customer. I went through a lot of cards in my last show and if only 10% of those people contact me in the coming months, that show will go from "above expectations" to "HUGE!!!" Credit Cards- I always accept credit card purchases and have only been burned twice in several years (both for small amounts, but it still gets me angry because sea glass is one-of-a-kind and I'll never find another piece like the one I just "gave away") This last show, I noticed that about 60% of the sales were credit cards, and that most of the mid-range price-point items were purchased via a cc. The lower end price points were cash purchases and the high-end items didn't sell. If you can, bring all of your inventory to the show. I sold a piece that I have had in my inventory for a couple of years. I know that there have been shows when this piece wasn't included in the inventory, but you can't sell what you didn't bring and luckily, this piece has found a new home...and the new owner was thrilled because it's her favorite color!
I'm happy that some people seemed to be in a purchasing mood at the show and I have made a couple of recent sales in my shop. But I am still pessimistic about the economy. I hope things are taking a turn for the better and that sales and future shows (for you and I) prove to be successful. Perhaps these tips will help you make a few sales and maybe attract a couple repeat customers for your products and business. Looking forward to see you on the show circuit! 'til next time, R

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