Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 Days - Day 3: Pay for it & Read the Fine Print

So far, I've posted about Deciding to Do a Craft Show and How to Find a Craft Show.  Be sure to check those posts out, if this is the first you've checked this out.  The topic I am doing today is to Pay for it and Read the Fine Print.

One thing you may want to consider when finding a craft show, is the cost.  I think that if you are just beginning, or are new to the craft show market, you should consider going to a smaller show that costs less.  This way, you don't have as much at stake.  If you know that a certain show is very popular in your area, it may be worth the investment.

Also consider the price range of your items for sale.  If most of your items are in the $20 range, you may not want to spend over $100 for a booth, because you would have to sell at least 5 items to cover your costs, let alone make a profit.  Don't think that if you are at the largest show in the area, that you will have the best sales.  It could be too much and overwhelm people - that's how I feel at about 25 booths in, myself.  

I like to stay under the $50 range, and even better if it's nearer to $30.  For me, that's just my comfort zone. I want to make a profit, but don't want to be so invested that I may lose money in my fee.  That being said, I don't want to go to a show that doesn't have a good track record.

When choosing a space (if you get a choice), be sure to think of where the traffic may flow the most.  For the craft show I've booked,  I got the advice from a friend to make sure to ask for a booth in the gym and not in the outside halls of the school. People tend to go to the right first, so being in the right aisle near the door is always a best bet.  Also, it is better to have a corner booth with two outside sides, rather than one buried in the midst of all the booths.

The other thing to check on  is the other booths surrounding you.  If you make knit items, you don't want to be in the middle of two other people who make similar items.  I think that if you are different than your neighbors, it helps you to stand out from the crowd.  If you are having a booth for a direct sales company, check to be sure that the show will not book the same company.  There is nothing worse than getting to a show and realizing , right around the corner is another of the same product in a better spot!

So for the fine print.  Be sure to read the entire contract for the show.  Don't get scared of this, really, you want there to be rules for everyone that has a booth to follow.  Here are somethings to check for in the contract:

  • Setup time - be there on time!
  • Tear down time - be sure you know this, because you could be charged extra for this.  Some shows even have you put a down payment on the booth that you don't get back until after the close time.  Believe me, it is the worst to think that the show goes until 4pm and everyone starts packing up at 2pm.  A show that puts importance in staying until close time, will gain you more business in the end.  
  • Exact size of booth 
  • Tables included, or not.
  • Electricity available ( I rarely pay for this, but always bring some plans if I happen to have some.  Lights add a lot to a booth, but sometimes it's just not possible to have it.)
  • Do you need a tax number?
  • Exclusivity - for example, will there be only one Creative Memories, Pampered Chef, etc.  As a crafter, I think the direct sales booths add to the atmosphere, but if the entire show is all direct sales, I would steer clear as a crafter.
  • Cancellation Policy (most keep your fee regardless of the reason)
  • Meal or food for lunch available.  I've been at some where they have a youth group come take orders at your booth and serve you there, so you don't have to leave it.  Others have food available, and most don't mind if you bring your own lunch.  Again, check for details.
  • Parking
  • Do you have to provide a drawing or door prize item?
Please remember, that as soon as you hear about a show, book it if you know you want to do it!  The best spaces often fill up fast or even book a year in advance.  As a direct seller of Creative Memories, some of the best shows to get into, I couldn't, because the booths from the year before got the first pick.  Most shows are on a first come, first serve basis.

I hope these ideas can help you make a commitment to a craft or holiday show, and even give you some things to look for when signing the contract.  Please share in the comments any other things you can think of. Be sure to check out all the blogs that I love to link up to in the right column.

For a complete list of the 31 Day Until A Craft Show series and links to each post go Here to Day 31.