Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Craft Shows - Cash for your Stash!

Craft Shows have for years been a great way to make a little money to support your bead "habit." You can sell the extra jewelry you are no longer "in love" with, make jewelry specifically to sell at the show, or make samples and take orders. And craft shows are coming back with a vengence. The economic crash of a couple of years ago had some benefits for new people wanting to get started selling their jewelry: Many of the smaller craft shows that had cropped up didn't survive, and they took with them many "hobbiests" who had jumped on the craft show bandwagon.

Did you know that a Craft Show was the beginning of 1 Stop Bead Shop? Back in the day, before I opened 1 Stop Bead Shop, I was just happily learning to make jewelry for myself. My back yard neighbor asked me to come do a craft show for her church fundraiser. When I told her I had never made jewelry to sell before, she said, "Well, get busy." Two things happened at that craft show: 1) I talked to other vendors who gave me a list of some of the best craft shows. 2) After taking quite a few orders, I went to Byzantium to get all the supplies I needed and discovered I needed beads I could not always get there. That need, to have more beads than I could get locally, is what grew into the idea of 1 Stop Bead Shop just a few months later.

Here are a few pointers I can
give you if you're thinking about doing craft shows:

HOW to Find them
1) Contact local schools and ask if they are hosting any craft shows in the fall. Ask them for the contact information for the coordinator.
2) Churches often host craft shows or rent their facilities to other orgnizations for their craft shows.
3) The internet has scores of lists of craft shows.
4) Large companies often host shopping events for their employees. Ask your friends if their company does this. They can refer you to the contact person.
5) Schools will sometimes allow you to set up in the teacher break room. Start with your own school where they know you. And always be nice to the secretary. If she's excited about it, you're golden.
6) Ask your friends if they'll host a private showing for you and invite their friends. Giving her a complementary or highly discounted piece of jewelry is always a welcome incentive.

Some DO's & Don'ts for a Successful Craft Show:
1) DO display your jewelry beautifully. It will sell for more and attract more attention if you give it a high quality look.
2) Don't do 1st time craft shows. They are often not well advertised and don't have a following yet. When in doubt, ask.
3) DO ask if you can have an "exclusive" and be the only jewelry vendor there. If not, ask them if they at least have a limit.
4) Don't forget to take change with you - Ones & Fives. If you price everything in even dollar amounts you won't need small change.
5) DO keep a record of your sales & be sure to get the buyer's name and email so can let them know about other craft shows and new designs they'll like.
6) DO get into juried craft shows if you can. A juried craft show is when you have to submit samples of your intended wares to be voted on by a committee. These shows tend to be longer running with higher end merchandise which attracts clientelle who come to spend rather than just gather ideas, and have better advertising drawing larger crowds.
7) DO your homework. Do as much research as you can about Craft shows. The internet is full of sites that will give you great pointers and ideas. Sometimes an idea you never expect will be the goose that lays the golden egg. Here are a couple with some worthwhile pointers:

How to Sell at Craft Fairs
Get Your Craft Show Business off the Ground

Good luck in your Jewelry Business. It has brought me years of enjoyment. Come back to the 1 Stop Bead Shop Blog in the weeks to come for more ideas on how to make money doing the craft you love!