My First Craft Show

Yes, after a year in business I was finally talked into my first craft show. Only, it wasn’t really a craft show, it was a glorified yard sale with some crafters present. Held in the parking lot of a restaurant, we faced 20-30 mph winds that constantly blew my goods about and off my table.

wpid-FB_IMG_13803686746098353.jpgWhat I learned:

1. Don’t You Dare Set Your Stuff Down Unless You’re Certain it’s Your Space

For $12, we each got a parking spot as a booth in which to set up. When I got there most people were set up, except in four empty, unlabeled spaces – one of which I knew was mine. Based on the occupied spaces, I surmised where I was to be. I put my table down, and was coming back with a chair when a woman came up with her table and proceeded to yell at the top of her lungs,”She’s stealing my spot! This woman’s stealing my spot!” A harried organized with a walkie-talkie came running up and kindly pointed me two spots over. The whole incident made me laugh. It was a parking spot for goodness sake.

2. Have Business Cards or Something With Your Information on It

I didn’t have anything but the labels on my bags! Oops. I did have some paper and a pen so I gave out my information to a few people interested in buying more bags and one organizer of an upcoming art/craft show. But I should have gone on Vistaprint and made myself up some business cards.

3. Meet Your Neighbors

I started talking to a lovely woman next to me selling handmade jewelry. A few words with her and I learned about the local craft circuit, how to do my taxes, and that I needed to aim much higher than a craft/yard sale. It was really nice to commiserate with her about the business. We exchanged information – I think it’s what corporate folk call ‘networking’.

4. Have Change & a Receipt Book

I was good to go on change with plenty of ones and fives. I kept a record of each bag I sold and at what price on a piece of paper. I also had my Square hooked up and even ran a credit card sale. But I didn’t have a receipt book. The cash sales folks didn’t care, but the credit sale did. I offered to email or text her the receipt, but she’s tech-incapable of receiving either. I noticed my friendly neighbor had a receipt book…

5. Don’t Be Disappointed

In 4 hours I sold 8 bags and made $55. Take out the $12 for the space fee and $22 for lunch afterwards (as a thank you to my friend who came with me), I garnered $21 for my day. I could pout, cry and throw in the towel, but again, it was a glorified yard sale. My bags have sold well consistently in the bookstore which tells me I just wasn’t at the right venue.

6. Report Sales to the Tax Man

Up to this point all my sales have been as a wholesaler, therefore, I haven’t had to pay taxes. But, crafter sales count as retail and I have to submit sales tax on that $55. I meet with my accountant tomorrow to learn how.

In all, a simple and sweet introduction to a craft fair. Nothing too daunting or exceptional, which is probably a good thing. Hopefully I’ll be doing another next month!

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5 Responses to My First Craft Show

  1. Congrats on doing your first show. I’ve done two so far. The first thing I learned was to definitely know the show. One show I was going to do seemed to be coming up quick, so my husband and I decided to just go to it to see what it was like. It was an amazingly huge street fair. Good sign you’d think. Except that people were selling cheap things made oversees directly out of cardboard crates and not many of the thousands walking the streets were carrying bags. I did meet a few people who are true artisans and do other shows by that same promoter, and they gave me the scoop on which were good shows and which were less than ideal. The rule of thumb I learned was to talk to people who aren’t in a competitive category. :)

    Do you have other shows planned? I have my third one this Sunday. Good luck to you.

    • mlbeasley says:

      Thank you so much. I was talked into this event bu friend, but I didn’t have high expectations going in. I’m looking to get into a 4-day xmas show at a local church in December. I’m all about pick& choose which is why I’ve waited a year before starting on this path.
      Good luck at your next event!!!

  2. Oh this is so helpful! I am thinking about doing a craft event, but have NO CLUE where to start.

    • mlbeasley says:

      I’ve found that asking around helps alot. It’s amazing how many little sales can be happening in your area without realizing it. Try doing a search for a calendar of local events in your area, or maybe check Craig’s List. Last year, I went around to alot of shows as I heard about them. If they seemed like a place I’d like to sell my goods, I signed up for this year. I have found that some fellow crafters can be stingy with their knowledge – they seem afraid that I’ll swoop in and steal all their sales – so silly! But just keep forging ahead and you’ll find the shows you want to be a part of. Good luck!!

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