The Road to the Craft Fair #3

Ok so since i've only had a little bit of info between the last two posts I want this one to be a bit more informational. What i'm currently working on right now is getting together my basics. Things like packaging, branding, financial needs, inventory etc. When I first started looking into all of this I had never realized the huge amount of things required to do a craft fair. It's amazing, I mean seriously, you actually create a small temporary store daily, and it takes alot to make things happen. Now i'm not trying to make you feel overwhelmed, I just want folks to realize that this is not as easy as it seems, well at least for me. Purely not having much inventory right now is making me freak out, and until today I was sweating being able to get supplies. Not because I couldn't afford them, but because they just weren't available. I was fortunate enough after trips to 7 different stores I scored! I managed to get my hands on 32 spankin new beautiful white towels :) Translated into 64 cut towels! So yeah safe to say i'm feeling less stressed.

Now, when I say packaging and branding i'm talking about what you put your items in and how you are marking your packaging or items with your brand. I had a pretty unimpressive packaging for awhile, I simply wrapped the items in tissue paper, put them inside a large zip loc bag with a card and a thank you and called it good, that's really lame. So, in an effort to make things cute, nice, and simple without alot of cost I try my best to do things myself. It wasn't until a few months ago that I even started putting labels on my products. I made those myself by buying colorfast printable fabric sheets and printing/cutting them myself, easy enough? Sure, anyone can do it if they can follow simple directions. I will probably post a tutorial on that if anyone is curious, comment to let me know. I also recently changed my packaging that I send to customers, I found that cello treat bags are perfect! I can fit 2 towels to a bag and then tie it up with some cute raffia ribbon. I started marking the outside of the bag with some labels that I bought from VistaPrint, I got them customized with my t-shirt logo and instead of having them as a return address label I put my shop name, slogan, shop url and email address. I believe I got the 140 for FREE deal where you only pay the shipping. So yeah there are ways you can brand your items for a reasonable price. and then I also use a thank you card with my info on it that I just simply printed out on my ink jet printer on cardstock, I generally hand write something on the back also. So there's a few DIY and non DIY ways to do some branding and packaging. There are also Etsy sellers that customize loads of different stuff from labels to banners for your shop to buttons, tags etc. it's out there if you look.

When I refer to financial needs of course you've got to have money for materials, because without them we have no product. But i'm more so referring to what you're willing to take as monetary compensation for your items at a craft fair. I know everyone takes cash, that's a given. But in today's age of technology alot of life is paid for with plastic, i'm talkin' credit and debit cards. It's up to you whether or not you choose to take checks, I personally won't be taking checks unless I know the person. Taking credit/debit cards these days has gotten to be pretty easy, you don't even have to have the machine hooked to a phone line. As mobile vendors we have to be prepared to face doing fairs in areas that don't have wi-fi or internet access. I say the easiest way is getting a good old fashioned knuckle buster with slips, and a propay account. I posted the links to both of those resources in the #1 post of this series. Now when it comes to storing those hard earnings you have the choice between a locked cash box or a vendor's apron. I personally chose a vendor's apron that way I don't always have to keep one eye on the cash box and can still give my customers my full attention. I bought a great vendor's apron from Mrs.Chainsaw on Etsy this happens to be the one I bought but she has alot of really great aprons in some awesome bold fabrics!

So there's a bit more information for you to chew on, in my next posting of the series I want to get a bit more into detail as to the list of things you may need while at the show/fair. Like a tool box, calculator, just misc. things you may not instantly think of. :)

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Anna said...

Sounds like so many details to consider! I'm sure it gets easier after the first show. Thanks for sharing!

DoBatsEatCats said...

You're so right! I couldn't believe how many little details there were to take care of when I did my show. What cracks me up is how whatever you're concerned most about, and put the most effort into, is NEVER what's going to be an issue. I did lots of research re the credit card thing, got that all set up, ran my boyfriend's card through as practice... and you know what, EVERY one of my buyers paid cash. Well, OK then!

Steph said...

awesome tips...THANKS:0) Also, I love your sewn on label!

The Hippie Chick Boutique said...

I believe it's better to be prepared than to be un-prepared. I know that the chance is there, and i'm not going to lose an opportunity because I wasn't prepared :) Either way getting the knucklebuster and related materials is a good one time investment. The show may have been cash only this time, but what about the next one? :)