Ask Me Anything: How do you get ready for a craft show?

Last week someone asked me some questions about getting ready for a craft show, so today I thought I would talk about that! A lot of places the Farmers Market season has just started and people are already starting to think about Christmas! If you’re thinking about selling at any Christmas shows you should start looking now, a lot of applications for November and December shows are due in July and August.

This question came at a good time, as I am doing my first shows of 2013 the next 2 weekends! The main question I get asked about getting ready for a show is how many hats I take with me. The answer to this question has changed over the years, so I thought it would be best if I walked you through my evolution, and you can see which part is most in line with your situation and see what I did there!

In 2010, when Sweet Kiwi Crochet first started I began selling at my local Farmers Market. When I started I would pick an animal and I wanted to try and sell and then make 1 or 2 of each size hat (I do 5 sizes, 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-2 years, 3-9 years and 10-adult). When I first started my booth was a mish-mash of hats, scarves, slippers and purses. The first time I tried animal hats I just took 1 animal and though I’d see how it went. Because I was selling at this market every week I was able to slowly introduce things and see how they sold before I made a whole bunch of something. By the end of that first market season I had 5 different animals that I would take with me, and I would take 2-4 hats in each size in each style. So I would take 15 owl hats (3 of each size) and 15 giraffes, etc.

That Christmas I did 2 shows and I took a lot more hats. I had 9 different animals that I was making, and I made 4-6 of each size. After the first show was over I made as many hats as I could in 2 weeks to replenish the hats that I’d already sold, and when I ran out of hats in a particular size or style I took orders.

In 2011 I did the Farmers Market again, but because I still had hats left from the Christmas shows I was able to  add 6 new animals to my line and increase my numbers by having 6-8 of each size in each style. I was selling at the Gardners Market every weekend, and also sold at another show a couple of times that summer, so having a lot of hats in stock relieved a lot of stress!! That Christmas I did 2 more Christmas shows and was able to secure a booth space at a Boutique in a mall where I could sell hats all year.

Since 2012 I’ve been doing things pretty much the same. I try to have at least 2-3 hats in each size at the Boutique all the time, and I spend the spring making hats for the summer and Christmas shows. I’ve been able to figure out which styles and sizes are the most popular at the shows I go to (it’s different for different shows) and I make sure that I have 10-12 of the most popular styles and sizes before a show. For the less popular hats I try to have 2-3 of each size. I have the advantage of knowing that anything I don’t sell at a show can be taken to the boutique.

My numbers might sound crazy, and even a little bit daunting to someone just doing 1 show. My recommendation is to find a small show and try to take a variety of things. Take all different sizes an a lot of different styles and then keep a good inventory!! Pay attention to what sizes get tried on the most, what sizes get purchased the most, and what styles are the most popular. You can adjust the number of hats you bring and the kinds you bring as you figure out what people buy.  You don’t want to spend 100 hours making 1 style of hat only to find out that no one wants it.

To find out more about what I do to get ready for my craft shows you can refer back to my Selling At A Craft Show series from last summer:

Where Do I Find a Show?

How to Apply

I Got In! Now What?

What Do I Take?

What suggestions do you have for those just starting out at craft shows!? How do you decide what to take with you?


2 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything: How do you get ready for a craft show?

  1. I’m more or less the same because we sell at the Gardeners’ Market (in having a variety and build inventory, then add one new animal a week to test run them (one in each size) if possible), but we don’t have the ‘luxury’ of having a spot in a boutique or store at this point. The key is always: Inventory. If you have a wide variety but only one copy of each thing, people generally don’t pay as much attention for sales purposes since it mostly looks like it is just a display not products for sale. But that is just what I’ve noticed with our things.

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