Friday, July 4, 2014

Craft Sale Tips - Your Booth

Hi all you West Coast Leslie readers! I'm Jill, Leslie's little sister and I thought I would take over Leslie's blog today to start sharing some of tips and tricks we learned last year doing our first craft sale. 

(That's me!)

Even though it's summertime, we're busy gearing up for this year's fall, winter, and holiday markets!  Last year we did one big planned show (Crafty Affaire), and then a couple more later that happened to just come up.  This year our plans are bigger and better than last year.  

I figured that we're probably not the only ones that are thinking about this right now, and I definitely have some tips from experience that I haven't really seen anywhere else in my research.  Ready? Let's go!

Plan your product line - Pick a few main items!!!
The very first craft sale I did on my own was a few years back now and it was a bust for a couple reasons - one, it just wasn't the right crowd, most people weren't interested in buying (more show research might have helped here) but two - I was selling a bunch of different items.  People are easily overwhelmed.  Your product should draw them into your booth.  From a distance your customer should be able to see what you're selling.  You will make more sales like this and it will make your life easier! 

Here's what my booth looked like for that show:

Here's the booth Leslie and I set up last year:
Even with the pinky instagram filter you can easily see that the WCLD booth is much more coherent than my Envirocraftiness booth.  

Pre-plan your display
Know how much space you're working with, what display items you want, and where your product is going to be.  Set it up at home and then take photos so that 
a) you can use them when applying for shows (if required) and 
b) if you have family or friends helping you set up it's a good reference for them to know how to help.  

Will your booth look identical to your photos? Probably not, but that's okay! 

Here's Leslie's at home set up of her booth
Throughout the show you might need to move product based on what's selling or not selling.  Don't be afraid to deviate from your plan! 

When planning your display, here's a few things we like to keep in mind:

1) Does it look too perfect? You want people to touch and interact with your product.  If you can get people to pick up, feel, try on your product, you're much closer to making that sale! (more on that in the next post about sales!) It should be accessible.  Customers shouldn't have to wait for you to get something down for them to look at - some people WILL NEVER ask, and you just lost a potential sale.

2) Is all that really necessary?  Obviously you want to show off your product in the best way.  However depending on the length of show, the size of your booth, and what your product is, an elaborate setup may not be worth it.  I would  personally not be the vendor hauling a dresser to a show that's less than 16 hours, and even then, I'm not sure this would be my best strategy!!  Leslie and I have revamped this year's booth to include wine crates which both create depth and dimension, still allowing us to show off the product (you don't want your display to outshine what you're selling), and as a bonus, we can pack product in them.   Same goes for the trunk Leslie found, I foresee that being a great way to store additional inventory! 

Avoid clutter.  People get overwhelmed easily.  If you're not able to put all your merchandise out make sure you're familiar with your inventory so that you can grab it when a customer can't quite find what they want. 

What works to display jewelry is not going to work for big crocheted scarves, or handmade soap.  Look for ideas from people who sell similar or similar SIZED items as you.  ie what works for baking might also work well for selling soap!  

3) Does your customer know what you're selling?  This may sound obvious, but we were at a market where this one vendor had a phenomenal set up, but, we asked each other "do you know what she's selling?" 

4) Is your design appropriate for you product? This one has two meanings.  First you want your booth to represent your brand.  You want your colors and logo to stand out.  One mistake we made was that people struggled to read our "West Coast Leslie Designs" banner - we'll be revamping this for sure!  While we wanted that cute bunting banner which matches our brand image, it caused confusion and could better represent the WCLD brand.   
Secondly, the branding of your business should match the product you sell.  For instance, a booth across from us sold dog treats.  Here's a pic of their setup:
Simple, clean, and you can see the product and price list right out front, and they have a great visually attractive and self explanatory sign right there!  PS. These guys from Sparky Snacks were some of the awesome people we became friends with at the show! 

Now think of how it would look if they had a crafty vintage setup like our WCLD booth...weird right?  Make sure your design matches what you're selling.

5) Don't forget that YOU are part of your display!
Don't have so much "display" that there's no room for you.  Don't sit behind a table piled high with product.  Make sure you have ample room to move around, access your product and are available and approachable to help customers.  Wherever possible, wear your product (if it's wearable!)...and this leads me into my favorite selling tip:

Before I tell you what my FAVORITE selling tip is I want to give you a sneak peek at what's coming up:

Updated West Coast Leslie Designs booth - see how we've revamped our booth for 2014 and applied these tips

Leslie and Jill's best tips to selling like pros and making your sale fun and profitable! 

Alright, now here's what you've been waiting for.... one of my favorite sales tips of the weekend:
Be a walking model.  Wear sellable items and DO sell the shirt off your back (or scarf around your neck, as the case may be).  Often people were drawn to the scarf I was wearing, they can see how to wear it, how it fits, how it works with your coloring, etc.  If they express ANY interest in the piece you're wearing, take it off, offer it to them to touch, try on, etc.  This works for some people, but not for others.  If the customer feels awkward about buying "your" item.  Casually put it down on the table and keep helping them.  Once the scarf is on the table, BOOM! it's back to being part of the merchandise and it's not longer a weird "personal issue."  Chances are they will buy it.  

A big part of being successful with this technique is to look well groomed.  Obviously for your show you want to look good, but if you notice, all the pics of me I'm wearing my hair up.  I shed like MAD! Nothing is ickier than stray hairs on things you want to buy.  So in order to sell the scarf I was wearing, it definitely helped to be well groomed and not be overly scented (good or otherwise)!

I'm headed out to Vancouver to hang with Leslie and work on our fall strategy towards the middle of the month, definitely be sure to come back and check out our progress and great tips to make your sale more successful too!

What have you found works for you when designing your booth? What ideas have flopped? Share with us in the comments! 

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