Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wedding season is coming!

Like me, do you know someone who is getting married this year? Or maybe you are? I would like to share a few great finds from etsy.com this morning. I know when I was getting married almost 5 years ago know, that I wanted a unique look for my special day- I ended up making a lot of things myself because I couldn't find anything from the stores that was unique! Not anymore though- now brides have so many options and the handmade market is bursting at the seems with great customizable and unique wedding accessories. So take a look at these finds and more, then forward them to a friend who's getting married!

Check out the entire list here: www.etsy.com/wedding_gift_guides
or click on s few of the examples below!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Craft show displays

Ever time I go to a craft show anymore I see an ocean of jewelry vendors. Many of them have beautiful time consuming intricate work, but because their displays leave something to be desired, no one stops to look.
I would like to walk anyone who's curious, through how to set up an eye catching display. And trust me, I've done a few no-no's myself over the last few years and I can tell you what works and what doesn't.

First, when thinking about your display area, keep in mind how mush space you will actually have to work with. Measure it out at home and do a mock set up, chances are a 6 foot table is a lot smaller than it sounds.

Second, your need to cover your tables. I prefer tables that are covered all the way to the ground so you cannot see the legs (and storage boxes) underneath. Along with this, a great way to raise you table so that your items are closer to your customers prying eyes is to get small flower pots, turn them upside down and place them under the table legs. If you do this, you must make sure your table cloth covers them:)

Third, keep your table light and bright. You can use black displays if your jewelry will still show up well on them, but think about using a lighter colored table cloth- if everything is black and you sell copper jewelry- your customer will not notice your jewelry. Think about contrast! And whenever possible, get electricity so that you can put lights on your jewelry- this will show off the details and make everything sparkle!

Forth, keep it simple silly. I always have so many new pieces that I am excited to show off, that sometimes I forget that I need to be "showcasing" each piece for my customer. They do not want to pay top dollar if they have to "root through" your pieces to find the one they want. This means that less is more. Take your top 6 to 12 favorite necklaces and display them gallery style. The more you frame them, spot light them and show them off, the easier it is for your customer to find what they want. You may even convince them the want something they didn't even know they needed.

Fifth, Think dimensionally. Displays are more exciting when they are three dimensional. Add some height in the form of a back board or screen, or add some old crates or boxes to cover and place things on top of. A nice rule of thumb is to have three different heights on the table, then place your display items on those risers.

Sixth, Promote. When you do a show, your primary goal is sales, but do not forget that you have an open audience to promote to. After all it is a "show." Soooo, keep plenty of flyers, business cards and handouts handy. Another great idea is to print out "mini- catalogs" and hand them out to customers who stop to look but do not buy. On mine, I use pre-perforated postcard printer paper, print an image on each of the four front and back squares, fold it in half and separate the top two from the bottom two. Presto and instant 4 page mini picture book with my info on the back that I can hand out to anyone who comes by. Best of all- its super cheep and I can make more any time (and its easy to change and update).

Seventh- Branding a name for yourself. People shop handmade because they appreciate the artists work, so let them know about you and your process. Put up a sign that introduces you to them and tells a little about your inspiration, how you got started or your process for creating. Put your name and logo on the sign. Put the same logo and name on your banner, business cards, post cards, flyers, catalogs, get them made into stickers and put the stickers on your bags and boxes. Why? because it will help people remember you, and at the next show they'll look for the girl with the green and cream booth with the little owl logo! because they remember how much they liked your stuff.

Eighth- Keep you back stock, packaging and register area simple, neat and clean. Chances are that if your in a small area you will not be able to keep this area completely hidden, so customers will see it! and they shouldn't see a half eaten donut sitting on top of your cash box:) Plus, it's good practice in general for if you get a busy rush to be able to handle each customer with efficiency, and you'll be happy later when you find you kept good receipts of the day.

Ninth- Remember that whatever you bring with you, you have to carry, set up and break down. I always try to make sure that I can carry all of my supplies myself because I cannot guarantee that I'll be able to get a helper for the day. This also helps me think about how long it well take me to set up and break down. Many shoppers come early, so the faster you can get there and set up the better!

Tenth- Enjoy yourself! You must look like your having a good time! No one wants to stop at a grouchy booth. Sometimes this can be the biggest challenge as customers can be hard to deal with and we don't always get the sales that we wanted. But remaining friendly, happy and helpful will benefit your name and your sales! (PS. its easier to great people if your standing- so push the chair in for the day and wear your comfy shoes).