We've all heard the saying, "You've got to spend money, to make money." Unfortunately, that holds true for craft fairs. You will need to budget your money for craft shows throughout the year and watch your expenses carefully, in order to turn a profit on your events.
The most obvious expense is the booth fee, which I discussed in part 1. However, there are many not-so-obvious expenses that you'll want to keep track of.
In addition to the booth fee, some show organizers will also charge for extras such as tables, chairs, electricity, and a premium location. The charges are usually minimal, but if you are doing a lot of shows that charge for those extras, then they can add up quickly. Also some shows will require that you donate a door prize or a percentage of your profits. Always read the fine print and know exactly what is expected of you financially.
If you are participating in a large show, or a show that will be held over a couple of days, then you will probably want to have another person assist you in the booth. You can share the booth with another demonstrator, but make sure both of you are clear about how you will handle potential business leads, sales, and expenses. If you ask someone to help, you will want to compensate them. I have often "hired" my 12-year old son to assist me. He has been great cheap labor in the past……I'm afraid he'll be asking for a raise this year. A stamping friend may want to work for a product order or an upcoming class fee. Be creative in your compensation, but keep in mind that it does add to the overall expense of the fair.
Your booth needs to be interesting and inviting if you want to attract a steady stream of customers. For most fairs, you will be responsible for providing a covering for your table. Stampin' Up! sells a high quality, 8-foot long black tablecloth for demonstrators to use in craft fairs. It sells for $41.95 and demonstrators must order it on a supply order. I have 2 of these tablecloths and my downline has another 2. I've never needed more than 3, even for a large booth. Be sure to check with other demonstrators in your area to see about borrowing table cloths. You could even split the cost among several demonstrators to save money.
Once you've got your table covered, you don't want to just set all of your handmade goodies on a flat table. You need to add height and depth to the overall display. This can be accomplished by stacking wooden crates, using small bookshelves, placing items in baskets, etc. Many of these items you may be able to find around your home. However, for those that enjoy garage sales and flea markets, be on the lookout at all times for display items. Also visit any stores that are going out of business and ask about fixtures for sale. I was able to purchase a standing greeting card holder from a scrapbook store that was closing. A new one would have cost $200+, but I got it for only $45. It is perfect for displaying all my cards for sale.
To see one of my previous craft fair displays, click here.
And finally, you will need supplies to make your handmade items. Even if you own every stamp set in the catalog, every punch, every Big Shot die….you'll probably need more stuff. The trick is to buy throughout the year when you find items on sale and only buy what you really need. Back-to-school is a great time to pick up folders, composition books, legal pads, pens, crayons, etc. Today's project is a great example of how to use these supplies.
And one more picture of the legal pad cover open:
Want to know how to make one? Well, I'm putting the finishing touches on a video tutorial, so tune in on Saturday and I'll have step-by-step instructions for you, as well as several more design ideas.
Part 3 will be posted on Monday and I'll be covering what to make for your craft fairs and how much to charge for handmade items. You don't want to miss it, so be sure to subscribe to my blog by clicking on the email updates box in the left column.