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Tips For Selling at Craft Shows

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About the only thing I enjoy more than creating my bead jewelry
at home is selling my bead jewelry at local craft shows and
fairs! I’ve attended hundreds of craft shows and partipated in
fair number myself. I am always dismayed, however, to see
beautiful jewelry and pieces that don’t sell at shows simply
because the artisan forgot some very basic rules of working at
craft shows.

Here are some of the helpful pieces of advice and tips I can
offer to the beginner bead jewelry artist and anyone else who is
just starting out selling to craft shows:

1. Know Your Audience: Try to get a sense of what sort of crowd
you are going to encounter at your upcoming craft show and cater
your inventory to that crowd. While visiting the show each year
is the best way to learn this, there are other methods you can
use. Is the town where the craft show being held largely upper
class or middle class? You might want to adjust your pricing
accordingly. Are the customers going to be children or older
people? If the craft show is near or in a school I almost always
bring along a few “Kid Displays” where I place all my small
plastic bead jewelry. I’ve had more than one child drag her
parents over to my table to see the pieces I put out especially
for them. If you’re going to be showing in or around a nursing
home you might want to consider changing your inventory. Older
customers love beaded eyeglass chains, bracelets with large,
easy clasps and “smoother” beads that aren’t sharp on when
laying against bare skin.

2. Use Business Cards: Every time I sell a piece of jewelry at a
craft show I package it in a neat little bag with my business
card inside. I do this because even though I already sold a
piece of jewelry, I often have people contacting me weeks,
months and even years later to see if they can order the same or
similar pieces for friends and relatives. I also list my website
on the cards to people can browse and by my items in the comfort
of their own home!

3. Be Flexible with Pricing: This also goes back to knowing your
audience. I generally do not put price tags on any of my pieces.
This way people need to ask about pricing and I can adjust my
price up and down a few dollars on the fly, based on the type of
audience, the size of the crowd and whether or not I really want
to sell the piece. And, yes, my prices sometimes change
throughout the day. Some people come to craft shows expecting to
haggle, so it’s sometimes wise to quote a price a few dollars
more than you might normally ask so you have some bargaining
room. Though you may be uncomfortable with this at first, I find
it to be very helpful. I can’t tell how you many pieces I’ve
sold only after talking with the customer and chatting about the
price. One of my favorite methods is to sell a pair of earrings
with a beaded bracelet for only a few dollars more. The customer
likes getting a “bundled” deal and I like selling two pieces and
making a little extra profit.

4. Accept Checks and Credit Cards: Cash is obviously preferred,
but checks are easy to accept. In all my years of going to craft
shows I’ve never been cheated by someone bouncing checks. Many
people bring cash to craft shows, but sometimes there are just
so many great things that by the time the person gets to your
booth she might not have anything left! Credit Cards are a
little trickier. If you’re going to verify the credit card then
you’ll need an electric source and a telephone connection of
some sort. A lot of people, myself included, will often just use
a manual credit card swiper with carbon paper. No electricity is
needed, you just enter the numbers into your computer or
electronic machine when you get home. To accept credit cards
you’ll probably need a merchants account and I’ve found that
most local banks can help you out or point you in the right
direction. It really isn’t very expensive to do. I set up my
first account and bought my manual swiper and carbons for less
than $50.

Selling your bead jewelry at craft shows is an amazingly
fulfilling experience and a great ego booster, not to mention a
fun way to make some extra money. Following these basic tips
will help you sell more jewelry and have fun at the same time!


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  • Posted On July 31, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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