Sunday, July 6, 2008

Display Hell

We attended another uninspired craft show yesterday. GAH! People...listen to your Auntie Ames...if you're going to try and sell your product, DISPLAY THEM PROPERLY. Craft shows attract lots of folks. Some come there to buy, others come to look. You have to make the lookers into buyers.

Every single one of the high dollar necklaces I sold last year were bought by people who were cruising past the booth, and stopped dead in their tracks when that certain necklace caught their eye. The most commonly heard line, "I have to have THAT" is music to my ears kids. Sure, lots of other things sold because they were there, and were picked by browers, and that's all well and fine. But theres a certain thrill is seeing someone stop dead and rush over to a piece and be totally and throughly enchanted with it.

Do NOT lay anything FLAT on a table. Elevate things. Put them so people can see them. This business of carefully laying strung seed bead necklaces in rows on a tabletop annoys me to death. They're taking the time to align every one of them properly and evenly, but nobody is seeing them! They're flush with the table.

Do NOT lay carded earrings on a tabletop. Put them on some kind of display. The interweb is fine place to find all sorts of great ideas for displays. RESEARCH! People are more apt to browse when they don't have to pick things up to examine them. It's also easier to catch someone's eye from 'down the way' when they look up, and your things are glittering in the sun!

Be creative. Bead crystal bead isn't cutting it anymore. Nobody wants something that is the same old boring thing. Expand your techniques!! There are TONS of free online tutorials, so there is no excuse not to expand your creativity. Slapping a pendant you bought onto a bead-crystal-bead necklace is not being that creative. Pendants are easy to make. Get some wire and a bead, and some accent beads, taa've got a pendant.

Pricing. Ah, the evil pricing. How do you do it? That's up to you. I've heard that you charge yourself and hourly rate of what you'd expect to be paid at your full time job, then triple your materials. Triple your materials, Gracie? Considering ONE good Bali Sterling bead can run what? 6-10 bucks wholesale? Yeah, triple that, and triple what else you're putting WITH the one good Bali bead, then add your hourly rate. Good luck with that. No, really. Okay, I'm done being a smartass about pricing. It's up to you how you do it. I either pay myself the hourly rate, or triple the materials. Not both. And that's a sliding scale. Look around online, and see what people are asking for similar things. Again, it's about the research.

Craft shows are work. Hard work. But they can be really, really fun too. Don't get the idea that you're going to wing into a craft show, throw all your stuff onto a table and sell every piece. Give it some soul! Give it some life! Be friendly! Have fun! I know it's hard to smile when it's 98 degrees with 75% humidity, but smile anyway. Nobody wants to buy from a sour puss.

And that's my lecture for the day. You don't have to follow any of my tips. I'd almost prefer you didn't, because at the next show where we both are, I'll be the happy one with a crowd of happy people buying my stuff, and you'll be the one who is slamming around and grumbling at at the end of the day because you didn't sell anything.

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