“‘Tis the season fo-or craft sales, fa la la la la, la la la la.”
Yup, that’s right – it’s officially craft sale season! And not only craft sale, but trade show season as well! September 1 to November 30 are always the busiest time of year for our creative company Cinq Artisans, at least thus far. This year has been no different. Not only have the custom orders been flying in, but we’re also trying to up our game when it comes to variety in the Etsy shop, as well as in our displays.
Planning the Sale
Though I’m usually on the ball when it comes to preparing for a craft sale, I must admit, I let the ball drop a little this year. And it’s no wonder. Between the health issues (click here for that story), running Trading Desks for Dirt, volunteering on our community preschool board, becoming a Norwex consultant, and of course, work, Cinq Artisans has taken a bit of a back seat. And we’re OK with that. Cinq was always meant to be a creative outlet for us, not something we wanted to run full time.
But now, craft sale season is here, and I’m playing more catch-up than I had originally intended. Thankfully, I won’t have to worry about an empty display, as I will be sharing table space with another seller (my sister Lee Ann, owner of At the Corner of 2nd and 2nd), and will also be showcasing some of my Norwex stock.
This year, we will also be hosting a small fundraiser to raise money for CancerCare Manitoba. My mom passed away in 2008 at the age of 50 from cancer (more on her story here). As a way to give back to the wonderful people who supported her and our family during her illness, we will also be selling the rest of the stock she made for her craft business, Lorna’s Creations, with all of the proceeds from the sale of those pieces being donated to this wonderful foundation.
The Importance of Buying Local
Before we get into some helpful craft sale hints, I just want to make a mention about shopping locally. I love buying handmade, local products. More often than not, I can count on the quality and beauty of the handmade piece to be far superior to anything I could buy in a big box store. And while I understand that not everyone can afford the price tag that handmade pieces bring with them, supporting local artisans when we can is a great practice to get into.
When you support local businesses, farmers, and crafters, you support your town. Local businesses give back locally, so the money you spend with them in turn gets put back into the community. (Such as supporting local sports teams and giving to outreach programs and initiatives, for example.) And when you shop in your community, you’re also helping to create and support local employment.
Buying local can be considered a sustainable practice, meaning the items that you’re purchasing have traveled less distance to get to you. Also, going to the store can mean walking or riding your bike rather than taking your vehicle.
No matter which way you slice it, the benefits of buying local can’t be ignored. This being said, of course, local businesses also need to make an effort to ensure the quality and selection of the products they’re selling and the service they’re providing in order to keep the community’s support.
Tips for a Successful Craft Sale
So, with planning ahead and shopping locally now at the forefront of our minds, lets get on to the tips and tricks portion of this post. Preparing for a craft sale doesn’t need to be a stressful endeavor. Here are a few pointers that I’ve learned over the years:
- Make sure you have enough stock, but don’t over do it. A cluttered display is frustrating for buyers, and so keep your display simple and clean.
- Don’t wait until you’re actually at the show to create your display. Set up a mock table in your home, then take pictures of it so that it’s easy to set up at the sale itself. Remember to bring a table cloth, and signage if you have it.
- Make sure to have business cards handy, as most of your sales will probably happen after the sale. Getting your name out there is one of the great benefits of these events.
- Price everything before the sale. More often than not, people will walk away from an unpriced item rather than ask you how much it is. And don’t forget to have a float of small change for cash purchases.
- Stay off your phone! There is nothing more off-putting than seeing someone behind the table who is looking bored or playing on their phone. Engage with people (without being pushy or creepy!), mingle, and if all else fails, have something handy that you can work on while times are slow. I like to bring along a small crochet project to work on. The added benefit is that you’re demonstrating your craft skills to potential customers while you’re selling finished pieces as well.
What’s your favorite part about attending craft and trade shows? Have you ever been a vendor at one? What other tips and tricks would you recommend? Drop us a comment below. I’d love to hear about your experiences, both from the customer’s and seller’s points of view.