My first real festival experience was this past weekend here in my hometown of Lebanon, IN at the
I say real because even though I had a booth set up at the same festival last year the only thing I could do was help set-up. I was sick and couldn’t stay for the full experience. This year I was able and raring to go!! The whole day was new and exciting; I loved every part of it and can’t wait till next years festival.
Now I like to be prepared so just like last year I searched for tips on how to make an awesome booth that would draw shoppers in and make them want to buy in that ‘I-just-have-to-have-that’ way. I found some amazing tips and tricks while researching; but here’s the very first one to really understand:
There is nothing that can truly prepare you for your first time other than experiencing it yourself.The lovely ladies beside me, selling Beauty Control, told me a rather scary story of their first time; just the weekend before in North Salem, IN. On their third day there a gust of wind blew in and caused their canopy tent to go flying! Thankfully none of them were hurt, but it’s strong reminder to always use something to weigh your canopy tent down when you have an out door show!As for what I learnt on my first time out, well here are some particulars:
Always help out you neighbors! My grandmother and I helped several booths around us assemble their canopies - those little buggers can be hard to latch on that last corner! During the event we all helped each other out, paper towel, a shared trash bag, ect. A kind act is something that all of us should be able to accomplish, even at 6am without our normal coffee fix or when we’re all exhausted after the show.
If you’re doing an outdoor show in the middle of September make sure you wear something warm!! I wore a t-shirt and flimsy jacket thinking that it would warm up fast. I was a popsicle from 6am till around noon, lol.
Smile, be genuine and warm. Say ‘good morning/afternoon’, answer questions, and never be rude. I had one lady come in with a stroller and when she apologized for taking up so much room I waved her off and told her not to worry about it. She beamed and told me that a customer in another booth (selling jewelry) had made a remark about the booth space being crowded and that the actual booth owner agreed and remarked that it was because strollers take up far too much space.
Not exactly a way to win over customers right? I voiced my disbelief and complimented her stroller, it was purple and I have a love of that color ;) All in all, it ended in a sale for me.
Have a wide selection of price points: I had a lot of competition, I’ve noticed more and more people selling handcrafted jewelry lately. My grandfather loves festivals and he loves to shop. This has translated into checking up on what competition I have. This year his ‘report’ was that even though there were a lot of jewelry booths none of them seemed to have anything priced under $20. I always make sure to have a price range from at least $3 and up. Try to think of what the average customer is going to think about, mainly could I get something like this cheaper at Wal-Mart?
That said I did read an article the other day about pricing that really made me stop and think, but I’ll cover that in a future post!
Network like crazy! This was a one day sell, but I got several amazing offers. The Beauty Control ladies loved my heart earrings, and they want to talk to me about making some that fit in with the theme they have to sell at the festivals they go to. I got invited to buy table space at an upcoming Holiday Bazaar at the local Moose Lodge - not being a member I probably would have never heard about it otherwise! Another young lady asked me to design some jewelry for her wedding that’s just after the first of the year. There’s a lot more but my point is that any event you do has the potential to help you in even more ways!
Make sure everything is priced! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a procrastinator! And that killed me, even though I had most of my pricing done, and signs for the rest, I lost a few sales because several things were not priced and those signs? The few I had were sometimes not seen well and the biggest mistake I made was not having a sign with the name of my business on it. I meant to have one of course, but my printer ran out of ink and when I tried to print it off at my grandmothers house I couldn’t because I hadn’t saved the document correctly. I should have done this the day or even week before!
Quality is a must! A lot of my customers were happy to see that I use wire-wrapped loops whenever possible. I like to make sure that anything I sell will be wearable for a long, long time. One lady asked me why I didn’t use stretch cord; I just don’t like the fact that it seems so unstable to me. It’s just too easy to break.
I use memory wire instead for things like children’s bracelets (in the small bracelet size) because most kids put stuff into their mouths and I don’t want to take a chance on having the stretch break while I know the wire will not.
And all in all, have FUN!!