A big consideration in merchandising is knowing not only WHAT to make, but HOW MUCH to make.
Before you get all uptight and frazzled go back to the good old math.
In a previous article I told you how to calculate your booth lay out/ store. That is a very good starting point to find out what you need for inventory to stock your booth. Revisit your calculations and figure out how many of each item you like to place in your booth/ store/ sales space. Start with your eye-catcher and go through each nook and cranny of your display and make a list.
Next get an over all plan:
Now figure out how much time you have until your show/ opening starts. Estimate how long it will take you to make each item.
Once you figure out how many items you CAN reasonable make buy ALL the supplies in one trip. Reason: Buying in bulk is cheaper = more profit for you. You will have all the materials on hand and will not waste time to go shopping/looking /searching, which will get you more ideas, more confused as to what it is you want to accomplish and eventually you have a storage room like an oversized barn of stuff, you may or may never use.
Next single minded and doggedly sit down every day and make your items in the allotted hours for work. Then relax, because by showtime you will be ready.
1. You will need a comfortable place where you can work freely without distraction. Somewhere where you like to be and do not have to yield to the dinner dishes, laundry and all the house work that could be done. Also make yourself free from commitments, because it takes concentration and much effort to get ready for an event, create to your best ability.
2. Streamline your work as best as you can. Make all the preparations for everything at one time: Example, if you sew, do all your cutting out. If you paint, prep all canvases and paint all the backgrounds. If you sculpture mix all your clay or whatever you use. Photography cut all your mats. Crochet organizes all your yarn and hooks and pattern………….
3. Solicit all the help you can muster: Your mother, your husband, your neighbor……. to do all work that you do not have time for. That will become very important as showtime creeps nearer.
4. Once you finish, then put them in the transport container, with appropriate labels and don’t look back. The more you contemplate about this, the more stressed you get, because with your creative mind you will always find improvements to make, more color selections and so on. They are DONE and when you get overwhelmed you can point to those containers and tell yourself: You are good and almost ready to go!
—A good practice is to put BLANK price tags on before you pack them up. You will see when you get to the show your perspective changes on pricing somewhat. Whatever you do: DON’T make a SALE PRICE. People do not want that at a show. They want good deals, yes, but you are worth your money. “Feel” your customer in the conversation and THAN offer a “goody”, like 3 for 2 or 10% off for purchase over $100, but JUST for THEM, because they are special.
5. Keep your eye on the clock, so to speak. Reserve the whole last week before the event to be free. Yes, you heard correctly. Leave yourself free time for a week, because that way you are totally prepared for eventualities and enjoy your show. If you feel like it, you can pick up to make some special things and it will be enjoyable. With joy that you will go into your show and make your customers happy, instead of sitting there hanging in your last exhausted ropes of pulling an all nighter to make the last touch. The set up, show hours will be exhausting enough. And your attitude about presenting and selling has to match the beauty of your work. In the last week you can make a mental dry run, figure out what you will eat at the show, what to wear (comfortable shoes are a MUST have, since you be standing most of the time) and all those little things that come into your head to make it a pleasant event.
Another thing to consider in merchandising:
Will you take charge cards?
Design for business cards.
Enclose survey postcards with your purchases?
Packaging supplies/ wrappings for the merchandise.
Tags for your product (I always put the tags on at the show. Makes me look busy, tags are fresh and not wrinkled)
Advertise apart from the promoter. Send invitations or make signs. Advertise on Craigslist in the community bulletin..
Invite previous customer to visit you at the show.
Back up plan, if you should be sick- you do not want the show fee and merchandise go to waste.
I wish you have an awesome show experience and bring home very little of your made merchandise.
You will find many helpful information for your craft business on her website.
I am here for you, if you have any questions. Share your comments and experiences below.