Friday, August 7, 2015

Creating a Craft Fair Sales Kit: Craft Fair Prep Week 6

This week I gathered together all the supplies I'll be needing if I expect to have any success at the Etsy made in Canada market, which is coming up quick (september 26th)! I'm calling it my Craft Fair Sales Kit.

Get all these items into a bag, or box and make sure you don't get into the car without it on fair days. And if you do forget... we'll that's when you swear and curse and turn that car around in a panic like the mad woman you are inside. Annnd that's why you leave 15 minutes early. (like I ever leave early for anything, I wish)

There are quite a few things on this list that will make you go "well duh, Arielle". 
But I hope there are at least a few pieces that you hadn't thought about yet too!

CALCULATOR with the hopes of customers buying multiple items you'll need to be adding your sales up. Also when giving change you want to make sure you're not making any errors!

PEN & PAPER for jotting down all your brilliant thoughts. Or say someone wants you to take their phone number or email for future custom work or to be part of your mailing list.

BUSINESS CARDS Don't let customers, and future customers forget about you! By being able to quickly hand over all your info you just might be cementing future sales. Bring enough to leave on your table too, so shoppers passing by your table can freely take one.
If you want to learn how to design your own business cards check out this post!

SCOTCH or WASHI TAPE sealing up purchases, taping down elements of your table set up, you just  never know.

MOBILE CREDIT CARD READER & PHONE being able to process credit cards will most likely be the difference between processing and not processing more than one sale. If you want to be able to accept more than just cash purchases you can't be without this.

MOBILE PHONE CHARGER If you have power to your table, great! Bring a charger for sure. If you don't, think about picking up a battery operated mobile charger. They aren't very expensive and it's worth it for the chance of your phone dying on fair day, especially if your processing sales through it.

SHOPPING BAGS you'll be needing something to keep your customers purchases safe while traveling from the fair to homes.

EXTRA PRICE TAGS incase you forget some at home, or decide to change some prices mid-fair

RECEIPTS OR INVOICE SLIPS most customers probably won't care, but some would like a recipe with their purchase. Invoice books can be picked up cheap at any office supply store.

CASH BELT or  CASH BOX you can't just be slipping your earnings into your purse. At least not just yet! Get a belt or box for safely keeping your float and all your hard earned cash in.

With all the items listed above you can be sure to be prepared for even the busiest craft fair days! Are there any tools you don't go to a craft fair without?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Craft Fair Prep Week 5: Should I be Charging Tax on my Products?

I had a good long chat yesterday with my day-job manager about "my little weave business" (as my co-workers call it). She let me know all about income tax, business deductions, expenses, and charging tax in a small business (I know, scary accounting and overwhelming information much?). Considering she's owned a few of her own businesses in the past, (including selling ornaments at christmas craft fairs for years,) and helps do the books for her husbands current business, I knew I was getting some awesome insight. And I have to say, I finally feel like I have a small grasp on how the financial side of this creative business should work. I'm not well versed or anything, but I can safely say I understand the importance of keeping every single receipt and how it may actually benefit me come tax season.

Getting into selling handmade goods, my biggest concern was that I didn't know if I needing to be charging tax; At craft fairs, on Etsy, wholesale, whatever. And if I do need to charge it, do I include it in the price, or add it at the till like a "real" business? Will the government come find me in three years if I don't collect tax on my products? Could I go to jail!? These are real fears people!
All this craft fair prep got me thinking, should I be charging tax on my Etsy sales right now? Am I already doing something wrong? 

After my super-informative chat, and a lot of research via the Canada Revenue Agency's website I'm relieved to find the answer to my taxing questions (don't hate me) to be very simple! That answer is DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT (FOR A GOOD LONG WHILE)

I'm going to break this down so it's obvious as to whether you need to collecting tax (GST/HST) on your handmade goods as a small business in Canada:

Please note that all the information in this post pertains to small Canadian Business. Make sure you are aware of the processes in your own Country 

If your business's world-wide revenues exceed $30,000 in the current calendar quarter from sales that could be taxed, you need to collect GST/HST

Even simpler: If you make more than $30,000 a year from your business, you need to be charging tax on your products.

Now I would assume anyone who actually makes $30,000 or more a year from their little makers studio knows what they're doing by now and has this business thing all figured out... but I don't want to assume.

Now, let's take what we just chatted about above and really get into it: 
If you are collecting tax from your customers you must do this by first becoming a GST/HST registrant (this means you have a GST/HST number, which is displayed on receipts you issue to your customers.)
By being a GST/HST registrant you agree to collect tax on the taxable goods or services you sell, and pass these tax earnings onto the government. The amount of tax you collect for the government may cover the amount of tax you owe or payed on your business expenses.

Any Business owner is actually able to become a GST/HST registrant, even if you aren't required to do so. There are benefits to registering, but I'll let you look into those yourself. This post is just focusing on what's required of a small business owner.

If your world-wide sales do not exceed $30,000 in the current calendar quarter, in accumulation with the prior three calendar quarters, you are considered a small supplier, and do not need to collect GST/HST from your customers. 

Now I was still a bit confused at this point. 
What does a calendar quarter look like? Is this just any 90 day period? Can this be any three month stint? Do the quarters start in January or can they start at the beginning of any month, What if I opened my business in May, or August?

The Canada Revenue Agency gets right into this and explains it very well.
A Calendar Quarter is three consecutive months. A calendar quarter must end on the last day of March, June, September, or December.
So... The 4 Calendar Quarters are 
  • APRIL 1- JUNE 30
This means: 
  • SEPTEMBER 1 - NOVEMBER 30 is not a calendar quarter
  • JANUARY 5 - MARCH 5 is not a calendar quarter
If your sales do exceed $30,000 within the current calendar quarter, you have 30 days from the sale to apply for a HST/GST registration number.

This makes sense right? Lets do some good old fashioned Case Studies, just in case

SMALL SUPPLIER: Minnie's Mitten Shop 2015
  • Minnie started her mitten selling business in January 2015. She's viewed it as a success so far. Making the odd sale to supplement her full-time job. Her quarterly sales so far have been as follows
    • JAN - MAR : $100
    • APR - JUN : $400
    • JUL - SEPT: $400
  • Unless Minnie miraculously makes $29, 000 in sales in OCT - DEC (hey she could, it's peak mitten season!) she doesn't have to worry about becoming a GST/HST registrant.

So what happens if we look into Minnie's future a little bit...
SMALL SUPPLIER: Minnie's Mitten Shop 2017
  • Minnie's mitten business has been booming, She's managed to get her mitts featured in some fashion magazines and , whoo hoo! Her sales have dramatically improved from her first year
    • JAN - MAR : $16, 000
    • APR - JUN : $9, 000
    • JUL - SEPT: $3, 000
    • OCT - DEC: 19, 000
  • Come this fourth quarter, Minnie's made $47, 000 in sales (Way to go Minnie!) Minnie is no longer considered a small supplier and has to 30 days to apply for a GST/HST registration number and must start collecting taxes on her future sales.

But what if a small supplier made that money faster than within four quarters? There's a bit of an exception here.
SMALL SUPPLIER: Penelope's Poncho shop 2015
  • Penelope knits ponchos, and a lot of them! She started her business this July and her styles caught the eyes of some department store buyers, they want her products in their stores this winter! 
    • JUL - SEPT : $12, 000
    • OCT - DEC : $33, 000
  • Because Penelope exceed the $30, 000 limit within one quarter she will need to charge tax on the sale that put her over the maximum, whether she is registered or not. She then has 30 days after that sale to register.

So! From all this I can safely say I will not have to worry about charging tax on my little weaves for quite some time! I hope you found this post helpful! Small business can be a bit intimidating sometimes  most of the time. And finding the right information can be really difficult! But #makersgonnnamake!

Some other helpful resources for you may be:

Obviously, I don't know everything about small business taxing, heck I only leaned all this within the week! I highly suggest doing some more research of your own until you feel confident with your knowledge on the finances and taxing bits and bobs behind your little business.

My Craft Fair Prep List
  • pay table/booth fee
  • brainstorm/come up with a table design
  • organize all my supplies
  • create lots of inventory
  • make a budget tracker
  • research taxes, what do I need to do?
  • know what I'll be charging
  • have business cards made
  • buy a table
  • create my craft fair business kit
  • make price tags
  • make/buy merchandisers, table and props 
  • get a square/mobile POS
  • acquire a cash box/apron and float money 
  • find a helper for the big day
  • set up a mock table display
  • promote! social media & local posters

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How to Make Business Cards in Photoshop

Business cards are an important piece of marketing yourself. As an Etsy seller, I include a business card in every order I ship out. I also carry them around in my bag so if my shop comes up in conversation, I'm able to hand over a business card. As an etsy seller, if you're looking to start doing local consignment or wholesale orders you'll need a business card to leave with these shops. And if you attend craft fairs you'll defiantly need cards to distribute at your events.

In this tutorial I'll walk you through the necessary steps to start designing your own business cards!
If you're pretty comfortable in photoshop, then you can just use the psd. template I've created and go from there! But if you want a bit more guidance, then keep reading the tutorial.
Obviously your business card won't be identical to mine. This tutorial is to help guide you through the steps you'll need to take to create your own card!


This template starts you off with the perfect parameters, DPI, image size, and colour to get your cards from screen to paper perfectly.


You will notice there are lines crossing through all four sides of the blank image. These help account for the "bleed" of the card. Meaning it will ensure any portion that may get cut off in printing, or any roughening up from wear will not be an issue. It's important to keep any text on your card inside these guides. It also helps keep the card ascetically pleasing. For those curious, the template is 1140 x 690 pixels, CMYK colour and 16 bit/channel. These are the best file choices for printing.

You will also notice there are two folders in the layers box. A FRONT and a BACK. These separate either side of your card. Depending on which side of the card we're working on, we'll turn the other folder invisible. By keeping the layers we create inside these folders, we'll be able to switch back and forth between front and back super-easily. If you don't want a backside to your business card, just delete the BACK folder.


Create a new layer in the front folder. Bring in whatever graphics you want to feature on your card! I'm going to use a photo of one of my weavings as the background for the front of my card. 
FILE > OPEN or PASTE the images you want to use.

To resize an image select the MARQUEE toll from the tool box > select your image layer > right click > FREE TRANSFORM - using the corner anchors, you can resize your image to whatever you like, without losing its dimensions. Now drag them where you want them on the front of your card.

Because I want the front of my card to be vertical I've also rotated the canvas. IMAGE > IMAGE ROTATION > 90 degress CW


Using the TYPE tool, add in any text you want on your card. I need to include the name of my business, and my own name on this card. Be sure to use a font on your business cards that consistent with your branding.
I also want my text to be in the very middle of my card. To do this I will be using the align buttons. SELECT LAYER > CLICK MOVE TOOL > COMMAND/CTL A > CLICK ALIGN VERTICAL CENTRES > CLICK ALIGN HORIZONTAL CENTRES This ensures the layers are dead centre without you having to tediously move them inch by inch. 


I want my text to stand out better against the very colourful background that I've created. I'll be putting the text inside a circle. I like the simplicity and effectiveness it has. I don't want too much else going on because of the texture in my image. I will also drop the opacity of this circle so just some of the colour shows though.
from the tools bar: CLICK RECTANGLE TOOL > CHOOSE THE ELLIPSE TOOL > CHOOSE YOUR FOREGROUND COLOUR (I chose pale pink)  > HOLD THE SHIFT KEY and DRAG YOUR SHAPE TO THE DESIRED SIZE (holding shift ensures you get a perfect circle and not an oval.)

Now were going to position the circle in the middle of the card, just like the text. Use the same steps as above to do this. If you need to move your layers around to get all your text in front of your shape you can do this by dragging each layer to the order you want in the LAYERS WINDOW.

To drop the opacity of this circle SELECT THE SHAPE LAYER > ADJUST OPACITY - I went with 70%


Deselect the eyeball icon next to the front folder. This makes everything you've just done invisible so we can work on the back without distractions.
The back of the card is where I list all my actual information as the front only has my name.
Start by creating a text layer using the TYPE tool. Choose a font that matches the front of your card.
Include all the info you want. I chose to include my etsy shop, blog, and email. I figured all these contact points were equally important for promoting myself. Align these fields wherever you see fit.

As you can see, I also rotated my canvas back to a horizontal view for the back of the card. you can do this without fear of messing up the front.


Social media is super important when it comes to real world promotion! As a consumer, I probably won't be adding your portfolio to my bookmarks, or putting your phone number in my contacts but I wouldn't hesitate to like you on Facebook, or follow you on instagram!
By adding my Social media contacts I've also double the amount of ways to get in touch with me on my business card!
Social media icon sets are easy to download online, the ones I used are from Carrie Loves Design. The size can be adjusted just as we did the graphics on the front of the card if need be.
Because my name on all my social media is just "loveofsweeties" I didn't feel it was necessary to include that piece on my card. In this case, the buttons are enough.


You can defiantly leave you card simple like this, depending on your style, it may be preferred. I wanted to match my branding more! 
I also added some pink poka-dots to mimic the social media bubbles. I used the shape tool, just like before. By creating the circle over the bubble I was able to replicate the size. I then duplicated the shape a few times RIGHT CLICK ON THE LAYER > DUPLICATE LAYER, and lowered the opacity on each one for a faded effect.
To get the bubbles all aligned, I put the shapes roughly where I want them: CLICK ON THE BOTTOM LAYER > SHIFT CLICK the TOP LAYER so all the layers you want to adjust are selected, then click ALIGN VERTICAL CENTERS. This will put all your circles in a perfect line. While keeping all the layers together, use the MOVE tool to move them where you want as one unit.

I added colour splashes using the brush tool - these water-colour strokes keep my card cohesive with the rest of my brand. I have colour splashes on my thank you cards, on my blog title, and in my instagram shop updates.


Let's save the back first. Make sure the back of your card looks just perfect then FILE > SAVE AS...
name your file business card "back" or whatever you want to call it. Save the file as a TIFF > SELECT DISCARD LAYERS AND SAVE A COPY or else your file will be huge. Done saving the back.

Click the eye on the back folder and click the eye on the front folder so you're left with the front of your card, and do the same thing again. 
Don't forget to save a PSD of your business card as well so you can tweak it whenever you want.
You should now have 3 files for your business card saved, the front TIFF file, the back TIFF file, and the master PSD file!

Take your files to a printer like Staples Business depot and go get yourself some business cards!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Craft Fair Prep Week 4: Making Business Cards, Making Inventory and Making Plans!

This week has been a bit of a mish-mash of little bits for me in terms of craft fair prep. But that doesn't mean I didn't accomplish a lot! I crossed quite a few things off my list. 


Whether it's a table you use to display your goods, or shelves, racks, whatever, you need to find something that will best present you products, and you can't wait until the last minute to do so! 
Give yourself ample time to play with your set-up, find out what will work best, make sure you have everything you need so two days before your fair you're not scaling the town looking for crates to add height to your display, or worse still looking for an actual table! Stress is no fun.

This week, I hunted down a table I can borrow for the day of the event! This is awesome because it means I can save $40-$80 by not having to buy one myself - bonus for not having to store it after either! The advice here is: see if you can borrow one!

Some resources where you can find folding tables, I did some price hunting for you guys:
(remember, keep your receipts!)


If you do have questions, I had lots, don't be afraid to email the coordinators early on! They will have a way that you can contact them and they will be more than willing to help you! I know it can seem like your being a bit dumb but it's our first craft fair! How else are we supposed to find out!? I had to ask my coordinators already if a table would be supplied, as it wasn't very clear to me in the info packet if they would be or not.


I had a lot of fun with this one! 
Whether you make business cards yourself from scratch (digital, or hand made), purchase them online from one of the many etsy stores that specialize in logo design and branding, or find someone locally to help you out, there are lots of options out there for getting business cards made for yourself!
I'm considering them a necessity for craft fairs because even if someone doesn't buy something that day, they probably still really like your work. How else are they going to remember you!?

I made my business cards completely on my own using photoshop! It was a learning curve, getting the specifications down and quality and such but I'm so proud of them!

If you'd like to know how to create Business cards yourself in photoshop, I'm going to have a whole post dedicated to it next week!

My Craft Fair Prep List
  • pay table/booth fee
  • brainstorm/come up with a table design
  • organize all my supplies
  • create lots of inventory
  • make a budget tracker
  • research taxes, what do I need to do?
  • know what I'll be charging
  • have business cards made
  • buy a table
  • create my craft fair business kit
  • make price tags
  • make/buy merchandisers, table and props 
  • get a square/mobile POS
  • acquire a cash box/apron and float money 
  • find a helper for the big day
  • set up a mock table display
  • promote! social media & local posters

So, where abouts are you on your Etsy Canada Craft Fair Prep? Is there anything I'm missing on my little list?  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Craft Fair Prep Week 3: How to make your own glitter banner

This week we're doing a DIY! I've spent most of this afternoon and last night cutting, gluing, glittering, and threading to create this adorable banner which I will be using on the front of my table at the upcoming Etsy Made in Canada Market!
Sure you could have a banner custom made for your events, it would look very professional and you wouldn't have to do any extra work. But it can be expensive, and plus, we're makers! So let's showcase our talent in every way we can!

This DIY is very easy, if a bit time consuming. If a glitter banner doesn't suit your business then
check out some of these other awesome banners and signs for inspiration for your own craft fair table!


  • cereal box cardboard or cardstock
  • pencil
  • white glue
  • good quality glitter (I used Martha Stewart Coarse Glitter)
  • Paint Brush 
  • Scrap paper for glittering on
  • Letter stencils (I used 4"), or a ruler to free-hand your letters
  • x-acto knife
  • Scissors
  • Spray paint matching the colour of your glitter (optional)
  • Baker's twine
  • large needle, and maybe a nail
1. Start by tracing all your letters onto the cereal box cardboard with your stencils. In the end I didn't like the font my stencils came in so I used the stencils as a size guide and free-handed them with the help of a ruler.

2. Next cut out all your letters, using the x-acto knife to get to the tricky places.

(I gave my letters a quick blast of gold spray paint before glittering them. So if any glitter came off it wouldn't be so noticeable, this step is totally optional though.)

3. Once all your letters are cut out, one at a time brush them with white glue, and, over your scrap paper smother them in glitter. Do't be afraid to really cover them, you want as few bald spots as possible. Do this until all you letters are covered. Let them dry for at least 25 minutes.

tap off the excess glitter and set your finished letters aside. Funnel the extra glitter back into your pot to use for another craft!

4. Now we're ready to string our letters! Pierce two holes at the top of each letter for the twine to thread through. My holes turned out to be too small off the bat so I went back in with a nail to make them large enough for the twine and needle to fit through. (I found piercing them over a tripled up dish cloth made it very easy and didn't rub the glitter off like hanging on to the did.

Thread your last letter first, pulling it as far as you need down the twine to accommodate the rest of your banner plus lots of extra hanging twine. You'll essentially be spelling your words in reverse. This keeps you from accidentally cutting your baker's twine too short off the bat and having to start all over again.

To thread the letters, go from the glitter side down, and come back up from the bottom so it's the back of the letters that have a line of twine going through them.

Once all your letters are threaded, adjust them as needed and hang it up. We're not done yet though!

5. I had a few sparse spots from wresting with threading the letters. Make a mix of glitter, glue and a tab of water to paint these spots in. Let the banner dry again. Finally, to seal your glitter letters, spray over a light and steady coat of hair spray.
Store carefully or display in your craft space until your next event!

How Far along are you on your table set up for your next craft fair?

Did you miss last week's Craft Fair Prep Course? Find out all about what to sell and how much to sell it for!

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