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Friday, July 3, 2015

Craft Fair Prep Week 1: How to get Started

Welcome to Part 1 of the new Craft Fair Prep Series! I'm so excited to get started! This week's post will cover how to begin preparing for your event!
This step can be the hardest for some people! Beginning a new thing can be scary and intimidating sometimes (you know, a bit of excitement and a lot of fear). This is the method that works best for me when I'm preparing for a large event. I've tailored it for getting ready to sell at my first craft fair. Here we go!

With the Etsy Made in Canada Market still over 2 months away, I have lots of time to prepare. Weekends, evenings, and days off will be mostly reserved for my looms or whatever else I need to prepare before the big day in September.

Once I found out I was going to be a part of the fair I began my planning process by writing down every single thing I could think of that I'll have to do before the big day. I know I will continue to add to this list as the weeks go on, and that's ok. I don't expect to know everything I have to do right now. Let's call this Piece #1:

HAVE A MASTER LIST
By writing out a master list of everything I need to do before the event, I can visualize exactly what I have to do, whether the tasks be big or small. Feel free to break down your tasks to as small as you like to. Being able to cross off a few little things each week will make the whole planning process much less stressful! My list will act of somewhat of a table of contents for this series too (see how that works, sneaky me).
My Craft Fair Prep List
  • brainstorm/come up with a table design
  • pay table/booth fee
  • create lots of inventory
  • make a budget tracker
  • research tax, pricing, etc
  • have business cards made
  • 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

Even though this is only the first week of my preparation, I have already been able to cross a few things off my master list this week! That makes me feel pretty darn accomplished. The first thing I did was pay my market fee. Which brings us to point two.

SUBMIT ANY PAYMENTS
Major step. I submitted my payment which secures my space in the fair. You may have already put some money forward in the application process, but find you if you need to pay any seller fees as well. This is a pretty important step. If the organizers don't receive your payment by the cut off period, you lose your space! Find out when yours is due, and how they expect you to pay. Once your spot is secure, you can start planning you space.

BRAINSTORM TABLE PLANS
The other pretty big thing I've done this week is plan out how my table will look. This is pretty major because you need to know well ahead of time if you're going to need to build anything custom, paint, purchase, order specifics, etc. I know all these things can take time so I want to make sure I'm prepared with lots of it.

I did tons google, pinterest, and instagram searches of "craft fair", "craft fair table", "craft fair set up", etc, and found it very helpful. It gave me some ideas for how I'd like my products to be presented.
I've also attended farmers markets and fairs the last few weeks as well, paying extra attention to how vendors have set themselves up. I've found this helpful too - in both how I want my set-up to look and how I don't want it to look.
If you really have no idea where to start, just start searching up ideas online, it will be super helpful.

Don't forget to create a Pinterest page to house all your inspiration! You can follow mine too!

Next, put your ideas on paper, as many as you can think of! You might be surprised by which ones you find the most feasible once you're looking at a picture. Take your products into account: How do you want them to be presented? Which do you want to be the most visible? Where will your business name be displayed?
I'm selling wall hangings, and I want my table to cater to my product. I can't really just lay them all out on the table. (Well I could, but I wouldn't fit very many and it's not the most effective way to display my particular products.)
This craft fair allots each seller a 6' space, where the seller will supply their own table or merchandisers. Find out what your space requirements are.
I think I'm going to go with a 4' table and a 2' wide peg board to display the majority of my weavings on. Once I start putting things together, this plan might change, but I can see in my mind what I want already!
This is a pretty heavy duty step, which I'll keep delving into as the weeks go by. 

Last but not least for this week...

RESEARCH
Get as much advice as you can, continuously. I've read lots of articles and blog posts these past few weeks! Here are the articles I found the most helpful and that I know I will be referencing again.
I hope you've found some advice in this post, don't forget we're learning together! What are the first things you do in preparation for craft shows?  Here's my master list again, with what I've accomplished so far!

My Craft Fair Prep List
  • pay table/booth fee
  • brainstorm/come up with a table design
  • create lots of inventory
  • make a budget tracker
  • research tax, pricing, etc
  • have business cards made
  • 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
Don't forget next Friday will be the second instalment of this series, keep your eyes open!

Follow my Craft Fair Prep Board on Pinterest for lots of booth ideas, and helpful articles!


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