For creators of all types, craft shows and conventions offer a fun way to attract new clients, make connections with other artists, and earn some money.
There’s quite a bit of work that goes into becoming a vendor, however, so you’ll want to start planning for your table or booth months in advance. This will give you time to prepare your items, figure out price points, make signage, and take care of all the little details that come with selling handmade goods at a show.
You’ll also want to check out online resources that provide DIY tips and advice on how to make merchandise that sells, and CraftingGlow is a great place to start. Read on for ideas on how to prep for a successful upcoming show.
Iron out the Financial Details
There are lots of things to consider where money is concerned, including how to price your items, which payment forms you’re going to accept, and how to make sure your tax responsibilities are taken care of. Many vendors are given tax paperwork before the show, but if you won’t be provided with a form, you can download one from the IRS website.
If you don’t already run a business selling your handmade items, you can use a 1040 form to report your earnings; otherwise, the usual rules apply, including your ability to deduct expenses. Later, you might consider starting a business of your own and selling online.
Setting up an LLC will protect your personal finances and give you some flexibility as well as some tax benefits. Check out the regulations for forming an LLC in Pennsylvania, and consider using a formation service to save money on filing.
Keep your tax responsibilities in mind when figuring out how to price your items, as well as the amount of time you spent working on it and the cost of materials. It’s also good form to take a look at your convention neighbors’ tables and make sure you aren’t undercutting them on similar items.
Processing payments is an important part of selling at any show, so think about the forms you want to accept. Accepting credit cards has never been easier than it is these days, with card reader options and matching apps that help you keep track of every purchase made. Many vendors handle lots of cash, so make sure you have change as well as a safe place to keep your money throughout the day.
Prep Your Inventory
Keep Track of Your Items
Not only do you need to have a master list of every item you’re going to bring to the convention, you’ll also need an easy way to keep track of sales. You might search for an inventory management app, or if you don’t need too many bells and whistles, simply use Google Drive to create a spreadsheet listing each item, the amount, and the price.
Create Your Display
Once you know what you’re selling, think about how you’re going to set up your table or booth. You may need to bring racks, display grids, or picture stands to properly display your goods. Take a look online for some inspiration on table decorating, ensuring that all of your merchandise has good flow and is visually appealing.
Make Your Signage Work for You
Like your displays, your signage should be visually appealing and clear, since customers who are walking through a convention or craft show are often overwhelmed with information. Create a banner with your name or the name of your business to hang from the table, offer business cards so they can find you online for commission work or additional purchases, and refrain from cluttering up the table with lots of price cards.
Finally, networking is another crucial part of attending these shows, so think about what you’re looking for in a business or creative connection. There are many different types of creators at conventions and craft shows, and you may just find someone to make a mutually beneficial partnership with.
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Article Written by Gloria Martinez of WomenLed.org