Have you experienced disastrous craft shows before that cost you big? Do you want to avoid them?
The handmade marketplace is filled with shows – some great ones and some not so great. But how do you determine if a particular show is right for you and your handmade business?
1. Show Promotion
Do some research of the craft show company’s profile. Search for their website or Facebook fan page. See how they portray themselves and their show. Are they promoting their vendors or just showcasing the show itself? What kinds of fans/friends are following them? What is the organizer expecting of you in order to promote the show? Some of the best shows provide vendors some of the tools to assist in show promotion (i.e. social media buttons and logos, postcards, posters).
2. Attend As A Customer
Never do a show without attending it at least once. It’s essential to experience the show first hand. No show information from the organizer or past vendor recommendations will replace a direct visit. Look at the show layout, how it’s organized and do the vendors seem happy.
3. Compatible Vendors
Check the vibe and feel of the products they’re promoting. Also another factor to consider is other vendors’ product price points. Do these vendors have product prices which are comparable to yours? Be sure to check out a show’s blog and vendor websites for information and to take a closer look at their product photos and product styles.
4. Application and Show Fees
Do you think you have the potential of making back the cost of the application and show fees and then some? Don’t forget to account for all of those expenses such as travel related ones for those out of town shows (gas, hotel and meals) and incidentals including any costs you’ll need to spend for updating or buying new display materials, packaging supplies (bags, tissue paper) etc.
5. Vendor Feedback
Contact current vendors to receive feedback on the show. Ask questions like – Why do they like attending the show? Are the show organizers easy to work with? Also, if you recognize a particular vendor from another show, ask them how the new show compares to the other show they’ve both done before. Find out why (if possible) former vendors are no longer doing the show.
6. New Customers
Is the show going to bring some new customers to your business? Does the show have other vendors that would allow customers to “cross-pollinate” to your products and booth?
7. Existing Customers
Is the show in a location convenient to some of your existing customers? If the show charges admission and even parking, would your customers pay this fee? Would the show be attractive to them? Better yet, is the show NEW to them?
Sometimes a good reason for doing a new show is the potential for additional media or press exposure. Bigger shows are more popular for bloggers, print writers, and media to attend. Brick and Mortar retailers also are more likely to shop the larger shows looking for new product and scouting new vendors.
Although not an exact science, these factors should assist you in determining whether a new show is the right opportunity for you and your handmade business.
Here’s an infographic from dear handmade life for your quick review:
There you have it. Hope you found a good craft show. Good luck!