Craft shows and boutiques can be an excellent source of income and a fabulous way to build your local business customers. They can also be a great way to try out new lines and samples to gauge customer interest. These six tips will help you to put on a successful, organized show, and hopefully won't leave you feeling like you've been hit by a craft show bus. Not that I've ever felt like that the day after a boutique. Ahem.
1. Choose your boutique wisely. A successful boutique can depend a great deal on the boutique itself. Choosing a craft show that has a large following, promotes the event, and works well with vendors can make a huge difference in whether or not you have a profitable event. If you aren't familiar with the boutiques in your area, talk to other designers or research events online. Don't be afraid to contact the event organizers and ask how they promote the event and what their policies are. You will also want to keep in mind that most boutiques accept vendors months in advance.
2. Get started early. Do not wait until the last two weeks to create your entire inventory, price everything and come up with a show-stopping display. Start building up your inventory early, and keep in mind the amount of traffic you are expecting at your booth. It's always better to have too many pieces than not enough — a full booth will draw more customers. A great goal would be to have all of your inventory and display completed two weeks before the show so you can spend that time pricing and organizing.
3. Make a checklist. Even if you are a super organized person and are a boutique pro, it's easy to sometimes forget things in the rush of prep and set up. Create a list of all the inventory you would like to bring, and revise it as you complete your pieces. Lists for supplies, set up items and boutique requirements will make sure that you have a smooth set up and don't arrive at the boutique and realize you've forgotten your backdrop.
4. Come prepared. Sometimes the unexpected happens. When you are prepping for the boutique, it's a great idea to include extra price tags, tape, scissors, hardware, jewelry tools and anything else you need to make your display. Make sure you plan on bringing business cards, order forms, and any custom jewelry photos or order information. There will be lots of “walk-bys” that might later purchase from your online shop later if they've picked up your card.
5. Design a creative booth to stand out. An eye-catching booth or display will draw customers first, and then they’ll stay to browse and buy when they see your gorgeous jewelry. First check the booth requirements of the boutique, and make sure you stay within the space you are allotted. Starting off the boutique with crabby vendors on either side of you because your display infringes a foot into their space is not a great idea. Create your booth and displays so they fit your style and show off your items in the best way. You want to make your displays eye-catching but easy to browse through. If you're running low on ideas or want to freshen up your display, spend some time on Pinterest searching craft show displays. You'll hit the mother lode.
6. Be personable and have fun! Despite all your organization and prep, there is a chance that on boutique day you might be feeling a bit sleep-deprived. Do your best to put that aside, and be friendly and inviting. Your customers will love discussing jewelry with you. Chatting about the pieces and spending time with your customers will lead to more sales, and hopefully more follow-up sales after the boutique as well!
Bonus: Want to learn how to design and sell jewelry? Enroll in the New York Institute of Art and Design's Jewelry Design Course today!