A question that is often asked by crafters who are just starting out on the craft show scene is “How much inventory should I bring to a show?”. Since empty space in a booth will hinder your sales dramatically, the obvious answer is to bring more than you intend to sell.
But how do you calculate how much you will sell? Of course, it is impossible to answer this question with 100% accuracy, but there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure you have enough inventory for an event.
First, in the event you will be attending is not brand new, talk to other craftspeople who have attended the show in previous years. Try to get an idea of how many customers normally attend the show. The show promoters can also help you out with this question.
Also, ask them some of the following questions:
• Were the customers a serious-buying crowd in the past?
• What types of products seem to sell the best at the show?
• How many people typically attend the event?
• What types of advertising do they use to promote the event?
• What is the average sale?
• How many crafters are repeat vendors?
If you expect a large number of buying customers at the show, then you should plan on creating more products for the event well in advance. This advice, though, depends on whether or not you’ve attended the event before along with your experience at craft fairs.
After taking into account the experiences of other craftspeople as well as yourself, assess the things you already know about your product line. What are your best sellers?
If this will be your first time selling crafts, ask yourself what the items are that your family and friends like best. Do you have any seasonal or holiday items that correspond to the season the show is held? You should always bring an excess of these items to a show.
While there are no easy answers to the question of inventory, a good rule-of-thumb is to bring as much as you can possibly carry to an event. However, if your crafts are small and lightweight, this is much easier to accomplish than if you carry large, harder to transport items.
So if your products are very large, concentrate on bringing as many of your most popular products as you can.
Twice the amount of inventory as you expect to sell is considered a safe number.
Remember, a booth that is scarce in products will also be scarce for customers! You can always bring home what you do not sell, but craft shows have a very impulse-buying atmosphere, so you should always be prepared to have enough inventory so that you do not sell out of anything.
Speaking of inventory, it’s important to have an organizational system so you can easily tell what you have at any given time. This is especially true if you have themed merchandise. If you run out of nursing plaques and you only have 2 left, you want to know this right away when you have an RN and her friend waiting for theirs.
The best way to organize your merchandise and all the other things you need to bring is to sort them into similarly sized, easily carried, bins. You can get some great bins with lids at discount stores and hardware stores.
Organize your inventory into bins by section or type, so that you can easily put up a section, and then take it down and store it.
Have separate bins for administrative materials (sales forms, staplers, tape, handouts) and for utility items (extension cords, table risers, table covers, display pieces).
Label these bins with peel-off mailing labels. Make those labels very specific so there’s no doubt what’s inside.
Another huge issue with new crafters is how to price their products. If you price it too low, you lose profit. If you price it too high, it won’t sell. How do you figure out that happy medium?
We hope you enjoy this full craft fair guide to sell your crafts at craft fairs, this is the Part Nine, find the full parts here: