Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Learning about the fair:
-Make sure you ask questions including what are the table fees?, do I need to pay a certain percentage of what i make? (Some places ask for 10-20% of what you made that day on top of table fees) Is their a Door prize donation?. Allow your self time to plan for it,and make sure you are available and free the day/s of the fair.
-Check Inventory. Go over all of your inventory. Write down what items you will need to order,what items have gone on sale, what items are no longer available etc. Here's a small checklist to look over :
-Any items you have in stock
- Have items in Stock. I always make sure I have enough items in stock so i can sell them at the fairs. I will usually add an extra quarter or 50 cents on top of the price to cover shipping charges. I order a large supply (depending on how big the fair is) to cover everything.Before I was a Work at home mom I went to many fairs and It really drove me away when I approached a table and their was nothing to purchase. Just grab a catalog and either order or book a party. I purchase in the moment, I do not want to wait,especially if I have to pay to get into the craft fair. They would have some of their items out (demo items) but nothing else.
- Price you items. Always price your items before the fair,not during. You don't want to have "extra" work to do at a fair. If your constantly working on your table it could drive away customers. You want to be prepared and show others your prepared also.
- Organize!. No matter what you sell you need to have your items organized. Place them in Rubbermaid containers,boxes, or rolling totes. Something that is easy for you,and still looks professional.
- Make your signs. If you have any specials,discounts or free gifts, make sure you print up or make a cute sign that says so. You want to draw your customers to you. I love seeing signs that state "75% off!" or "Free Gift!" I have a radar for those he he. Also make sure you have enough door prize slips.
The night before the show:
Make sure you double check everything. Nothing worse than forgetting something important and than having your hubby have to load up the kiddos and bringing you left item!. Here's a checklist for items other than your inventory:
-gift certificate's (if you offer them)
-extra price tags (they can fall off through out the show)
-Door prize box
- Table decor (items like table cloth/s, stands and other decor)
-Lunch including snacks and a drink (Your going to have people continually coming to your table so you may not have a chance to go grab some grub.) Bring food that's easy to eat and not messy.
- Pack all of your stuff the night before so you can leave fresh and early with your coffee and no worries.
- Go to bed early and get a good nights rest
The first business fair I did. I didn't pack my items the night before thinking it wouldn't be a problem. I also didn't double check anything the night before I just assumed it was all their because I checked it a week prior. Well after getting ready the morning (Hair, makeup etc.) of the fair, I went to pack all of my business materials into the car, it was very windy and my car door was locked. I forgot my keys in the house so i had to run back in to get the keys,in the mean while the wind blew a top of one of my containers off and papers flew everywhere! I struggled to get everything together. Finally after Everything was packed I get into the car and my Hair was one big knot from the wind, my coffee was cold and I was running late. After I got to the fair to set up I realized I had forgot so many things! I had to borrow items left and right from other booths. It was unprofessional and just a mess but I learned a lot from it.
The day of the show:
- Set your alarm a little earlier than you need just in case you have ideas that come to mind. (I always get new ideas in the morning). Also so you can get up and have your "time" especially if you have kids.
- You have arrived!. Grab your business materials and find your table. When setting up for booth, make it stand out!. Don't make it too cluttered or unorganized looking.
- When making sales (especially if your selling items from your inventory) write down any and every items you sell and for how much. Its nice to have a simple list to see what you sold and how much you made. This also makes it easier when its time to restock and reorder.
Tips to make your table stand out!
- Add different heights to your table like placing boxes under the table cloth and place an item on it. It really stand out.
-Decorate according to the time of year. If its right around the holidays, have a Santa table cloth (or something to do with the holidays).
-Make you sale signs visible.
- Have a door prize box. Place a sign above it "FREE Drawing!". Have customers fill out a door prize slip. Not only are they entering a Free drawing for a free gift you are receiving info about them. Here's what I add to my slips:
would you like to join my newsletter?
Would you like to host a party? (catalog or home)
Some Do's and Dont's for craft fairs:
- Do make yourself approachable and ready to converse
- Be prepared
- Be up to date with specials or sales
- Have catalogs ready with order forms nearby ready for customers to order.
- Be courteous to other booth renters. If someone is looking for candles and you don't sell them, direct them to the nearest table that does sell them. Also if you are playing music or have candles lit, make sure the music is suitable for all ages and the candle isn't too strong.
-Be on your feet as much as possible
- Always be positive!
- Do not chew gum. Nothing worse than conversing with a consultant that representing a business and their smacking away at their gum.
- Do not sit the whole the time. Your making it look as if your not interested or excited to be there.
- Don't be obnoxious to other booth renters. Like commenting on their products "That doesn't work" or " You'll never sell that". (I had a woman do this to me about a year ago. She kept commenting on my items "that's to expensive" " I would never put that in my house" she was just rude to everyone around her. Sure enough she didn't sell one single item )
-Do not be negative about your business or company. No one likes to hear about how bad your products are,mistakes your company has made or how much you have made or haven't made.
- After the Day is done, pack up your items, clean up your booth area. Pack all of your items nicely so you can go through them when you get home.
After you get home:
Go through and see what items sold, what items were looked at the most. (So you know what items were most popular and make sure to order more next time.)
Follow ups!- Those good Ole' door prize slips now come in handy. I usually wait a day or two before I contact them. Not to long after though or they may forget. Contact them either by email or phone.
Now that you have done your first (or another) booth you always learn something new!.
Please add any experiences you have had or do's and
What is Etsy?
Etsy is a wonderful site where you can buy and sell home made items. It has a very active forum for discussing all kinds of things. You are able to have your own shop at no extra cost and make it your own. See for yourself http://www.etsy.com/
When crafters first start out turning to ebay is the easiest way. Yet the fees can add up, especially if your items do not sell.
EBay vs Etsy
-You can start by opening your own store for Free!
- When listing an item the listing fee is only $.20 flat rate.
-You receive 5 Free spaces to place pictures of the item you are wanting to sell.
-Item stays on site for 6 months (unless it sells before the time is up)
- Must self promote,though Etsy is getting more traffic every month it still is not as well knows as ebay
-No auctions go on within the site (I love doing these sometimes)
-Have many options to listing your item
-Can add an auction to your item
-First picture is free
-Any picture you add after your first is $.15
-there are extra fees for items over a certain amount of money
-Item can only be listed for 7 days unless you pay for more time
How does a swap group work?
When you join a group the moderator will place you in a group of 5-20 people (depending on the size of the whole yahoo group). You will be required to purchase any one item from the company of one of the consultants in your group. Usually they require one purchase once a month, some groups require 2 or 3 purchases a month. Each consultant will have their advertising time once or twice a month and each other member in your group must purchase an item from you.
Some questions to ask your self before you join a particular swap group,Shopping group or trade group:
- Is the moderator active? Does she help out, answer questions, and make sure all members obied by the rules?
- Am I going to be available to get to a computer during the times I need to make a purchase or receive sales?(If you are gone a lot, this wouldn't be a good idea unless you have a access to a computer to answer questions and such. Being an active member helps you meet more people and give you a good name.)
- Am I here to help others out? or just to make sales? ( Both! Don't join just to advertise, its a great way to meet other consultants. Other members will catch on quickly if your an advertising "troll". They wont read your post and you will be deleted quickly from the group.)
Cons of joining a group:
- When it comes time for you to purchase any items from a consultant, the company they represent may not be your "cup of tea". Either way you must purchase something. Think if a friend or family member would like or use something from that company.
- Their are a lot of people who join just to make sales and than they leave and just take the sales and never purchase from anyone else.
- If your a little tight with money very often,don't join. Not only will this be a hard time for you but if you cant make a purchase for another member it can lead to lots of bad reports for you.
-Make a list of friends and family that would be interested in attending, don't forget co-workers and teachers.
- Send out an email or call to everyone with the date and time. Include what specials you will be having, if their will be snacks, drink or games. Also let them know if any prizes are going to be given out.
-Let them know the rules: for example: for every $10 you purchase, you will receive one raffle ticket (or however much you would like to make it). If a person books a party that day they will receive 5 raffle tickets. If they join under you they will receive 10 tickets.
- Try and close the party the day of so you can get the total of the party , draw the mystery hostess and let them pick out the FREE products and or half-off items.
- If the party isn't able to close that day..give them a week at most and than close it.
DO's for a successful Mystery Hostess Party
-DO call and email as many people as you know
-DO state the "rules" clearly of the party before hand
-DO close within a timely manner
-DO email/call all guest afterwards thanking them for coming
-Do not change the rules in the middle of the show
-Do not cheat on the drawing of names, just because "Maria" is a friend doesn't mean she should receive the products. Everyone came for the chance to win also. Even if the name drawn is that of an enemy, reward them.
-Do not state an exact amount that the mystery hostess will win until all of the orders have been processed.
Have you had a Mystery Hostess Party before? Share your story
Here's a couple of ways:
-Advertise on bulletin boards around town. Along with leaving flyer's, catalogs, business cards. Think, Grocery Stores, beauty salons (just about everyone picks up a magazine when their getting their hair done , might as well be your catalog :), local stores and shops.
-Get your name in the paper. If you live in a small town advertising in your local paper can be inexpensive. If you have a big budget advertise in papers in towns around you.
- Get your business in the radio, once again most small towns don't require a large amount for a quick advertisement.
-Place your business card in any outgoing mail. Bills, newsletters, anything you may sell on eBay and others. You would be surprised at how many will keep that card and may even give you a call about a purchase or a recruit.
-Have an open house! Of course you are going to want to advertise this. When people come, you will want to tell them about the business, make some sales, and hopefully even have people join. Make sure everyone leaves with a catalog, and you leave with names and numbers.
These are just a few ideas. Do you have any other ideas? what have worked for you
-Take advantage of Free Advertising, whether its a blog,or new website. Even if you spend $3.00 here and $10 there for advertising it does add up quick! You will be surprised at results sometimes. Of course use your own judgement, don't post on widely used "just for advertising" sites. Its usually just a spam board and your wasting your time. Stick to simple sites.
-If you have the budget whether its just $10 a month or $100 pick high traffic sites like www.wahm.com . They usually have their listing spaces up for bid at eBay, granted it can get very spendy so just bid within your budget. A lot of wah sites that have been around for less than a year usually have very affordable ad space. So get on board!.
- If your already part of a WAH message board (most have a signature line) use that!. Even use your avatar Space to your advantage. Include a link to your site, and make it simple to get too.
- Online Vendor Parties are a great way to get your name and business out there! You can find them sometimes for Free and some cost $1.00-$5.00. It goes on in a live chat room, their are usually about 10-20 other vendors their. You talk about your company including sales or discounts going on that current month..go over some items and talk about the company (great for recruiting). Some people like sticking to their "cello in a box lady" or "Toy lady". This is a great way to become a rep for some very loyal customers.
Happy Advertising! :)
If you have any other great ideas about online advertising please email me and ill add them:)
Monday, April 9, 2007
First off do your research. Some online vendor party sites have a screen in the chat room, so as you talk about an item you simply show it on the screen. In that case you need to make sure you have the links already written so you can just copy and paste. Some sites do not have these. Some sites you may need to do something extra to copy and paste. Make sure you know about it prior so you are prepared. If you really want to research it further join in on a vendor party as a guest not a rep and see how they do theirs.
-Check their Online Vendor party times and schedule.
-Sign up under a time that is good for you that you are free (you don't want any distractions)They have vendor spots for 30 min -60 min (you may have to pay extra if you want 60 min)
-Usual vendor party's cost about $1-$5, so make sure you have a pay pal account.
-Make sure their are no other reps for your company. All the vendor sites i have been too only accept one rep per company per party. (Which makes sense)
- Some sites require a prize giveaway (around $5). Unless your company has items that you can purchase at this price, use a gift e-certificate. This gives the winner a free $5 and will usually give you a sale. So lets say your prize is a small bottle of hand lotion that cost you $5. Well if that person wins this, he/she may not like it.Even though they won and took it doesn't mean they will like it or use it.They just want something that is free sometimes. When someone else that loves that lotion would have loved to receive it. Also remember it cost a little to ship..so lets say $3 for shipping theirs an $ 8 loss. By giving them a $5 gift e-certificate it gives the winner a chance to purchase something they want. They may even end up purchasing more (so theirs a great sale for you!). Now if someone is not interested in purchasing anything from you they will not use the gift certificate and no money lost to you.
- Once the mod receives your request he/she will have your name on the schedule.
- Now its time to type up all your information. You usually will only have 30 min to represent your company, so you want to spend less time typing and more time answering questions( 30 min goes by very fast). So type up your info and save it so you can copy and paste your info (quicker). Include your link, any sales or discounts your company is offering for that week/month, talk a little about certain items (usually your top selling , or new items), and also include information on becoming a representative (awesome way to recruit!). Also you may want to think about including a discount for the day or a prize or both. Some shoppers who attend these love discounts and of course who doesn't like free stuff?.
- When the day comes for your Vendor fair make sure your wide and awake. You want to be attentive to your audience. *remember Your not just going for a sale, but a way to meet other great wahms!. So chat with everyone, also make sure you have your pay pal ready their may just be something from some other rep you would like and maybe even a discount :).
- Your time is here, first off introduce yourself and link. Simply copy and paste your info from the list you wrote earlier. Don't just go copy and paste crazy, make sure your looking out for questions people may ask, or comments. After you finish your presentation make sure you chat with everyone else about your products and ask if their are any other questions.
- Use all of your time, just don't stop after you have finished, keep people attentive to you even throw in a little game or two for a small prize. This really gets people's attention.A good Moderator will not allow constant chat between each other unless its a "shopper" chatting with you. I have been to a few vendor parties before that during times of "representing" their is chat going on about what their kids did that day or whatever between other people and the rep can barely get a word out.Especially if you paid for a vendor spot I'm sure you would be highly upset.
- Let everyone know the options for instance :" I can take pay pal or credit cards, or please email me your order or order directly off my site"
- When your finished thank everyone for their time, and you will be standing by for any other questions and or orders.
- Unless you have to go do other things, stay in the room for at least another 30 min or even till the end of the party. When someone purchases or thinking about purchasing they don't want to see the rep leave right after their presentation. Not only is that a bit tacky but some that were planning on purchasing will not now, due to them thinking your just all about the money and not about customers.It also gives people a chance to catch up and ask questions. Sometimes during a break the mod will let everyone post their link again and their may be someone that just joined in and sees your link.
Some quick info..
A lot of online vendor party's you attend will usually not have more than 20 people in it. Sometimes you get a great turnout, sometimes you don't. Either way, represent your company in the best way. So make sure you advertise it as much as you can to everyone so they will show up to the party.
Sometimes you make a sale, sometimes you don't. Don't get upset though, just look at it like practice.
Some "shoppers/vendors" will ONLY purchase from you IF you purchased from them. This is an ongoing battle that needs to stop. The same with you, if theirs something that you really want and you like the Representative than purchase from them. Don't expect them to turn right back around and purchase from you. Sometimes they will and sometimes they wont. I wont purchase anything unless i want/need it. Not because they just purchased from me. I will be very thankful though :)
Party hardy! :)
Have you had experience with an online vendor party? How did it go? let us know!
This article may be republished as long as the resource box is kept at the end and fully intact.
Author: Jordan Gaffey
Written: April 9,2007