A Few Tips For Your First Show

by verabattemarco on April 3, 2009

Booth Evolution, Indoor Display

Congratulations! You were accepted! Now, what is next? Besides the inventory and displays there are a few other things that will make your first show if not more profitable at least more comfortable!

Don’t be nervous… doing shows can be a lot of fun! I always do better when I come from a mindset that it will be a lot of fun. I’ll meet people who share my interests, both customers and artists or dealers. I’ll make some $$$ and make customers happy they found something they love and are taking it home!

Also, when you are stressed, people pick up on that. If you are having fun, they seem attracted to you. I don’t mean not being professional, but enjoying the work you are doing. It shows, believe me.

These are some other suggestions:

Start by mentally going through the process in your head – setting up, selling, packing up. Write a list of things you will need besides the inventory. Then check items off the list as you pack.

Bring food, healthy snacks and water. Bring coffee or tea if you like that, but don’t have too much caffeine. If you are by yourself, you don’t have to leave the booth. Food can be awful at shows. Some are bad for your health and take your energy away (like deep fried stuff and sugar). Others are just bad.

Dress comfortably, professionally and in layers. You can always take off or add a layer. Make sure your shoes are comfortable (you won’t believe how important this is!). Sometimes I will even bring another pair of shoes and change at some point.

Wear the jewelry you are selling, make sure it works with your outfit. Wear only one set. I have seen dealers pile on jewelry. It does not look good and you can;t really see how the actual jewelry is supposed to work. I tend to wear black ot white top depending on the season, sort of plain, easy to show the jewelry if you have to try it on so someone can see how it looks like.

What do you need for your set up?  If it is a new show I try to see where the booth is so I can make a mental picture of what I want the booth to look like. It doesn’t matter if it will look like that in the end, it is just a good way to be prepared and a good starting point.

Make sure you have the basics, packaging, receipts, witting paper, business cards, pens, change.

If you don’t have business cards, print some leaflet or a piece of paper with the contact information.  Make as professional as possible. Every person that stops at our booth leaves with our contact information,  whether they buy or not. I say simply “Please take our business card so you can find us again, we are also on the web” etc.

Bring a good looking notebook or index file cards and a clipboard for an email list – that is one of your best resources. Even if the show isn’t that great, you have some new prospects. Then when you get back home
the next day (the sooner the better while it’s fresh in their mind) send the person an email – it was so nice to meet you, etc… and the next show or your email address or a coupon or anything like that.

As for credit cards, PayPal is cheap but you used to have to enter the Buyer’s billing address. Some don’t want to give it out, others don’t understand the need, yet others don’t understand the question. It’s just too confusing for the customer and takes too long to complete a sale. I speak from experience here.

I would get a Merchant Account with a knuckle buster (manual imprint machine)  or a wireless machine. Some wireless machines don’t work in certain locations. It is expensive. However, there is a risk involved if you do it manually as you don’t know if the card is good until you get home and process it.

If you accept cards by any method, make sure to get the customer’s phone number. You won’t be able to get that otherwise, the banks won’t tell you if you have a problem and need to reach the customer. Same for checks.

If most of your items are on the lower end, I would wait a while. I have found that since the Fall of last year folks are less inclined to use cards. I prefer cash and checks, no fees involved.

This is what I could think of right now. And always keep in mind this is supposed to be fun. I don’t know who said that “Work ceases to exist the moment you start to enjoy it”.  Well, if you are having fun, it’s not work anymore, is it?

So have a blast, a wonderful show and let me know how it turned out. If you have any questions, just email!

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