Preparing for a craft show, for me, starts months in advance. Since I only have so many hours in the week to dedicate full time to my business, being ready for a big show requires so...much...planning. It's a lot of work for an 8 hour show, but the idea is that I will earn enough income to cover the 6-8 weeks of time that went into it. Unless it rains, of course, then no shoppers show up!
Today I want to show you some behind-the-scenes work as I prepare for a craft fair scheduled for May 18th. I'm deep in the trenches of work for this show, and have been planning for at least 2 months now. Maybe when I'm more experienced and the kids are both in school full time, I can pull it off in less time. For now, here's how I [try to] do it.
Starting to stage my table display for the booth. How much product do I need? How do I arrange it well? Will it all fit in my car??
Crayon rolls in progress. Assembly-line work means large piles of semi-finished things which won't really look finished until closer to the show date. I group things by color to minimize changing out the thread on my sewing machine.
Will I finish everything on my inventory wish list?
Branding is very important if I want to even think about getting repeat business from someone.
Production has moved from my upstairs studio to the kitchen table. Not ideal, but it means I can sneak in a seam here and there while kids get ready for school, while I make dinner, and even while I have a friend for coffee. A work-from-home Mama's gotta do what she's gotta do to get it all done!
Free gifts for Etsy sales--still have to keep up with the other facets of my business while prepping for the show on a limited schedule. There are wholesale orders, Etsy sales, and even some Mother's Day custom orders, Mother's Day gifts for my mother and mother-in-law, not to mention a birthday party coming up in two weeks. I need to give a huge thank you to my intern (not sure what to call the lovely gal who helps me sew during really busy times). She made the tissue packs and did the tedious work on the crayon rolls. Thank you Maddie!!
Some of the aftermath from all the products I'm hoping to finish.
Price tags and ribbon zipper pull tabs. All put on by hand after the products are finished. This is where family becomes a HUGE help.
Mesh produce/beach combing bags waiting for drawstrings.
Zippered Pouches in progress.
Last, but not least, final packaging must be cute. I like to use recycled kraft paper handled bags at craft fairs. It's not plastic, and the handles seem to really make a difference. I put a sticker with my contact info on the outside, tie a scrap fabric bow on the handle and make sure to include a business card. So...much...still...to...do!!!!! May 18th will be here before I know it. Having limited time to sew, a limited time to work uninterrupted, getting up at 5am to get a jump on some of this before children need attention, all means that I will most likely NOT have much time to blog in the next month.
The next time you are at a craft or artisan fair, I hope that you take a moment to appreciate all that went into that artist having a lovely booth setup! Ask them a question about their creative process. Buy something from them. Or at least sign their mailing list for heaven's sake!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.