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Top-Notch Tips to Help You Rock Your First Arts and Craft Show

Image of Artwork at Craft Show - Image from Pixabay

Image via Pixabay

A craft fair is a great way to show off your artistic wares and make new connections. But if you've never been a vendor before, the whole experience can be overwhelming. Being prepared and having the right tools can help you have a fun (and profitable) experience. The Crooked Creek Art League is pleased to share what you need to know to ensure you rock it on your first run!

Track your wares

Craft fairs can be chaotic. There is an abundance of people and activity, so it's essential that you know what to expect and how to prepare. Check with the facility to see what will be provided and what you need to bring. Confirm any fees and figure out when you can begin setting up. Now's a good time to begin tracking expenses. There will be costs associated with your craft fair, but as explains, the good news is a lot of it is tax-deductible.

Keeping track of inventory can be one of the hardest parts of being on the road. Choose a software solution that is easy to use and helps you track your goods so you know exactly what you have. To capably run this software, you’ll need a tablet or smartphone with plenty of memory and power. New devices can run over $1,000, but you’ll spend less if you take advantage of sign-up offers from your wireless carrier.

Money matters

Your inventory will dovetail with your sales. This one may seem obvious, but you can't just go to a fair, sell your merchandise, and call it a day. The taxman wants their share. If you are an independent contractor (i.e., you don't work for anyone else), you will likely need to pay self-employment tax. Because of this, you will need to keep a detailed record of your sales.

You also will be responsible for sales tax in many circumstances. Chron notes many vendors find it helpful to both themselves and their customers to include sales tax in the price. Don't forget the money-changing essentials like a cash box with spare change, a calculator, and a place to safely store cash.

For cash purchases, the simplest way to keep track of sales is a basic receipt book. A receipt log will allow you to quickly account for your sale and give the customer a record as well. Be sure to record the sale price and the date for accurate accounting. When it comes to addressing your budget, profitability, and ongoing payables and receivables, choose software that keeps things simple and straightforward.

Consider mobile credit card processing options that are all in one and reliable. Some will mesh nicely with popular accounting software options. And of course, ensure you have a reliable internet connection to keep sales flowing. A simple mobile Wi-Fi device is often your best bet, so you don’t have to worry about failed connections or slow service.

Goodies that pull it together

Beyond your product, make a list of everything you will need to bring. This may include a tent, a comfortable chair, and things to decorate your booth. You want to catch people's attention, but you don't want to spend your entire budget on your display. Resale shops, Craigslist, and even the dollar store are great for finding fun and simple decorations. Think through what your booth will look like, and then search for inexpensive ways to make it happen.

Depending on what you’re selling, you may wish to invest in display cases as well. Also, think about where you can stash boxes, a hand truck, and whatever else you need to get to and from your vehicle. Oftentimes this is as simple as draping inexpensive tablecloths over tables and stowing those essentials underneath.

A craft fair is a great opportunity to boost your sales and have fun. Like anything, preparation is key. With the right tools and a little hard work, your next craft fair is sure to be a success.


About the Author:

Abby Holt

Abby says "I’ve always been crafty, impressing my classmates and teachers with the best school project posters, creating my own Halloween costumes, and using my calligraphy skills to make some extra cash in college. I have a knack for seeing something and being able to replicate it, plus I always enjoy a challenge. Fast forward to the present and I’m still crafty as ever and putting my craftability to good use.

She created the website Craftability to inspire you to put your own crafting abilities to good use, whether it’s painting, jewelry-making, quilting, or calligraphy.

Abby is not connected nor affiliated with any of the links included in her article above.


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