My First Retail Event (Part 2) – What I Learned
Yesterday I shared the story of how I organized and prepared for my first retail event. Today I’ll give all the tools that I found helpful. This includes a Google Doc of my actual plan and checklist-timeline, and a cleaned-up simplified PDF version that you can download. I hope you’ll find what I share to be useful for the next time you are eyeball-to-eyeball with your new business and first-ever event.
In addition to all my planning and brain reorganizing, I did quite a bit of research and online sleuthing for event prep and display tips. I’ve listed the useful blog posts I read at the bottom of this post. Thank you to those people for putting their own experience out there!
Tools I Used
- The Donut Galleria Plan*,
- A Checklist/Timeline*, and
- The Three Month Follow-Up Plan*
- An inventory spreadsheet
- A spreadsheet to track expenses, income, and everything finance
- Post-its and physical project organization space
- People! Shout-outs to my life coach Tiffany Han, Laura and graphic design acumen, Snippet and Ink for the font tip-off, and Fabric Outlet guy
*I stripped off my own particular items and made a version of The Plan outline for you. Download the Retail Event Setup Worksheets. If you use it, let me know what you think.
Thoughts for Creating a Display
- Does your business have brand keywords? Pick 2-3 words or a phrase that describes your esthetic, style, mission, or approach. When you need to narrow your choices, it’s much easier to think, “Does this jive with my keywords?” (I learned about this in Craft, Inc., which I recommend!)
- Build your table display UP so that it meets the eye.
- If you want to raise the table so that people don’t have to bend over, there’s an easy fix. Buy bed risers! Put them under the four corners of your table and just make sure your table cloth accounts for the extra height.
- Don’t make people hunt for the prices. They might be too shy to ask or assume something is expensive.
- Make sure you have a table dress rehearsal. You never know how things will look until you get them all laid out. Also it’ll provide some peace of mind and practice so the actual set-up won’t take as long.
Thoughts for the Event
- Consider the flow of the event around your table. Will people enter from the right or left? What should they first see?
- Think about the wind and weather, if there is any, and make sure your display won’t tumble over, get knocked down, or be blown away.
- Bring a notebook so you can write down observations, trends, and things you hear from people.
- Create a Just-In-Case supply of weird and useful tools. My bag included clamps, zip-ties, safety pins, tape (masking, double-sided, packaging, and scotch), scissors, a sewing kit, a sharpie.
- Don’t forget to bring plenty of cash and change for cash purchases.
- Don’t be shy—make friendly with your neighboring booths. Fellow makers are a great resource of ideas, experience, and collaboration. And sometimes it’s just nice to talk with someone in the same boat.
Craft Show Tips from Around the Internet
- Craft Show Display Tips & Must-Haves on Etsy.com
- BONUS: 14 Craft Show Display Do’s from Indiefixx.com
- etsy shop help :: 10 tips for a craft show
- Guest Post: Tips for Selling at Craft Fairs or Markets on Bugs and Fishes
- Craft Fair Tips From a First-Timer by Stumbles and Stitches
- Craft Fair Tips: Preparation is Key to a Successful Show on IndieMade.com
- The 5 Elements of Seductive Craft Fair Booth Displays
- 20 Tips for a Spectacular Craft Booth