I always see so many posts about doing shows, so I thought I would add my two cents! Did I mention that I have over 10 years experience doing corporate event planning?!?!
So hopefully I can offer some insight, here are some FAQ I have seen (I will do several posts on this subject – so stay tuned!):
WHAT TYPE OF SHOWS ARE THERE AND WHAT TYPE IS BEST FOR ME?
Craft Shows- these are the most common and are great for most home businesses. They are often held at schools and most are done to raise money for the school or location it is being held at. They are usually pretty affordable to get into and bring in a fair amount of people. These are not high dollar shows and sales are typically on the low side. I do not recommend a craft show for a high dollar item. I highly recommend sticking with shows that have been happening for many years as those shows have loyal followers that will attend every year. These are usually noted in your local paper-but always ask around at your local schools, churches, synagogues – many are on a “who you know” basis! Also, many of these shows require that you donate an item or service that they can raffle off to make some additional money for the organization. Cost is typically under $100 for a 8×10 or 10×10 space and these shows probably bring in a couple hundred of people.
Art Shows – This is my target market. These shows are typically juried shows and it is not always easy to get in. They usually limit the number of vendors in each category (ex. they may only allow 2 jewelry vendors)…but this is a huge help to the exhibitors. These shows do bring in the people with more expendable income and those that are looking for “different” or the “latest and greatest”. They are more expensive to get into and can cost several hundred dollars, but again if this is the market you need to market to it is worth it right? Art shows do typically bring in several hundred people (geographics play a part here though–I had over 1,500 people at an art show I did last fall)
Street Fairs – this is an awesome way to just get your name out there! A mish mosh of thousands of people cramming the streets, seeing the sites and eating food. I do not find that people go to actually spend money-but they do love seeing new and unique things and they will spend money if they love what you got! I would really only recommend a street fair to someone who has a really unique item that will stand out among the hundreds of vendors that may be there. Thee is often 20 jewelry vendors at a street fair making it hard for any one specific to get noticed….these usually run about $100 or so to get into and there is no special criteria to get in to one.
WHERE DO I FIND A SHOW IN MY AREA?
3) local newspaper events calendar
4) check with local schools and churches
WHAT IS A JURIED SHOW?
A juried show is one where you will have to submit images and descriptions of the products you will be offering at the show. A committee from the show will determine whether you are accepted into their show. This is typically done in finer shows that really depend on the quality of their crafters to attract what is considered the “right” shoppers.
I AM A BRAND NEW BUSINESS-CAN I DO A SHOW?
A craft show at a school is a GREAT way to either launch a business or get feedback if you have a viable business. That is how I launched Expressions…I took a few collages and a book I had made for my daughter to a show to see what people would say (I was wearing my hard hat that day thinking people would hate it…) well the opposite happened…my booth was packed and I even got 2 customers from that show…that was almost 5 years ago! So, if you are just starting out–try a show…for a low cost you can see what other people HONESTLY think of you ideas……
That is all for this excerpt……so start looking for those shows and get your name out there!
Some other things I will BLOG about will be:
-cost effective marketing for your show
-ideas for displaying at shows
-what to do at the show
-what to do after the show….
If you have any questions please feel free to post and I will answer all questions!!!!!
Jill Caren, owner of Expressions Photo
I have a lot going on…no question, but I just took on a major undertaking that has brought me into this dark place of wanting everything to be perfect! After several months of careful review and tracking of my web statistics and lots of feedback from customers and peers, I have come to realize that the website I had so carefully and lovingly nurtured was not meeting my needs. I have had the site for 2 years….it was my baby….i thought is was pretty-and so did everyone else….but it did not work at making me money!!!!
300-400 hits a day with TARGETED keywords…I have mastered SEO and feel confident in my abilities, but why am I STILL after 2 years only getting a couple of sales a week? I KNOW these people are coming to site looking for what I have…but why is my bank account then still empty?
Here is what I have found (through some painfuly honest feedback!):
-Just because YOU like you site doesn’t mean others will.
-Your site may be easy for YOU to use-after all you have seen it every minute of everyday for how many months now? Have you really figured our a navigation system that works? I cannot tell you how many people have made comments to me like”I wish you sold so and so….”….guess what, usually I DID sell so and so they just couldn’t find it! Learn about HOW your customers shop. Places like www.goodkeywords.com are really great about helping you find these “magical” words.
-IMAGES are the SINGLE most important thing to sell you products with the description pulling up right behind. It does not matter how flashy or pretty your site may be, if the pictures of your products do not showcase them at their best-your sales will suffer.
Funny thing is that I am a photographer too—and after really looking at my site I am almost embarassed of some of the images up there! I will do a post at some point about how to best photograph your images..there are a few tips and tricks out there to help you!
-Descriptions of the products MUST be witty and fun. This is where I really suffer-my mind is NOT good at writing….but I will be working hard at this one. I want my website to be FUN to read. I want my customers to imagine themselves with my products. Give them ideas of “alternative uses” and things like that. The layout of the description is just as important. I cannot tell you how many sites I have been to where the description is this one long paragraph that I have to sift through to get information-well I don’t ever actually do it…I jsut look for a website that is laid out easier for me!
These are just a few of the major things I am working on with my new website so I thought I would post them here to share and hopefully to get others to evaluate their websites with their “hardhats” on!
One thing I have learned is that I want TRUTHFUL responses to my requests for feedback. I think the Mompreneuers team is one of the best resources for honest feedback and it should be utilized! I have in the past given feedback to people only to be told my opinion was “wrong”….I NEVER look at any opinion as wrong…but I take all the opinions and combine them to see where I can strengthen my business.
So you know what….post a thread for a quick look at your site….you may be surprised to hear all the good stuff and your bank account may be much happier to hear about the not so good stuff!
We are all here for the same reason right…….to run SUCCESSFUL businesses! Now go to your own website and shop….what do you REALLY think…..
I just wanted to add a few inspirational words to piggy back the post by Leslie about our “other babies”.? My business is my other child, we are contemplating having another baby….but I always tell everyone how hard it would be because I alredy have 2..my business and my little girl…OK..well 3 if you add my husband!!!!? After all they are just overgrown boys right?!?!
In the last couple of years I have had those who have told me how great my concept is, but have also been told–”no one will pay you to do that!”…this last statement came from someone I considered a good friend, sadly, we no longer speak.? She could not comprehend the emotional connection I had to this business…the personal reason behind why I started or why I thought it was so important…..I realized quickly that she was not a real friend to me…..
I have shed many tears over the remarks and comments that have been made about me on a personal level and from a business standpoint….I have been hurt and offended….I have felt completely let down by some I though were really good friends….
When things were tough and sales were not going well I though, “hmm, maybe they were right”. Many times I have wanted to give up because of lack of confidence and belief in what I do.? This was years ago…..now I am COMPLETELY confident and secure in the potential of my business. This new found strength DID NOT come overnight, it actually came about from practicing skills from Marketing 101! FIND YOUR TARGET MARKET!
When I originally started the business I went to craft shows…(you know the country craft school type shows)….yes, people liked what I did-so they said, but I never got any sales…..so were they lying about liking my work? What was I missing? Why were they not buying? I did a LOT of these shows-all with the same results. Then I started attending higher end shows-only after being encourage by a REALLY good friend-and my husband!…Art Shows and shows that were juried (you have to be approved to exhibit)…..BINGO! That is when it started to change for me…. these were the people that had extra money to spend, people who had the type of homes that warranted unique art to fill those bare walls…the type of people who WANTED and craved different and unique.? After almost 5 years in business I finally have a good grasp of who my target market is both for my photo studio and for my custom art work-this has helped me tremendously in so many ways.
So, for those of you who are at that “weird” place of insecurity and fear…..be patient and ride the roller coaster of emotions that come with running a business. You will build the confidence and strength needed to be successful. Do not be afraid to push the limits…do not be afraid of possibly losing some “friends” along the way….and DO NOT be afraid of failing…..you will learn more about yourself than you have ever imagined you could……and like my husband constantly tells me….”so what if you fail, we are young enough to pick up and move on!”? I could not do this without his support………and his ability to calm me when things seem scary……
Remember, you are NOT alone with ANY of your feelings!