Craft Show Lessons Learned

12193887_1493768014251638_5260774068347462232_nThere are a lot of lessons to be learned when you set up your first craft show. Every night I would pile up to watch TV and pin ideas from PINTEREST. It was my dream to start a small craft business and do craft shows. I enjoyed making things and I enjoyed talking to people about crafts and scrapbooking.

So I pinned and I pinned. I pinned craft show layouts, do’s and don’t, and several ideas of things to make for craft shows that where made several years ago. These were the things I liked and I focused on certain things. I think had even called my PINTEREST Board “Future Endeavors” because I didn’t think I would ever do it. But I did! I chose a small venue for my first show. It was for one day from 9:00 till 3:00. It was one that was actually geared towards items for children but had expanded. The craft I focused on was paper & candy stocking-stuffers, teachers gifts, classroom gifts etc. I had also planned to make some softies too but I ended up with no time for that. It didn’t help that I stared at my fancy sewing machine for days afraid to use it.

I started planning around June/July when I turned in my application for the show. Luckily I started following them on Facebook and kinda remembered when they started planning and taking applications from the year before. I asked a couple of friends if they wanted to make a few things too. I was actually afraid I wouldn’t be able to make enough. Again, this was a six hour small show. But I worked 9 hour days and have a young child so my time was limited. Well let me tell you my friend and I went crazy pinning more pins and buying craft supplies to make all these different things. We started making things and finding more things that inspired us. There are so many cute paper crafts to be made!

Pricing was hard to do too. I know they always say to factor in the cost of material and your time and then double or triple that but a lot of the things I made were from paper I already had and frankly I go blank when it comes to math. I am also a bargain hunter. Even knowing how much time and material goes into things I still don’t want to pay some of the prices I see out there. I had to also factor that in because I am sure there are others like me out there. So I winged it. I found a few prices on the similar items I found on PINTEREST from others craft shows but those posts where sometimes 5 years old or more. I factored that in too. Bottom-line whether right or wrong I priced my items on what I thought I would pay.

Long story short, it was time for the show. I had planned out in my head what I wanted my booth to look like. I wanted something inviting yet practical. I went with a country shabby theme using yellows since my booth was called Yellow Kitten. I found an inexpensive set of queen size yellow sheets at Steinmart that had small yellow flowers on them (almost gingham) and some old table clothes I had from my grandmothers. I used a couple of old metal shelves that I spray pained yellow and brought in crates and baskets along with an old watering can I put yellow daisies in. I used chalk boards for some of the signs but then decided my handwriting was not nice enough and ended up typing up some signs.

We did pretty good considering it was a short show and that many of our items were very inexpensive. Afterwards I got some invites for some other shows but I was too worn out and I had to start focusing on the family again and the upcoming holiday planning. I plan on doing it again this year which is why I want to share some of the things I learned and hope to remember once I get started again.

  1. Start planning early. Know what you want to make and stick to it.
  2. Lay out what you want your booth to look like. If you have room set it up ahead of time in your home.
  3. Know your craft venue and the space you’ll have ahead of time. We were lucky we got to set up a day early but I didn’t realize how small each booth really was.
  4. Make good use of your space. I googled different booth layouts and found I liked it better in the shape of an “L” with us being on the inside of the “L” so we could talk to people. I got lucky there too since my booth was on a corner.
  5. Use things you have at home to use to decorate your booth. I did this for the most part but did end up buying some baskets and the sheets but I bought things I could use after the show. I also already had two long tables which cuts down on renting them from the venue hosts.
  6. Start small. I starting with a show that only charged $35 to set up. Prices vary with different venues and I didn’t want to pay a $200 fee and make less than that for my first show. There are so many smaller venue shows you can start with for your first show.
  7. If you show is less than a day long…..don’t make 20-30 of each item unless you plan to do multiple shows. Several of our stocking stuffers had candy in them and since I only did the one show I ended up wasting candy. Even the things that were selling very well I still ended up with leftovers.
  8. Focus on what you planned on making and not on all the different ideas you found on Pinterest after you made your plan. We made so many different items. As the holidays got closer we’d see so many different little items pop up on Pinterest and we wanted to make them all!!!!!
  9. If you do make too much. Make things you can give as gifts yourself. After all, you have friends and family too and some people enjoy handmade things. I made a goody basket for my son’s teacher and fancy treats for the class with some of my leftover items
  10. One point I want to point out is since we made so many different things and were limited on space….some of our cute or even larger items didn’t stand out. Our booth was slightly overwhelming and you really had to stop and take it all in to see what you were interested in. I do like booths with lots of things to chose from but don’t try and shove too much into your small space. When we picked everything up afterwards there were so many really cute things that no one even noticed.
  11. Talk to the customers that come up to your booth but don’t hover. I said hi to everyone who even walked by. I didn’t hover but if I saw them pick up an item and start to talk about it with their friend I might point out something about the item which might answer their questions. We had some really cute mini-coffee cups like you get at a coffee stand. My friend Lori decorated them and put some coffee flavored candy inside. They were really cute and people did swoon but wondered what was inside…so that strikes up a conversation. I don’t always like people at craft show booths to talk too much to me as a customer so I tried to keep that in mind.
  12. Have items in different price ranges. I tried to have a good variety of price ranges and even had things children could buy with a dollar since many of our paper items were kid friendly and things children liked.
  13. Know how you will accept money. I had know all along I wanted to accept credit cards. Even though most of our inventory were lower cost I did have some more expensive items and had hoped people would buy multiples of the lower cost items. I went with a SQUARE credit card reader and it seemed to be the lowest cost credit card reader I found. You can start for free and it costs about 2.75% per swipe to use. After one of my friends showed me how to use it and finding out the password to the show’s WiFi, I was good to go but my day didn’t start out that way. Almost missed a few sales from not knowing this up front so figure it out before the show starts and that will make things a whole lot easier for you. Using Square also helped track our sales and whose item it was. Oh and I didn’t accept credit cards on all sales. They needed to spend at least $10 for me to accept a credit card. Bring plenty of change. I was up at 6 in the morning to run to money machine because I forgot to get change. I raided my son’s piggy bank for quarters and small change too….so sad. But I did write down how much I “borrowed” LOL.
  14. Pricing is going to be difficult. I have to say this. Or at least it was for us. Like I said before there are many formulas out there on how to price your handmade things. I didn’t find those formulas worked for every item. I just tried to price them on what I would pay and tried not to lose money. I did lose money but that’s mostly from making too much and only doing one show.
  15. Be sure and track all your expenses and claim them on your taxes.
  16. Have someone to help you. You will eventually have to eat or go to the restroom. Make sure you have someone there knowledgeable about your items who can stand in for you. You may also want to do a little shopping yourself. Next year the hosts of this craft show plan on setting aside some vendor shopping time. But try not to spend all YOUR profits doing this…..
  17. Lastly……Just have fun. Enjoy your craft and enjoy the experience of meeting new people both customers and fellow crafts/ direct sales people.

Fun Stampers Journey

I had never heard of this company until I went to the Scrapbook Expo last summer. They didn’t sell anything at the expo but had a big area were they demonstrated their products and since it was a fairly new direct sales company they encouraged people to sign up and sell. When I got home that weekend I decided to sign up. I didn’t do it right away because basically I didn’t have time but when I did I was even more impressed by their products. Fun Stampers Journey specializes in stamps with Sizzix Die Cuts to match. They also have lots of mix media items and jewelry too. Their inks, paper and stamps are of the highest quality.
Coach Cover4

If you are interested in checking this company out. Visit my page at

http://funstampersjourney.com/BeckyLake

and let me be your coach to start your journey into a new world of paper crafting.

Here are something I made for Christmas using Fun Stampers Journey Stamps and Dies:
These lollipop cards where made with an envelope die cut and this precious little snowman stamp and die cut. It’s much more fun to bundle your stamp and die cut for the perfect fit.

12074847_1486754761619630_7610729631912882696_n
Stay Tuned for more projects!!!
FSJ Journey Coach Logo

My First Craft Show Experience

This past November I did my first craft show along with some friends.  It was only a one day show but drew a pretty big crowd for those few hours.  Considering our items were low price paper crafts I think we did pretty good.  Here are a few of the pictures I took.

Lots of little stocking stuffers

12246802_1495140367447736_698568201870245535_n

Headband holders, Plastic cups, Chargers etc

12249980_1494801670814939_2448717497781598150_n

Jewelry, magnets, glass blocks

12243526_1494801684148271_7005784905884319560_n

11038653_1495140344114405_8997532261846248178_n

Hershey Kisses
11222536_1491895384438901_6774020417284570693_n

Note Pads
12801106_1527858874175885_4036281058163765790_n

Stocking Stuffers
12190088_1491895317772241_6940994363143823741_n

Tooth Fairy Monsters
12208839_1495140010781105_2338070735353097347_n

And much more!
12235051_1494801657481607_6821480079838699300_n

12235105_1495140417447731_6238715132122861355_n

12239976_1494316640863442_3464850128206925093_n

Hershey Tins

12240023_1495140437447729_4326845966366318660_n

It was a great experience. I learned a lot. And if it wasn’t for work, being exhausted from this one and the start of my son’s hockey season I probably would have done some other smaller shows.

Craft Space

20140405_151003

My craft space 2014.  I guess I will keep organizing till I get it right!

Ain’t Nobody…

My favorite pop culture quote is this lady saying “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.  It is so true.  Some days as I add more things into my life I wonder where will I find the time…some days I do, some days I don’t.  Blogging is one of those things.  I think about it every week but to take the time to sit down and write is another story.  I have to really concentrate when I write and in my house it is never quite.  Where have I been you ask?  Well don’t get me wrong I have been busy thinking of ideas and new layouts to post and even started a video but that’s about as far as it got.  I have discovered some great new CTMH products that I wanted to share as well as some new techniques.  I promise I will post those soon.  I also have some very cute layouts to show you that me and my scrapbook pals did for a local charity auction to benefit the Spay and Neuter Foundation in our area.  I got wind they were having a silent auction as part of their fundraiser and I asked if they thought a pet-themed scrapbook would be something they’d be interested in.  The auction organizer thought that was a great idea.  Well then it dawned on me….”Ain’t nobody got time for that!”  What had I gotten myself into?!  I had already offered up one of those cute mesh and ribbon wreaths but I was going to ask a friend to actually make that since I can make them just not for a paying customer.  When was I going to find time to do TWO scrapbooks….with a 7 year old child, soccer, hockey, school, my work, husband, the holidays approaching, caring for my critters as well as volunteering to foster a pet,  and running my mom to doctor almost every other week?

Thankfully I have some great ladies who I scrapbook with twice a year.  We have a Facebook Page and I just went on there and said “Hey do ya’ll want to help?”  The response was more than I could have dreamed.  Most of them are dog lovers so doing something to help was totally up their alley.  I was the only true cat person so I ended up completing the cat album.  We ended up with a dog album, a cat album and an album with both cat and dog pages.  Once I got started I could whip out a page in nothing flat!  It was even fun and got me back into the mood to scrap.

7706_10202327564048283_1099316052_n

I will share just this one I did for the cat album but there were so many others to share later.

546972_10202271779653708_272781847_n

The auction is this week so I hope we can raise some money for the cause!  Now I can get back to doing regular scrapbooking, work on a Christmas Wreath I want to make, some jewelry I want to make and oh yeah the rest of my life……Who’s got time for that!

Universal Overlay

Have you purchased a cartridge lately that required the use of the Cricut Universal Overlay?
I recently ordered Create a Friend from Hallmark Scrapbooking.com and forgot about the new Universal Overlay…so I had to then go back and order that. When the overlay came in the mail I immediately tried out my new cartridge. Was a little skeptical about having to use such a generic overlay with the newer cartridges but I was soon pleasantly surprised.

I should have taken a picture of the book from this cartridge but as you see from the cartridge box it’s about 3 x 3.  The book was so easy to follow with the universal overlay.

20130907_182049

Basically, with each imagine you want to cut you press one of the F keys and a number or a Shift-F key and a number.  So much easier than the traditional books and overlays.  For example, all imagines that went along with this cut you used the number 8 key.  Didn’t have to locate the imagine on the keypad or anything…just the number 8 and that’s pretty obvious right?

20130907_182217

So when you first order one of these new cartridges, don’t forget your universal overlay.  Just have to buy it once.  Have not seen it yet at my local scrapbook/craft supply stores but there are plenty of online retailers who sell it.  Enjoy!

Scrapbook Room

20130902_125524

20130902_125400

It took awhile but for the 100th time I have re-arranged and re-organized my scrapbook room.

Trying really hard to keep it halfway neat and I think this layout will help with that. Of course now that I am organized I can’t find anything!!!!

Framing

Sometimes you have to get away the everyday in order to fuel your creative self. For me it is a long weekend at the lake with a few of my best scrapbooking buds. We do this twice a year at a Scrapbook Retreat about an hour and a half from my house. One of these such weekends was about two weeks ago and although I didn’t stay the usual time I stay (Thursday thru Sunday) I felt like I actually got a lot done.

On this retreat I used some of the items I got at the Scrapbook Expo. One of items was templates from Kiwi Designs. I was not really sure about these new products and neither were some of the ladies retreating with me. The templates were so elementary. Just cut out pieces of plastic. We were all so used to using our cricuts to cut out shapes that I thought I may have wasted my money on these basic tools. Turns out I was wrong. The basis of Kiwi Lanes is to frame your pages and the possibilities are endless .  You can Google Kiwi Lane Designs to get more information but here are a few shots of the process.

Line your templates onto your page and draw a mark.
IMG_2458

Move away the right and draw a line using the templates.  My friends were horrified having to use scissors!

IMG_2457

Once you’ve cut both sides you have you have your frames.

IMG_2459

Inking the pages helps hides pencil lines and adds to look.

IMG_2460

I didn’t go ALL Kiwi Lanes but here is a sample of a page were I used the Kiwi Lane Templates.

IMG_2465

IMG_2466

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.