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Have you reached the point where you are ready to begin selling your products at a craft show? Whether you sell candles, cupcakes, bath products, or any other goods, this is an exciting milestone for your business. However, getting ready for your first event can be complicated and stressful. Unlike the relative simplicity of ecommerce, there are tons of rules and steps involved with selling your products in person.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you quickly and easily get everything ready for a successful first event.
Research event, local and state regulations that apply to your products.
Nothing is worse for a business owner than to show up at a craft or vendor fair and realize that they missed following an important rule. From securing a proper business license, to ensuring that your sales practices meet all event rules, do your research in advance.
If you are unclear on event rules, get in touch with one of the organizers to obtain a list. Additionally, as Made Urban notes, a simple online search can provide information on local and state regulations for selling homemade products. Reaching out to other local business owners in your area can also help provide clarification on what is needed to sell your items in person.
If you have yet to do so, you’ll also need to consider how your business will be structured. Many craft businesses operate as limited liability companies (LLCs) due to the protection of personal assets, the tax advantages, and less paperwork required during formation and later for filing. LLCs are easy to manage and provide the benefits of a corporation while lacking their complex structure. What’s more, when you register your business, it legitimizes your venture not only in the eyes of the IRS but in the eyes of your customers, too. Online formation services can simplify the process for forming an LLC, and they’re much more affordable than a pricey attorney. You can find out more with this Washington State LLC guide.
Decide how people will pay you.
Making it easy for customers to pay you is one of the best ways to increase your sales at an event. When you have multiple ways for people to complete a purchase, it removes payment-related barriers. In addition to accepting cash and credit card payments, consider allowing customers to pay you through PayPal or Venmo.
Create signage and displays.
A significant component of a successful event is an attractive display, per Felt Magnet. This includes signage that is on-brand and easy to read from a distance. Prior to the big day, do a test run of your display (including tables, chairs, etc.). Set it up exactly as you will during the event to see if anything is missing, and to confirm that everything looks as good as you envisioned.
Ensure you have appropriate inventory.
One common mistake for first-time vendors is having too much or too little inventory on hand at an event. In order to reduce the risk of doing either, speak with event organizers to get approximate attendance figures. From there, estimate what you are likely to sell, and plan accordingly. Take into account how refined your niche is, and how many other crafters will offer similar products at the event.
Prep for the unexpected.
At craft and vendor fairs, as well as farmers markets, the unexpected can happen. This is even more true if the event is held outside. To make your first event a pleasant experience, prep for some of the more common things that could go wrong. For example, have a gameplan for a rainy or windy day. Bring supplies that will protect your products from the elements, and that will make it easy to load them back into your vehicle in a hurry. Simple tactics like bringing extra price tags and keeping a cash reserve can help to ensure you enjoy smooth sailing.
When you follow the above steps, you’ll ensure that your upcoming event will go as well as it possibly can. Knowing that you’ve thoroughly prepared carefully will give you added confidence and peace of mind, which is crucial for making the experience an incredible one.
Does your booth need a doormat or two to help keep dirty feet at bay? If so, Coco Mats has a wide selection to choose from, and you can even have them personalized with your brand. Check out our online store today!