Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Part VI - Marketing Series on Craft Shows - "Must Haves"

Now that you have your show lined up and your display planned out (I'm assuming you've been making merchandise to sell!), you need to start gathering your "Must Haves." These are those items that you need to take with you for every show as you will either definitely need them at each show or may possibly need them for emergency fixes, display problems or personal needs. Most are self-explanatory and some you'll think are so obvious that you'll wonder why I bothered listing them. (I probably put them on the list because, at one time or another, I didn't have it with me!)

These items should probably be considered part of your display supplies and should be kept with the display pieces when stored. (I keep everything except the first two in a large Rubbermaid box.)

Chairs (You'd be surprised how many folks "forget" them.)
Weights for the display
Table covers
Tarps/plastic sheeting in case of rain
Small hammer
Duct tape
Clothes pins (These come in handy for securing table covers and more at various times.)

These basic items are part of your general business supplies and should be kept ready to grab for every show. (I use a plastic tackle box for mine.)
Scotch tape
Receipt book
Straight pins
Safety pins
Ball point pens/pencils
Markers (A fine point felt marker for tagging and signs when necessary.)
Paper/Cards (for notes and table top signs)
Extra tags
Paper clips (can be used so many ways)
Twist ties
Some large trash bags
Bags and wrapping supplies for your products
Business cards
Your mailing list book (or something for folks to sign)
Any other brochures, list of upcoming shows or other P.R. handouts for your customers
First aid supplies (bandaids, antiseptic, gauze, tweezers)
Needle and threads (if applicable to emergency repairs to your products)
Glue (if applicable for emergency repairs for your products)
Hand sanitizer and/or wipes

I also carry the following:
Paper towels
A small broom and dustpan (I have arrived at shows to find broken glass, trash and more in my space.)
Bug spray (invaluable at times!)
A small roll of toilet tissue (especially when using port-a-pottys)

For each show, I also pack:
Change (You'd be surprised how many people forget to bring change.)
Any applicable licenses and permits
A cooler with beverages and some snacks (There are times you will not be able to get away from your booth at all.)
A change of clothes (I have done shows where I have gotten soaked through with a sudden storm, have had something spilled on me before the show even starts or have just generally gotten dirty in the process of setting up.)

I have tried to list everything I have in my Must Haves but each individual finds specific items they need. This is a jumping off point. Remember, it is better to drag it with you and not need it than to desperately need something that you don't have.

The final segment of this Marketing Series will run on Friday with some general odds and ends of advice and suggestions.

Tomorrow, I will begin my new weekly feature of Working the Shows Wednesdays, which will offer more show advice, commentary, display suggestions or just general show news and trends.


elsiee said...

your list is freakishly complete.. well done!!

Ramblin Mama said...

Believe me, you learn a lot in over 30 years of shows!! i've probably forgotten at last one of these items for every show done!!