Applying for a fair can be daunting, especially with so much competition out there. Here are our top tips for putting your best foot forward when applying for your next fair, (hopefully with Jackalope!).
Jackalope Arts blog - vendor tips, art & craft fair information and updates #jackalopeartfair
It’s almost holiday fair season! And with that, we’ve compiled a list with some of our favorite must-haves for your craft fair booth, as well as a checklist to keep you organized on show day. Help yourself stay stress free and be prepared to present your best booth this holiday season.
Battery Pack for your Phone
No one wants to get stuck at their booth unable to process credit card transactions, or even call a friend for backup. A battery pack to help keep your phone charged during those long days at events can be a life saver.
Battery Operated String Lights
Add a little ambiance to your booth with string light decor. These lights are battery operated so you won’t have to worry about cords or whether the venue has electricity for you to use.
Battery Operated Clip Light
Spotlight your items and give your booth some light. Even during day events, shade inside a booth can make it difficult for customers to really see details on products. Having a few clip lights on-hand can really help illuminate your booth. Pro tip — these are also great for when you’re packing up after an event and need some light as the sun goes down.
Can be great for visual artists hanging their work. These can also be used with clip on shelving or hanging rods to display fashion and accessories.
Chalk Board A-Frame
Let customers know if you have any specials going on in your booth right when they enter. We like this sign because it’s a little higher up than a traditional sandwich board making it easier to see, plus it has a shelve for display.
Felt Letter Board
Perfect for a special message you want to relay to guests without having to chat up every single person that enters your booth.
Something as simple as “Ask me about custom work” can start conversations with interested buyers.
What’s awesome about this cart for lugging your gear is that you can use it as a cart or as a stand up dolly. Perfect for all kinds of loads that you may need to carry.
You can even pay a few extra bucks to get it in pink so you’ll never mistake your dolly with another vendor.
Buy your own pop-up tent so you’re self sufficient for shows. This is a no-frills tent, so you’re going to need to get your own walls and carry case if you need one, but for the price, you can’t beat it!
Prevent forgetting to pack last minute valuable items with our craft fair checklist:
We hope that these have helped give you some ideas as you plan your booth!
We wanted to provide some insight on how to better build and grow your small business by sharing some of our favorite advise as well as some from our own Jackalope Vendor Community! Here are some tips we gathered:
“I’ve always been inspired by the quote “Success is never final and failure is never fatal. It’s the courage that counts.” (Rumored to be from Winston Churchill, perhaps) It’s the perfect example of the struggle business owners face as they put their passion into the forefront and strive for success, sometimes stumbling along the way.” - Sara Diederich with Jackalope Arts.
“Branding is important. It’s how people will pick you out of a line up and remember who you are. Make sure you have a consistent aesthetic when designing your brand and advertising.” - Dena with Fiber Relics
“Sometimes you may be underestimated, especially being a woman entrepreneur, but remain confident and strong. I always like to remember that I will prove my naysayers wrong!” - Melissa with Jackalope Arts
“Social media is your best friend!” - Chesa with Ramblin’ Woman Silver
“It can be easy to fall into the trap of constantly working hard but don't neglect your wellness during your business adventure. Take time for yourself and reflect on your achievements and the things about your business that make you happy.”
- Holly with The Watercolor Naturalist
“Don't sweat the small stuff, you will make mistakes but that is all part of the process to make your business better. Also, you may never feel "ready" to launch your business or launch a new product or service but do it anyway. There will never be "the right time.” You will learn as you go!” - Kynsi with Kompass Apparel
“Be kind to yourself. Ask for help when you need it.” - Angela with Cute Laces
“Remember that your business and products will never appeal to everyone… but that’s perfectly okay. Focus on daily self improvement in yourself, your business, and the quality of the products and services you provide. It’s okay to receive constructive criticism from others, but no matter what they say, never, ever, for any reason.. undervalue yourself, your work or your TIME. Understand that as artisans, our passion and dedication to our respective crafts are priceless and admirable.. and that your work and your time are worth something. As long as you’re creating the best products/services you can produce, seeking improvements, and researching your market thoroughly, the right customers and crowds will come.”
- Rachel with Atelier Emi
“Take time to decide what you're business is going to be. When I decided it was time to leave the commercial textile world, I took over a year to work on designs and product before I started selling. It's important to have a well thought out product. Also, decide how large you want your business to be. Are you interested in growing it to include wholesale business to stores, are you able to keep up with supply and demand if you choose this route? If you decide to do wholesale to retailers, research this. Make sure you understand how selling wholesale to retailers works. Or, do you want to do as I have done. I decided to keep my business a very small boutique size business where I do shows/fairs like Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair throughout the year and also have my product at several small boutiques around California on consignment. - Donnett with DishRagStudio
“Spreadsheets will become your best friend, it is important to remain organized and notate everything. It makes staying on top of deadlines possible, especially as you grow and things expand.” - Melissa with Jackalope Arts
“Like most folks all of this started as an on-the-side thing I was doing in addition to a well paying full-time job. Once I realized it was going well - money was coming in and it seemed to have potential - I started thinking about quitting the day job and going full time. However, the good thing I did was to sit down with a friend who is really good with numbers.
She had me come up with my true "monthly nut" - an honest accounting every regular bill I had: mortgage payment, power, groceries, gas, etc
Once I had that we looked at exactly how much I would have to sell in order just to make that "nut" which was sobering. And then, almost more importantly, we also broke down exactly how much product I would have to make (not sell - just make) to meet that financial goal.
I realized that I needed to raise my prices. I realized I needed to streamline how and what I made because it actually wasn't physically possible for me to single-handedly produce enough product (let alone sell it). I realized I needed more sales avenues - online, wholesale etc.
It wasn't necessarily a "fun" series of realizations but it was incredibly valuable.”
- David with Cheltenham Road
“Fake it until you make it. The thing that many people don’t realize is that you don’t have to be an expert in your field before you start your business. A lot of this stuff is learned and earned over years of actually doing it.” -Sara Diederich, Jackalope Arts
As you start to dip your toes into events, you'll find that many cities have a sea of choices. It's your job to weed through events and determine which ones are a good fit for you.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you evaluate potential events:
What's the event's target demographic? Different events lend themselves to different audiences, so you want to make sure you find one that aligns with who you are as a brand. There is a distinction between Fine Arts, Arts & Crafts, and Flea Markets so what a show calls themselves can also be a good indicator.
What does the event's marketing look like?
You don't need to reach out to the event manager to answer this question. It can be as easy as a quick google search of the event, can you see if and where the event has been featured. Who is covering the event can be a big indicator on who is coming. After all, they should be marketing to their target demographic.
What other types of artisans participate in the event? Can you find an artisan roster from past events? Or perhaps a quick scroll through the event's social media can show you photos. This will give you a good look into what people are shopping for when they come to these events and what is selling successfully. Look out for how they curate the event and make sure not one category is overly saturated. If you can visit the event in person first, that can help too!
What is the average price point for an artisan selling? We always recommend featuring a variety of price points to attract a wider demographic. However if the event has an average price point of $5 and your lowest priced piece is $250, well that may not be a good fit.
Does the event have qualification parameters? And do you fit into those parameters? Is the show for handmade artisans only? Is it juried? Does anyone who pays a fee get in? These are important things to consider before you send in an application. It will also give you an idea of the quality of work that is expected.
Creating a logo can be an exciting time when launching your business. It's a chance for you to show your audience what you're all about with one quick visual cue. There's a whole lot of pressure that goes into creating something that's relevant to you and timeless to represent your brand as your business continues to grow. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your logo!
Introducing Your Brand
This is your chance to introduce your brand to the world. Your logo should speak to your target audience, and when designing, you must keep this in mind. A good way to start planning this is to write down what comes to mind when you think of your brand. Come up with some visual elements that you think represent what your brand means.
Your logo is your quickest chance to set yourself apart from competitors. It's important that you stand out from the rest.
Selecting a font can be a daunting task, with an every-expanding array of choices. Remember to choose fonts that have a timeless quality to them, and really speak to what your brand is. Don't be afraid to use rare and unique fonts to enhance your branding.
The color palette that you choose to work with can mean a lot about your overall brand. Do you want to be bright and showy? Or muted and sophisticated? You want the colors you work with to represent your brand's message.
Keep It Concise
While you want your logo to be interesting, you don't want your audience to have to spend too much time analyzing subtle nuances in order to understand it. If you have a tagline, make sure that doesn't take away from your logo by adding too much wording, your logo needs to be visually appealing.
Meet Stanley the Jackalope!
How did we choose our logo? We wanted the Jackalope to stand out and make a statement that was easily remembered. We also wanted to choose a font that was a bit edgy and colors that would reflect our brand and would carry into our remaining graphics and marketing materials. We worked with Ventura CA artist, Jonathan Blackburn, to create our logo. Stanley is with us throughout all of our event posters and promotions materials to help with brand recognition.
Customized products personalized for your customer can be a huge draw. However, they can also be hard to sell. Here are some tips our Jackalope team has outlined to help you turn your custom work into sales.
Keep it simple
This might sound counterintuitive at first, but less custom options = less decisions to be made by the customer before ordering. This can really help you retain interest for a larger base. So many people can get overwhelmed with options, that they just give up entirely. Don't let your products be so personalized, that your customer can't make a decision quickly and easily.
People are visual. If you offer different font or color options, show them. That way people can see what the color will actually look like. Are you an illustrator with customizations of different subject matters? Show a range of subjects in your examples so potential buyers can know what to expect.
Take your custom options into consideration when setting up your online shop. Make it easy for people to navigate. You can provide drop down boxes, and try to think ahead of any mistakes someone may make when inputting their order. Sometimes you need to be specific. It can also help to create a few different listings instead of one listing with a million options.
Make sure people are aware that they can customize a piece from you. A lot of times people are too shy to ask and because of this you may miss out on a possible opportunity. If you are doing a fair, make sure you have signage letting shoppers know that this is an option! When promoting use the word custom, personalized, or made to order in your product title, it also adds an element of exclusivity to your product.
Does going custom increase the price? Notate that. How do returns or exchanges work? Also make sure you outline your timeline. How long will it take for someone to receive their purchase? Make sure you are communicating with your customer throughout the process. Sending them an image or sketch of the product before it is finalized can help with any possible issues and makes them feel that they are being included in the process!
Going custom can be a lot of fun. Just make sure it doesn't negatively impact your sales by making ordering too confusing or cumbersome. We hope these tips help to drive you forward in this new route.
Surely you've heard the expression to treat your booth as a pop up brick and mortar when preparing and creating a successful booth display. If you haven't, we invite you to read The Perfect Booth Display up on our blog. In a sea of booths, it is important to find a way to stand out.
Your booth display is your first impression to shoppers. However, your impression doesn't stop building there. Just as you would expect from walking into a retail store, shoppers expect certain behaviors and experiences. You would not want to find trash laying around, or to not be greeted or offered help. For reference, we have put together a list of some common mistakes that can be made and things that you should keep in mind when selling at events.
1. Keep your booth tidy. As we mentioned above, it is not attractive to have trash or clutter while shoppers are trying to get a feel for your product. Your booth should reflect your brand in both how it looks and feels. Make sure you take pride in your work. Have a cohesive display and signage, price tags marked, sufficient product on hand etc.
Amanda, owner of Mindfulnest and Jackalope Pasadena juror notes; "For me, having a vision with a complete story, your shop will evolve, but your passion needs to tell a story, retail is sight, smell and sound. People remember experiences more than things."
2. Acknowledge your customer. No ones likes to be ignored. In fact, in a survey by Sunshine Artist, when asked if the artist talks to you, does that make you more likely to buy something? 83% answered that they like to be talked to...so speak up! It does not mean you have to be obsessive about it but be attentive and anticipate questions.
3. Put your phone down! it is not professional nor polite to be on your phone when someone is shopping at your booth.
4. Don't Whine. Having a horrible day, or did your significant other do something to really make you angry? Keep it to yourself. Shoppers do not want to hear your complaining while shopping. Especially if you are having a bad sales day, do not let that affect your ability to sell your product. There is nothing worse than hearing someone complain how slow it is, while there are customers shopping your booth and being ignored.
5. Have business cards. This helps to build up your client base post show. It's also super helpful when someone likes your work but can't commit to purchasing it right away. This way they have a way to get in touch with you and hopefully buy later. Or, if the purchase was a gift, the receiver should have a way of knowing who made their gift. Furthermore, make sure your contact information is correct and current. Shoppers shouldn't go home to a website that isn't working if they want to browse your site at home.
6. Take Credit Cards and have Change. In today's age, it is best to have a way to accept credit cards since many shoppers do not carry a lot of cash. On the other hand, If you have someone that wants to pay with cash, make sure you have change so you don't have to turn them away.
7. Do not pack up early!! This not only effects your ability to make sales but also your booth neighbors. Having you pack up early (even a half hour early) gives the impression that the fair is over and shoppers will begin to leave. Some of the best sales have happened with 5 minutes left. Target or Nordstroms don't close early, so why should you?
We hope these tips help as you prepare for your next fair. And if you want to read more vendor tips we have more tips and tricks up on our blog!
Thinking about taking the plunge into wholesale but do not know where to start? We did some research and we hope what we found will help guide you to see if wholesale is a good fit for you.
To begin, let's establish what wholesale means. Wholesale is the selling of goods in large quantities to be retailed by others. One of the awesome benefits in doing wholesale is that you gain broader exposure than you would by just selling on your own. Does a storefront want to sell your soaps, or jewelry? Just think of that extra foot traffic and exposure that will generate. It can also mean more consistent paychecks. If the store is a great fit, they will want to come back and reorder from you again and again.
However, offering wholesale can take a lot of time and effort, so there are some things you should look into before taking the plunge. When you think of wholesale pricing, you think of producing more product and offering it at a lower price. Stores will want to buy your product at a lower cost then you would directly sell it to a consumer, because they also need to make a profit in return. Helen Rice, owner of “Willow; an artisan's boutique” in Littleton, Colorado offers the following piece of advice:
"The first and foremost issue artists should think about is pricing. Depending on your product, there is a tricky balance between getting paid adequately for your time and materials, and calculating the potential retail price that the market will bear. Most retailers will look to double their wholesale cost (or more if they are trying to cover their freight expense to get the product). If they feel the market in their area cannot support the calculated retail price, they will not take the chance. If you are looking for that 'pricing' sweet spot, you might consider starting a little lower on your wholesale pricing, and pushing it up until you reach that optimum price point. You'll quickly know if you've pushed it too far. If your creation is too labor intensive, you might want to considers ways to reduce the labor without compromising the end result."
To see if a lower price point is doable, you can start by making a list of all of your expenses. Some things you can look into to possibly cut costs in addition to reducing your labor, is to see if you can source better priced materials or decide if there is a different way you can be packaging your product to save time and energy.
When looking into pricing you will want to consider your minimum quantities. You will need to set a minimum opening order and then your minimum reorder when working with your buyers. Your minimum reorder is usually lower than your opening order. Is there a certain amount you need to make in order to turn profit or for it to be worth your time? Also consider how your items will be displayed. How many pieces would you prefer to have on display at a given time to create an impression? Consider doing a mock setup to get an idea of a potential product display.
Once you have set your pricing, you will need to create a line sheet. This is a document that provides buyers all the information needed to make a purchase. You should include the name of your product, item number, wholesale price, maybe a suggested retail price, and any order minimums or size/color limitations. To go along with your line sheet, think about your product photography and product catalog. Clear product photos on a white background is industry standard. Your catalog can be more in depth then your line sheet with product descriptions. This is a great first impression on your products and your brand. See below for some line sheet examples.
Finally, you will want to establish policies. Take into account how these products will get to the store. Are you mailing them? Who pays for shipping? Think about your turnaround time. You want to be reasonable but also respect your buyer. What happens if something breaks? Create policies to support your product and make sure they are clear on your line sheet. Ideally you want to create a lasting relationship to help make ordering, billing, and shipping an easy process with all involved parties.
Offering wholesale is a great way to increase revenue if done right and if all of this appeals to you, then wholesale could be for you! If you think you are there, start by reaching out to stores that you think appeal to your customer base. Remember, you want your potential buyer to be happy and to successfully sell your product, so make sure they are a fit for yourself and your brand.
On today's blog, we'd like to introduce you to local photographer, Keith Berson. Keith has been kind enough to share his expertise in product photography to help us with a little "to-do" list for planning your own shoot and has extended an exclusive offer to our Jackalope Community!
Hey there Jackalope community! I'm honored to be here as a guest blogger. I will tell you though, I am not a blogger or writer at all. I am a professional photographer who loves working with artisans, crafters, and designers. When an entrepreneur approaches me about photography for their product, I often find myself playing the role of a creative guide through the process. When it comes to creating imagery that represents your brand, you probably want various images for different uses. The more you plan your shoot in advance, the more successful it will be! If you have no idea where to start, then hopefully you will find this helpful.
WHAT KIND OF SHOOT ARE YOU PLANNING?
A great way to get started is by making a "shot list" of all the photos you want to create. This will help you figure out the size or scope of your shoot. Highly stylized images might be used for marketing via social media, on a booth sign, or on your website banners. It may be a still life of your product with other props, or an actual person interacting with the product. These types of images are meant to be narrative, and will help you connect with your demographic. You may also need basic product photos to be used for online stores, etsy shops, or to apply to sell in craft fairs. These shots are meant to show what the product looks like up close, without other objects to distract from your product. Often each product will need several angles, or extra detail shots to fully describe it.
If this seems like too much to take on all at once, the best thing to do is to figure out what your top priority is. Once you have that first shoot day under your belt, you will be able to easily plan your next steps. Each shoot comes with its own set of preparations and decisions that need to be made, and after each shoot experience, you'll be more ready for the next one!
PLANNING THE SHOOT
Let's dive right in and say you have a group of products that you sell online and at craft fairs, and you need a group of images that show each of your individual products in a way that cleanly and consistently represents your brand. You might also need some group shots to show multiple items together, which would help convey your aesthetic. The simple and traditional way to handle this would be to shoot everything on a white backdrop. However, that doesn't mean you can't be a bit creative with simple product photography. It's perfectly fine to choose a colored or textured background that compliments your product or branding. Some examples of this could be a table top, patterned fabric backdrop, or organic elements. This shoot should be done in controlled lighting to be sure it will remain consistent, and can be repeated should you add more products.
If you already have basic product photos, maybe what you really need is more stylized images for your website and social media. Grabbing people's attention online is often half the battle! If you're planning a still life or flatlay shoot, you will need to think about location, sourcing props and styling each set up. If you want to reach a specific demographic, you may decide that you need to have people interact with your product in the photos. Now you have to think about casting, wardrobe, hair & makeup, location, and possibly permits to shoot. Every product comes with its own unique challenges, but there are plenty of ways to make your product look desirable to potential shoppers.
MAKING IT HAPPEN
Photos are an essential part of your business, and the more preparation you do beforehand, the easier your shoot will be! Plan a prep day before the shoot to get everything organized. Double check you have all the products ready and safely packed for shoot day. Look very carefully at all your product to make sure it is photo ready, meaning it's the best example of what you have to offer. No crooked labels, scuffs, or scratches. Go though all your props and organize them as well by shot so nothing gets forgotten. Most importantly, find experienced team members that can be an extension of your creativity, and help actualize your vision.
- Communicate with your photographer (and stylist if you hired one) so your goals are clear.
- Give photo examples of other brands that are doing something similar to what you want to create.
- Don't try to take on more than you can handle in one day. You don't want to be distracted by missing products or props, cleaning or prepping product, giving directions to lost team members, figuring out lunch or coffee, or any other unforeseen occurrence.
If you think through your needs ahead of time, then on shoot day, you and your photographer can be focused on the creative side of things. Remember that photos are the #1 way to show people your brand!
More About Keith Berson Photography
Keith is always available to give free consultations to anyone planning a photoshoot. Sometimes you just need someone to ask you the right questions to get you going in the right direction.
In addition, Keith will be offering special pricing to the Jackalope community! Anyone who books and completes a shoot before the Spring Pasadena 2018 Jackalope Artisan Fair (coming up on April 28th & 29th) will receive a 25% price reduction on photography services, just mention Jackalope when booking!
In light of the New Year, we want to take a look at what we can do to continue to grow and improve, and how to help our artisans do the same. We took notice in how popular Snapchat has become and wondered what we could do as a business to hop on the fastest growing social media platform. We're not going to lie, it was a little intimidating. We've seen snapchat used on a more personal level, posting stories for family and friends, but as a business how do you make that connection?
We are no Snapchat pros. However, as we begin our journey we thought we would share what we have learned so far in case you would like take the plunge as well.
First, make sure Snapchat is for you. According to Hootsuite, the largest Snapchat age demographic is 18-24 year olds, making up 37 percent of users. Followed by 25-34 year olds, with about 26 percent of Snapchatters, and about 12 percent of users are aged 35 to 54. Each company has a target demographic so look into whether or not yours is on Snapchat.
What makes Snapchat stand out between other social media platforms is that you can utilize individual snaps (photos/videos) to create an overall snapchat story, or in other words, a video narrative. Each snap only lasts 24 hours which creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity which is always good when trying to engage your audience. Instead of demonstrating product photography, you have the chance to be more immediate and personal.
Here are some ways in which you can better engage your Snapchat audience:
1. Use it in real-time! This can include doing product launches, or snapping live events. Creating something new? Make it a story! Your first snap can be a mysterious "Stay Tuned" post or an incomplete snap teasing what is to come. Building excitement for your audience so that they keep coming back. Doing any live events/fairs, snap your day!
2. Deliver private content, exclusive for your snapchat audience. This creates a sort of VIP status. This can be a sneak peak, a look behind the scenes, and/or contest. You can even post on your other social media pages that you will be doing a first look via Snapchat, to encourage your fans to join Snapchat and follow you in order to achieve VIP status ;) (make sure to include your Snapchat username so they can find you!).
3. Offer a contest, perk, or promotion. Offer promo codes or discounts to the fans who watch your entire Snapchat story. Tease them to watch it until the end. This would especially be good for a product reveal, or perhaps promoting an event you will be at. Snap how you are preparing for the fair, or a new product that is coming. At the end of the story, maybe they get a discount code they can use at the fair or for that product?!
4. Feature your followers. Snapchat is more personal then other outlets so help engage your followers by enticing them. A great way to do this is to ask them to take a snap while utilizing your product! You could even create a contest utilizing this method. Post a photo with "______" and be entered to win "_________"
5. Demo your product. Use it as a guide for your followers, create a tutorial with your story. Have fun with it, since it is so personal, don't be afraid to be goofy.
6. Reward new followers with exclusive previews! "The next 25 new followers will get an exclusive peak at a new product or giveaway." Again post on your other social networks to entice them to join you on Snapchat.
Snapchat can be tricky and we are still figuring it out ourselves. So far, these are the things we found to be most relevant. We hope this helps, and if you do join Snapchat make sure to follow jackalopearts!