Now that we've covered product, layout, displays, and signage, it's time to get down to business. Literally. After you have made items to sell and put price tags on them you need to start preparing yourself to sell your handmade goods. It is really important to be well prepared for transacting business-if you are not well organized, customers might get frustrated, you may end up with a few people waiting to pay, and you will undoubtedly become frazzled, which is no fun.
From the guest post we
wrote on the Etsy Dallas
Prep for Doing Business
One or two weeks before the show, gather everything you need to do business and ring up transactions. Pens, calculators, invoice/receipt books, and shopping bags are must haves. Make a bank run to get change - think about your price points and plan your change based on that. If you take credit card payments via square or any other device or app, make sure they are in working order and that you remember passwords for apps. Another thing we do is create a cheat sheet of all of out items pricing with tax. At the bottom we have every price point from $1-$100 with tax added for a quick reference guide.
In addition to the bare minimum of receipt books, etc. you want to make sure that anything you plan to use to package or wrap items you have on hand as well (tissue paper, twine, gift boxes). Thinking back to your booth layout, make sure that all of these items along with shopping bags are laid out in a way that will make it fast and efficient to wrap or package items. Make knitted scarves and plan to drop them in shopping bags? Easy peasy. Make ceramic dishes and need to wrap them individually and them box them up? Plan to make some space for that and keep all materials handy. Plastic Rubbermaid drawers under a table can make for a quick wrapping station. If you make jewelry, you will want to be sure to have small boxes or pouches to protect purchases. It is also a really good idea to have boxes handy during the holiday season if people ask for them. I know it is an extra expense, but it is also part of the handmade shopping experience to have items nicely packaged. Uline is a great resource for packaging supplies.
Most craft show vendors have adopted the Square and other credit card payment methods, but it is always good to be prepared to take payments the old fashioned way (card imprint and paper receipt). Just because you have a square and the phone app doesn't mean you are guaranteed good cell signals or wifi. We have totally been to places that were the dead zone for cell phones, and with 50+ vendors trying to tap into the free wifi, forget it...nothing was working. This is when that receipt book will be extra handy, make an imprint either rubbing the card with a pen under the carbon copies (anyone who has ever worked in retail knows the drill) or write it down. Be SURE to destroy the card numbers asap after you are able to run the payment, and black out the # on the guests receipt for safety too. This is also where cash will come in handy, if your are not sure you have enough, bring more-you can always redeposit it into the bank after the show. Even if all of your items are under $10, be prepared to make change for someone who pays with a $100 bill. You know that person (can you tell we used to work retail!?) the one who comes first thing in the morning straight from the bank with a crisp hundred and you have to make $92 in change and they wipe out all your $20's...? Be prepared for that person :)
Be sure to check out the rest of this series on the blog!