Heading out to your first few craft shows can be a little intimidating. My worst fear when I started out was that I would forget something important and not having it would wreck the show for me. I would have to tell customers all day, “I’m sorry, I forgot to bring that with me today” and they would walk away without buying from me.
Today I’m sharing my personal Toolbox checklist so you feel more prepared and relaxed as you head out the door. And if being prepared allows you an extra 20-30 minutes of sleep that is even better.
One thing that makes this toolbox idea work for me is that I keep everything in a tote bag and that tote bag is ONLY for the craft show toolbox. You could designate a briefcase, a plastic tote or an actual toolbox for your craft show items. The trick is to keep everything in that one container and keep it fully stocked at all times.
- Bag or box for money – Be sure to include plenty of change for the entire show. The bank won’t be open Saturday night or Sunday morning so you can get more change so make sure you have plenty on hand to last the entire show.
- Some sort of log for tracking sales. I like to write down each sale on a separate piece of paper and occasionally I’ll log the time on the same sheet. This helps me to see high traffic times when I go to the same shows over and over. I know that at the XYZ show I don’t want to take a break at 11:00 because that was my highest volume of sales for the day. Another reason for this is that some shows “FEEL” slow when they really aren’t. I might feel like I haven’t made a sale in hours but when I look at my sheet I see it’s only really been 20 minutes.
- Credit Card processor. There are a wide array of credit card processing services, be sure to do your homework and find a service that fits your needs. You don’t HAVE to accept credit cards but you might lose a sale or 10 without offering that service. In today’s plastic based society fewer and fewer people carry cash.
- Pens and extra paper. You never know when an idea will hit and you’ll need to write it down or sketch it out. Someone may tell you about a nearby restaurant that you want to write down or you may simply need to write a note to remind yourself to take care of something when you get home. It pays to have paper and a pen at hand when you need it. And yes, many smartphones have a notepad type feature but if you are writing a note for a customer or trying to sketch out an idea, nothing works like a piece of paper.
- Vendor information for the show. This is different for each show but it’s good to have all forms and other information available just in case. This way, if you have a question about when tear down begins or if one of your customers wants to know where the bathroom is you can look it all up in your paperwork.
- Business cards, brochures and other printed material. Even if someone can’t buy from you at the show they may wish to look you up later – or feature you on their blog. You may meet a vendor or two who lives not so far away from you and you might want to invite them to join a local community you have built. Sometimes, a local boutique or retailer may be walking the show looking for new product for their brick and mortar stores, websites or catalogs. They may not be there to buy right now but they wish to contact you later for wholesale orders. One can always hope – and be prepared for such occurrences.
- A small first aid kit. I don’t know about you but I manage to scratch myself or break a nail down to the quick nearly every time I set up a show. Having a small first aid kit with band aids and first aid cream on hand is nice.You might also include hand lotion, chap stick , sunblock for outdoor shows and hand sanitizer. You might also wish to include a couple of snack bars, water, mints and any other small items that will make your day more comfortable.
- An actual tool kit. A kit with tape, scissors, blank price tags, clothes pins, safety pins, calculator, a multiple use tool (think Swiss Army Knife), wire and wire cutter and any smaller tools related to your craft that might help you make last minute repairs. You might also include a phone charger (if you are provided electricity) especially if you are using your phone for credit card processing.
Having my craft show tote stocked and waiting helps me to feel a little more at ease before a show. I know that I won’t be able to control things like the weather, the traffic, or sales, but I can make sure I am a little more prepared for whatever the show has in store for me.
What about you? Do you have any tried and true items that you MUST include in your craft show toolbox? I’d love to hear about what works for you in the comments below.
If you’re still not feeling confident, check out our other craft show checklist.
By: Vicki O’Dell , The Creative Goddess