Trunk shows are a fantastic way to reach new customers and increase sales while strengthening your business relationship with stores. They entail selling your handmade items for the day (or a few days) and interacting with shoppers directly.
Sometimes they are held at venues like hotels or salons, but generally this kind of event takes place in a boutique or department store. Here are my top five tips for a successful trunk show:
1. Talk to Boutiques and Stores
The best way to begin arranging a trunk show is by contacting stores you already sell at on a consignment or wholesale basis. If you don’t sell in any shops yet that’s fine too! Just start locally and once you’ve established a business relationship then ask if they’re interested in hosting a trunk show to sell your items. It’s also a great way to launch your line in a store- think of it as a party to celebrate your new opportunity!
Extra tip: Providing snacks and beverages will make shoppers feel comfortable and encourage people to stay for a while.
2. Discuss Payment Details
Make sure to set a payment or split arrangement with the shop before the day of the show. Some stores will count your trunk show transactions as a regular sale, while others will just charge you a flat fee and let you keep the profits. Also decide how the payments will be processed- will you take the money and then pay the shop out or will the customer go up to the store’s register to pay? Iron out all the details in advance to prevent any confusion during or after the event.
3. Promote the Event
The more people you get to your trunk show the better! It’s a win-win situation for both your handmade business and the hosting shop because people will typically also do some shopping at the venue after visiting your table. Promoting through social media is the best way to boost attendance to your trunk show, so make sure to share it on your Facebook fan page, Instagram, Twitter, etc. The boutique or shop can also advertise it by creating a Facebook event page and sharing on social networking platforms. Additionally, if you and the store have email mailing lists sending an e-blast is a great way to promote your trunk show!
4. Bring a Variety of Merchandise
No one knows your products better than you do, so use this as an opportunity to show customers what make your items so special. I also suggest bringing more goods than you would normally have at the store. Boutiques can only allow for so much inventory due to space limitations, so a trunk show allows for a wider variety of items. You can also market the event as featuring brand new products, so be sure to include any new designs and color options you have available. Think seasonally and remember any upcoming holidays when planning what inventory to bring. For example: if it’s winter make sure to include warm mittens and ornaments, in summer more bright and fun items, etc.
Extra tip: Always ask the hosting store if all your items are okay to sell at the trunk show- you don’t want to compete with artists offering similar items at the shop.
5. Take Custom Orders
You might also want to ask the hosting shop if you’re allowed to take custom orders during the event. This is another easy way to increase sales and make a personal connection with customers. If you are taking custom requests, make sure the shopper pays for the item at the trunk show and provides all the details you will need with regard to size, color, material, etc. Also arrange how the customer will get the product- will they pick it up at the shop or will you mail it to them?