Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Craft Show {All the Little Details}

So, if you're planning to be a vendor at a craft show there are all these little details to organize besides what you make to sell and the booth itself.  Will you accept credit cards?  What will you use for price tags?  What about other marketing tools?  Business cards?  Bags?  Oh my.

Here's my resource list, to save you some leg work...

Business Cards & Price Tags

For starters I decided that business cards should double as price tags!  Heather (oh talented friend!) helped me design a vertical business card that looks "weighted" towards the bottom.  The pinked edge graphic at the bottom was supposed to be golden yellow, but turned out tan.  Bummer.  That's what happens when you can't color proof!  But, whatever, I still like them.

Business cards/Tags

I had them printed by Vistaprint.  Judging from my other experiences ordering from them, I think the color thing wasn't their fault.  I bought the most basic set of cards  - 250 card for $10 including shipping.  What a deal! And they're plenty thick enough too. The backs are blank so that I can write the price (and name of the item, if desired) on the back.

little fabric goodness

I'm thinking to sew a little fabric loop at the top of the cards when used as a tag.  A fun pop of color and texture!  Then I'd use a small safety pin to attach it to items.  But, I don't know.  Is this too big?  Should tags be so large and in charge?  I could also attach the tag to the back of an item this size, which might be better?

hmm.. is this right?

And on wall art, it could hang to the side at the top.  Is that the right placement, do you think?

As far as business cards, I plan to place them in a coffee cup on the table for the grabbing, alongside a sign up sheet for subscribing to my blog, info on my classes, patterns, etc.

Item Tags

tags by Gutentags

Anyone selling sewn goods should also use sewn-in tags to permanently identify items.  These tags really up the professional vibe of your work. They don't have to be expensive!  My Stitched in Color tags are professionally printed on white satin ribbon.  The ribbon edges won't fray and they do wash so well.  I order from gutenTAGS, an Etsy store that is not currently accepting new orders, but will again sometime soon!

my favorite!

Packaging

My items won't enjoy any special packaging while on display, but I eventually came to terms with the fact that I can't just hand someone a journal cover and quilt and expect them to walk away.  Well, I could... but it wouldn't enhance their purchase experience one bit.  And, what would I do if someone said, "Do you have a bag for that?"  I'd feel super lame to say "no"!


The pros say you should offer shopping bags, but those babies are pricey.  After doing some searching, I opted for a set of assorted size bags from Nashville Wraps.  Nashville Wraps is one of the very few places that offers an assortment of sizes.  Usually you have to order a ton of one size from packaging companies.  I need a variety of sizes for my products!  The Kraft Paper 125 bag assortment allows me to keep costs down.  I like the simple brown bag approach.  There's a slim chance I might decorate the bags by sewing a thin strip of fabric on them, or something, but that's not necessary.  Simple is good.  Nashville Wraps does have tons of other bag options, though, should you have another look in mind.  I've worked with this company with my online stores.  They're organized, responsive and nice!

But, guess what won't fit into a bag?  My large wall art pieces.  I'm bringing white tissue paper and baker's twine (also at Nashville Wraps) to provide protection for the artwork as they bring it home.  I'll wrap with tissue, scotch tape closed and then add the twine for an attractive finish!

Payments

Square to process CC

Yes, you do want to accept credit cards.  Experienced folks say this will increase your sales, and besides it's easier than handling cash.  Run right over to Square to sign up to receive a free device that works with your smart phone to allow you to swipe credit cards.  Money is deposited right into your bank account and processing fees are minimal (better than I've seen elsewhere).   Square comes with two small signs too, for telling people you do take credit cards.  Perfect!

Since some folks might want to pay with cash, you do need to have change on hand, plus a secure place to keep it.  I'll be wearing a half-apron to keep change at hand.  I'm also bringing a receipt pad to write receipts as needed. 

{To Do}

So, I still need to make a marketing sign for the picnic blankets lightweight summer quilts and a price sign for the journal cover basket.

I also want to make some things to promote my patterns for sale.

I'm trying to decide if I should bring a whole iron/board set up or hope that the wrinkle release spray I bought will work well enough.  My booth is going to be packed as it is (and looks like I'll have lots of helpers) so space may be at a premium.  I'll be sure to bring a needle and thread to fix anything random, but do you think a full fledged iron too?

Alright, I think I'm making good progress.  Thanks so much for your help!  Your advice has been invaluable on so many of these craft show posts!!!

65 comments:

  1. I'm certainly no expert, but one thing that worked for me on smaller items was to have the card/tag inside the item. Especially with things like coin purses, they're going to look inside and it's kind of fun to pull something out (and it gives them the chance to peep the price w/o being obvious).

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  2. I think the bags are calling for one of your cards to be sewn onto them. You could use embroidery thread (in a wonderful color) with a big "X" or could even attach the card using your machine.

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  3. This is all great advice! Thank you!

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  4. I agree with CathyH that you should attach one of your cards (prominently) to your shopping bags. Shopping bags serve the dual purpose of holding the sale items, but also advertising to others at the craft show that there's something worth buying at your booth! You might consider brightly colored sharpies to outline the card on the bag to make it larger. I also agree that putting the price tag inside coin purses or even the journals makes good sense. People will pick them up to look at them, and that's a good thing - because once they get it in their hands, it won't be so easy to set it down! As far as the wall art goes, you might look into those little clear plastic "sticks" florists put in arrangements to hold the card - you could attach it to the back of the art piece sticking out and slide the price tag into it- that way it doesn't detract from the art, but will be there right beside it (like art in a gallery!) Love the idea of wrapping your art up with tissue and pretty twine but be sure to tape one of your cards to the outside where it can be seen, too! And as far as ironing goes, maybe a portable ironing mat and a travel (teeny-tiny) iron would work for anything the steamer won't get out?

    It's all looking wonderful and I absolutely love that little coin purse!!! I really wish I could go and spend beaucoup bucks at your booth....

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  5. I like it when tags are large and in charge. If I have to search and search for a price tag, I tend to give up and look for something else.

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  6. You are one organized person! You are going to do wonderful. I can't wait to see pictures of the whole booth all setup.

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  7. I agree with the placement of the tags with the smaller items. Inside the coin purses and journal covers would be noticed, but not overly annoying. I like the place of the tag on your artwork, too. Having it on the back means people need to pick it up and flip it over. Why that may not be a bad thing, just remember that people will be eating at this fair (I'm assuming there will be food sold) and their fingers may not be the cleanest. I suppose that's something to think about with ALL of your goods, too. Perhaps the less they have to handle, the better..?

    I have a question about the credit card gizmo: what are the options for those of us who do not have a smart phone? We've sold food at 2 fairs a year for the last 5 years and have never excepted credit cards, only cash (and check if they are local). We are considering changing things and having an artisan booth. Excepting cards may be a smart idea.

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    1. The Square credit card processing has no option for dumb phones. I have a dumb phone myself! I'll be using my friend's smart phone for this reason. It also works with iPads, in case there is one of those you could borrow...

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    2. Thanks! The rest of our (adult) family have smart phones, so I'm sure I can borrow one! :)

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  8. I have used my business cards in a similar fashion. I use my hole punch and tie with skinny ribbon, but you could use your fabric strips or twine as well. Saves a bit of time and time=$$$. Best of luck! Your wares are wonderful!

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  9. I agree with those who have suggested you put your business card or a label of some sort on the brown bags. It's chic and a nice touch, another detail that says you care about the purchase from soup to nuts.

    As for the tagging, I like to the idea of tucking a price tag inside the item so it doesn't detract from the overall visual aesthetic but I also like it when there is a small sign (like a table placard) adjacent to the items with the prices listed. It's a nice way to give information to those who don't want to handle the merchandise if it is perhaps out of their price range.

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  10. love the cards as tags idea, and I agree with everyone else about attaching them to the bags as well. It's all looking so great!

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    1. Ok, looks like I need to gather my friends for an easy sewing night!

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  11. Could add a strip of fabric or ribbon to the card to make a bookmark for the journals.

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  12. Looks great! I used mini MOO cards as tags on my items last year and it was fun. Then I put the prices on stickers on the backs. I think your idea of wrapping the canvases is good. A couple things to keep in mind-- will you have space to do it in your booth? And a second person to help if things are busy, since it can take time to wrap things up? If not, you mig want to think of an easier (but unfortunately less pretty) solution. I just know when things got crazy at my booth, it was overwhelming trying to do special touches because everyone was so rushed.

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    1. Thanks, Krista. I will always have one (maybe 2) helpers, but the space to wrap them in could be a problem. Probably the only reasonable place will be the floor of the booth (behind the table). Since there are only a few large pieces, I think as uncomfortable as that will be for the wrapper, it's probably the best choice?

      Moo cards would have been a great idea for price tags!

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    2. Perhaps you could sew up a bag/envelope with plain brown wrapping paper or even poster board for each of your wall items. Label each wrap with a sharpie, add a little decorative touch and have them tucked somewhere in your booth. All you'd have to do is slide the wall art inside when it sold. Just a thought.

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  13. I'm baaack (y'all can run and hide now!)
    OK, love the business cards and love using them as the pricing tag. One of the things I hate when I get home is not remembering where I got X item. So having the name attached to the item is a super bonus for me!On hanging them, what about a hole punch in the top left and a loop of ribbon (using a longer loop to drape on the wall art)? Less work? To hang or tuck? Honestly, I want to see the product and I want to know the price. I don't want to be obviously looking for the price. So, my vote is hung with the small pin on the back of the smaller items. I also love the idea of having a general info/pricing sign, mentioned above, for the items.
    Item tags, love, love, love them!!!
    Bags...love brown bags with handles! I vote for identifying them. Not sure it is worth attaching you business card to them...what about colored card stock printed with black ink (I would print web site info too) and attached to the bags (either glued or ribbon hang?)
    Does that even make sense? It does in my brain, LOL.
    Ironing-what about a small craft iron and a towel covered board? Pull it out if you need it, but pretty small to store.
    Pattern sales...Do you have time to do one up as a summer weight quilt as a sample? Might contribute to sales of both patterns and summer weights...

    OK, I am leaving now :-) LOL...I am so excited for you, can't wait to see how this continues to play out!!

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    1. Okay, lots of good stuff here! I'm going to address one key thing. They won't be able to touch the wall art or reach the tags. Because of the booth design mandates, they can't get behind my table and go to the wall art.

      So, if I actually wanted them to know the price without asking me or my assistant, I'd have to force the tag to turn the blank back to them and write the price with a bold Sharpie. Or... have a sign that says, "X wall art is $85, X wall art is $45". I don't really want to make that sign (the wall art pieces will not all be up at the same time and I don't think they would know what was what).

      Soo... I was thinking they'd just ask on wall art prices. Or, maybe they should be big, bold prices staring at them from across the booth?

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    2. Rachel if they can't get to your artwork then I would make them ask about it. I personally think it's too pretty to put a big "I cost $45!" sign near them. You could always see how interest in them goes the first day and if no one asks, then add a legible price tag for them. It just feels a little "supermarket" to me. But I realize that you ARE trying to sell things.

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    3. I think you need to have some sort of price for the wall art. Even if it's just a sign that say "Wall Art Prices Vary Ask" or Wall Art $45-85. If you don't people might think it's part of your booth decoration and not for sale.

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    4. That's one effect of hanging the price tags as shown. Even though they can't read them, it tells them that they are for sale, plus we will read them to know the price!

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  14. These have been such interesting posts, you have been so generous in sharing your ideas and thought processes. I do so hope the show goes well for you.

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  15. Thanks for your very helpful posts! I have done a few shows and I am always looking to improve things. I would definitely say don't bother with the iron. No one will notice the odd wrinkle and your releaser (or a shoot of water) should work. Good luck with your show!

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  16. Great tips! I have a few to add from my year of craftshowing. That is to say... I'm a newbie too, but have had a few shows to advise on. I think price tags are a must, and it's a great idea to double business cards as tags! I started out doing just that but found that a whole business card is just way too big for small pouches. What I did was design a card that is 1/3 of a full business card, and then print 3 per card at Vistaprint. I cut them into thirds at home, and this gives me both a smaller card, and 1/3 the cost per tag. It looks much better on a little pouch, trust me!

    Also, great job deciding to use a credit card reader. Square is very popular, but according to my friend who is a consultant for small business payment (she's currently working for PayPal), Square doesn't have the best customer service. Consider using Intuit GoPay. Intuit is a huge financial company that has several products including Turbotax and Quickbooks. They have the resources to backup a reader like GoPay. Bonus is that if you use Quickbooks it will easily transfer payment data.

    Thanks for the source on bags! I've been struggling with that one. Luckily I live in a very re-use friendly area, so using old plastic shopping bags hasn't been a problem. But those kraft bags are great for higher end shows! I'd suggest getting a custom stamp and stamping them. SO much faster than sewing a tag on.

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  17. I like the idea of sewing a tag or putting some other sort of decoration on the bags. I also like the idea of putting the tag into the bags/journal covers. You've done so much!

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  18. I'm not a seller, but I am a careful buyer at shows! So YES to prices that are visible. And they don't necessarily have to be on the item; a little sign next to/or on baskets of items works great! For me, there is nothing worse than picking up an item, turning it round and round, not finding a price, falling in love with it, only to find out it is 6 times what I could possibly pay for it! I think a lot of people (me!) also buy gifts at shows, and we have in our heads a certain price range to spend on someone......so seeing the prices right off the bat helps to zero in on an appropriate gift that you can afford. If I can only spend $30, I don't want to waste a ton of time searching through $50 and $80 items. That said, if there are several different items in my price range, I'm apt to buy one of each, or more.....cuz I like having 'ready' gifts.

    I've been to two HUGE quilt shows in the last 2 months, and at certain vendors booths, when asking about a certain item, the FIRST thing out of their mouths was "That's my last one!", and not the answer to my question. I have to tell you.....telling me it's the last one, as though I should jump on it, is very off-putting! I know they were trying to make the sale, and didn't want me to walk away and come back later to find it gone, but it still sets me off. If I'm wanting two of it, then THAT is the time to tell me it's the last one. Just my two cents on a nerve bender! lol

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    1. I would feel the same way about "that's my last one!" Thanks for sharing your perspective.

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  19. Oh, forgot to say.....I love the tags and the bags! Awesome!

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  20. Thanks so much for this blog post, you gave me so much to think about as I prepare for my very first craft show. Many thanks!!

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  21. Great post -- thanks as always for being so candid here! Just writing in with a suggestion for a future post: how about taxes and TINs and all that not fun stuff? :) I've often thought about doing craft fairs but have been put off by the tax and accounting side of things. Would be curious what you have learned in your process!

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  22. Your business cards/ price tag combo is a good idea. Maybe with the purses you could just tuck a card inside and have some kind of overall price sign to indicate how much they cost? You could do the same with the journal covers and smaller items too. For the quilts, the tag is the perfect size I think.

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  23. Leave the tags large because many people won't see them if they are not large. They will move them or ask you to move them to see the whole piece. Change is a constant issue, but hopefully the SQUARE will help by allowing you to take credit cards. So many people will love that.

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  24. Like the business cards for tags... very practical, purposeful... maybe instead of pinning them on, consider one stitch through... it would make it impossible for people to switch tags... then, you could tuck them, but they'd see them if they open the purse or journal... on the large pieces, I'd put them i the lower right corner, that's where I tend to look... maybe make a poster with the business card in a corner, and general pricing, if that works for you, by category... love the bags... if you wanted to pursonalize, get a pretty stamp of your business card, and ink-stamp them... and most of all, have fun, as all those beautiful pieces leave your table to find new life in the hands of someone who will enjoy and appreciate them...

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  25. I did a show a few years back and bought similiar kraft bags from Nashville Wraps. My solution was to print a sticker with my logo and contact information on it. Since you already have the info for your cards, just transfer that to a sticker and press...Easy Peesy!

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  26. This series has been so great! I've thought of doing craft fairs when my kids get a little older, and you've really spelled it out for me! Thanks. I hope this is a very successful show for you, and that you learn a lot

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  27. Your whole series on craft shows has been excellent! I used to attend them with my Mom but never paid attention to the details. LOVE! <3

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  28. I have really enjoyed your series on prepping for the craft show - very educational and everything you've made looks lovely. Sad that we won't all be able to come and support you. I hope you'll sell the things that you bring home through your etsy shop! I would buy the triangle color story right now if you'd like and you can just ship it to me after the show ;-) I'd also love to see how you wrap your artwork onto your canvases :-) thanks again!

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  29. I really appreciate all the posts about doing the craft show. All super good info to know when and if I ever do one. I'll be passing this on to my daughter too. She makes jewelry and may be doing some shows in the future once she's established. Nice to see what other's experiences have been too when reading the comments.

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  30. What if you get some nice fabric scraps and have your kids glue them artistically on each bag? I bet they'd love to do it. Just an idea.

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  31. Ooo, or use a fun scrap and a business card and staple them to the bag - with the fabric hanging behind the business card - up in a corner?

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  32. As another poster mentioned, I also converted my business card to a striker for my Kraft bags. Also, there is a photography vendor that I use who carries reusable bags for canvases. I know the importance of keeping cost down, but maybe some reusable bags for the larger and most expensive items in the future :)

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  33. I love the business card/tag idea (and honestly, if your cards had printed in yellow, you would have lost legibility against the white card stock). One thought for your "wrapping" -- I saw this at a store in Nova Scotia years ago -- punch two holes about 2" below the top edge of the bag and about 2" from the inside edge of the twine loops for the bag handles, then tread a strip of fabric from the front of the bag through the loop into the bag then back out the front and tie a quick bow. Since you are already using fabric strips and your business card as price tags, you can simply tie a half knot in the front and dangle your business card from one end. This can be done well in advance and dresses up your bag a bit. Good luck at your craft show; I hope you sell LOTS of items!

    Susan

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  34. mary/Sy Lake QuiltsAugust 22, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I used business cards with a hole punched and a little length of narrow gross grain ribbon and a tiny safety pin when selling at a consignment store. That seemed to work well. Easy to change if you need to.

    Thanks for all these posts--they have been SO helpful. i am getting ready for my first sale a few weeks after yours. I have been advised to have a small table behind the big display table for a work table-- bagging etc. and i plan to try that.

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  35. I would bring the iron. You have worked so hard, and have made every aspect have the beauty be in the details; it would be a shame to get to the show and not have a way to get wrinkles out of something. Can't wait to see how it goes!

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  36. I got my cards from vistaprint, too, and also bought some round stickers that are great for plain bags. You will gets lots of promotions now that you are on their mailing list, so keep an eye out for when they go on sale. I'm debating on four square vs intuit, so I am looking forward to hearing about the experience.

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  37. Congratulations! I purchsed cards from Vista Pring about a year ago and it's the best thing I ever did. Using the cards for prices can be great. My friends who make jewelry have specially made cards that hold their jewelry.

    I purchased the small tags that are on a string so I wouldn't have to use a lot of safety pins (which aren't always so safe - I've had a few open on me). I try to keep the tags so I know what I sold in case I get busy and forget to enter in my sales book. But I always give a business card to the customer with a reminder of what I do and put one in my bags that I bought at Michael's but then I don't sell large items. I thought about taping or attaching my card to the bag but it looks lost. I have been toying with the idea of writing my name in large, colorful letters to people can see it right off the bat. But I am planning on using the hole and ribbon idea mentioned above. I have seen this in other shows and it's really cute. If I am selling an item that can hold a business card, I also put one in them like zipper bags or journals, etc.

    With your large pieces, have you thought about a dry eraser board? You can get small ones at Target for about $5 this week and just put prices on it and as you sell the piece, erase it.

    As for the iron - will you have an outlet om your booth? It sounds like a good idea but it can get really crowded with the board and iron and the packaging. If you iron when you set up and take it down, then that should work. I do love the idea of the wrinkle release (who makes that?). I usually try to lay my goods flat in the container and don't have a wrinkle problem.

    Thanks for all the great tips. I have a craft show next month which is supposed to be really huge and then we are off to the rest of the Fall to Thanksgiving shows. We are a small group and none of us has a smart phone and most of my friends are opposed to using credit cards and don't feel right about offering it. We do accept checks and, of course, cash.

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    1. Lots to think about here - thanks Kathe. I like the idea of bringing the iron/board and then returning it to my car. That'll be my plan! I chose wrinkle release off of Amazon, based on the reviews. I still need to test it.

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  38. if you want to have something on the bags why not stamp the name on it. Just came to my mind.

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  39. You could decorate your bags with fabric in cute shapes by using vliesofix - just iron them on, very quick and easy!

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  40. You are a shop on legs..well done!

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  41. Love the tags/business cards and placement looks perfect. I love all the special ore-sale and post-sale touches too. Just make your items that little bit more special.

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  42. thanks for sharing all these details, even though I'm not planning on doing a craft show any time soon I find them so interesting. Love all the products you're making, and using business cards as price tags is such a genius idea. Way to go! I'm so keeping my fingers crossed for a very successful craft fair for you.

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  43. If you are having something printed and you want the color to be correct you have to get a Pantone book and pick the color from there. You speck that in your digital file and then it should be close to that color when it is printed. It doesn't matter what the color looks like on your monitor, as long as the Pantone swatch is what you want.

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  44. Will you have power in your booth that you can use an iron? Also have you considered sold stickers? For people who might purchase wall art(or other things) and like to leave them at your booth until they leave the show rather than carry them around? You could write their first name and phone number on the sticker in case you need to contact them.

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    1. Sold stickers - good idea! Yes, I'll have power, but would need an extension cord. Seems like a lot of work...

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  45. Hi Rachel! Looks so great and thank you for the links! I love your cards and labels and I like to use also brown paper bags. They look natural and we can decorate them if like.
    I was thinking that if you have iron with you, the ironing board could give you a little bit extra space to keep your things or wrap your items. x Teje

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  46. Personally, I wouldn't attach your business cards to the bags. I think you'll have to order a lot more if you want to do that! And also I think that's overkill, if you're using business cards as price tags (which I think is a good idea).

    A lot of shops around here use plain kraft shopping bags and stamp their logo onto them. I think you can get a simple, largeish rubber stamp made for $20 or so. When I worked at a gallery, we did the same thing but with stickers. The stickers either went on the bag, or if there was something that needed to be wrapped in tissue, the sticker worked as tape.

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  47. One tip we used at a market recently was to get a self inking stamp made of our logo and stamp it onto blank business card sized cards. Really cheap, and

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    1. Kooky iPad didn't let me finish! Cheap and easy answer. You could also use the stamp on your paper bags instead of business cards. Good luck!!

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  48. I disagree with some of the comments about not using your business cards as price tags on the items. I did exactly what you are talking about at the craft shows that I have done, and one of the main reasons I did was because when I am shopping I like to be able to easily find the price and the business card is large enough to be easily visible. I think you are spot on IMHO!

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  49. Oh and I had a bulletin board thing that I hung a lot of hairpins I was selling and had just a sign on the board saying that each was this $. All day long everyone asked...how much are these hair pins? It is like they miss the hanging signs and are looking for a price on the actual item!

    Obviously I am defending what you originally said because it is exactly what I did too! LOL

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  50. I appreciate all your craft show information. I won't be doing a craft show any time soon, but would love to reference your information in the future. Have you thought about grouping all of your craft show posts with a link at the top of your blog page?

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  51. I made a banner for my table with Vista Print, it's really nice and was affordable.

    I use miniMOOs for my price tags and business cards, they're half a normal business card and so not too overwhelming. The texture and weight are different and so every time I hand one out someone comments on them and I hope it makes me more memorable. I have a similar graphic layout on mine to give a spot for price tag, or a magnet as a freebie if it's a business card.

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

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