Mistakes I have Made Selling Handmade Soap at Craft Shows
Selling your handmade soap at a Craft Fair, Craft Shows
or Farmer’s Markets is a great way to build your business.
You are not only exposed to a target market of consumers
who love natural and handmade products,
but you also gain experience with both success and failure
when selling your natural soap in this setting.
There is absolutely nothing unusual about
having a disappointing show.
It is going to happen and you need to learn from the experience.
I have learned many lessons in the last 15 years from shows that don’t turn out. There is always something good that comes
out of the experience. For instance, I have earned the right to tell you about those mistakes in my blog, since I have lived it and
survived to pass on some advise to you.
I would like to tell you what I have learned from these less than profitable shows, hopefully it will save you a bit of grief one day.
The Big Show – It’s not your typical Craft Show
If you are planning on going into a big show, with huge attendance
and major advertising and sponsors, remember it is going to be pricey.
These shows can be as expensive as $2000 to $5000
for your booth rental alone.
Don’t take this on unless you are willing to spend the money
on your ingredients. Many people will tell you to plan on
selling 5 times your booth rental.
I think this is an exaggeration.
Big shows bring a lot of traffic, but traffic does not always translate into sales. Many of these big shows
are 4 to 5 days long.
The shows can be rather overwhelming in size and most guests will walk through your booth
once or twice before they commit to purchasing, unless you have something completely unique
that they have already decided they want.
One thing to remember is that you are not only competing with several other natural soap and skin care booths,
but you are competing with every single other booth.
There are several vendors in these big shows. There could be 300, 400 or more booths to visit.
Because of this, every visitor in your booth who shows the slightest interest in your products
should be given your business card with your booth number written on it.
This is important because they will forget where you are by the end of their first walk through.
How did I learn this lesson? I had a huge rush of return visitors at the end of the 5th day within 2 hours of the show closing.
A few of them said they have been looking for me for 3 days and finally had to visit each soap maker again to find me.
The lesson I learned – put myself in my visitor’s shoes and make it easy to find my booth.
It’s a jungle out there!
Though I did very well at this show, imagine the revenue I lost from visitors who could not find my booth again
and couldn’t remember the name of my company because I didn’t give them a business card.
I am very lucky that the ones who did return told me about putting my booth number on a card for them.
Both you and I can benefit by listening to their advise.
Expecting too much from a Craft Show – Working Against the Universal Law of Attraction
You pay your table fee or booth rent, it’s pretty expensive,
you have heard so much about this show,
you are so excited because you are
expecting to sell out……. You have very high expectations for
this show and are looking forward to your big profits.
Part way through the show you realize you are not even
close to where you thought you would be in sales. Your mood turns sour.
Does this sound familiar? This is something you need to stop doing if you fall into this trap.
I was there and I learned to get past it.
Nobody wants to waste time and lose money by not making their booth rent.
I made that mistake. I don’t do it anymore. I have learned that once I got into this funky mood, it showed.
My booth visitors saw it and I almost seemed desperate in my selling style.
Here is what I do now:
Each time I start the show I say. I have paid $200 (or whatever the fee was) to advertise my products at this venue.
Every business card I give out is worth $5 (or the equivalent of my lowest prices product).
One day I will sell $5 worth of product to every business card I have given out.
Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, but I put it out there
that the card I just gave out has a specific value.
By the time I give out 40 cards ($5 x 40 = $200), I have made my booth.
Maybe not today, but it will come back because they have my website, they have my phone number and
they took the time to stop by my booth which means they felt there was something of value there.
Sounds weird, but you need to intend it, ask for it, pray for it, whatever works for you.
Know you will be seeing that $5 from each card come back to you.
In the meantime, as you wait for that $5 to return to you (it has its own schedule, don’t rush it),
you might experience other sales happening at your booth.
My friend Wendy has reminded me that these sales are actually “gifts”.
I am not entitled to this money, just because I showed up with my stuff
doesn’t mean I have earned it. Remember, I am here to advertise.
Every time you get a “gift” of someone purchasing from you, then act like it was a gift.
When they leave your booth, then show gratitude through a little prayer, or however
you choose (not out loud, this is a private moment between you and the faith you practice.
It does not need to be religious, it could even be faith that you are in the right place at the right time).
How do I get the ball rolling?
Each time a card goes out, get excited. It will give you an adrenaline rush and make you feel happy.
When I am shopping and snooping around at a craft show, I am automatically attracted to vendors who look happy.
I don’t mean those who have a smile frozen on their face for looks. I mean genuinely happy.
The body language, the glow on their face. These vendors are always nice to visit and I notice other vendors, when there is a slow period in the show, seem to gather at the happy vendor’s booth or table.
The lesson I learned: Like attracts like, you feel gratitude, you get more of what made you feel that way.
You feel sad and disappointed, you get more of what made you feel that way.
It’s the universal law.
This is part 1 of Selling Soap at Craft Shows – Mistakes I have made.
Stay tuned for part 2 coming next week!
I would love to hear some of your comments!!!