We have been doubly blessed this year with our honey flow. I tell my husband it's because I give away almost as much a I sell and it comes back ten-fold. We usually do 1 two-weekend show in October and 1 one-day show in November. This year we are trying to get into additional shows because of the amount of honey we have.
|This is just a hobby, we both work 40 hour a week jobs and if I
depended on honey to support me I old be a size 1.
We are participating in a first time show in Dawsonville, Ga (yes, that's where Bill Elliott is from but he now lives in Blairsville) it is being held at the beautiful Amicalola Falls State Park. So I will be giving you some of my hard learned tips about craft shows.
Keep a clean booth area. We aren't fancy, we just have 3 tables set around us in a square and we keep our extra boxes under the tables, hidden of course by table cloths (aka full size bed sheets). We keep a couple of trash bags (aka plastic grocery bags) handy for paper towels & such, we also use them for packaging that way the customer can carry their purchases in a bag with a handle. Customers are like geese they come in flocks, 3 types of customers, browsers, buyers and people who just want to give advice. We give them all the same attention because they are all potential buyers. After they leave we check the tables to make sure the rows are straight and no one has left any trash laying on the tables. We wipe the jars off and make sure no dust has accumulated on top of the jars.
No Smoking in the booth. I have to keep prodding my husband to go stand in the parking lot to smoke, he's not allowed to smoke in the house or in my KIA.
No eating in the booth. This is a hard one to live by. I have started in a booth at 7:30 and did not leave it until 4:30. In between customers I have to eat at least a sandwich, but I try to keep it neat. Not a lot of plates and such sitting around. Always make sure that you have clean hands, face and no food in your mouth. Again this is difficult because customers tend to come at inopportune moments, so you may want to stick to quickies like sandwiches or snacks.
Display, Display, Display. As I mentioned we have 3 tables in our booth, we also have a 3 level shelf and a corner floor display. This way you can get all eye levels, from short to tall. I actually have to stand on a milk crate so that I am above the table. Color. The next time you go into a grocery story or retail store take a look at eye level you will see bright colors like orange, red, yellow etc. Bright colors attract the eye automatically, pastels and neutral colors are overlooked. All of our labels have a yellow background and most all of our lids are yellow or gold. We have white & black lids but notice that the customer will pick up a bright lid 8 out of 10 times they pick up a bottle. Keep like items together.
Information. You can't get all of the information to every single person that stops by so you print it out. We have some business cards, homemade flyers about us and our honey, and some display signs (aka 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper in a frame).
Freebies. We have honey samples. We have sample squeeze jars with flip top lids. We explain the difference between the 2 honeys and then offer them a taste. We actually like to squirt a tad on their finger because they will get a better taste than with a sample straw. I do have the straws for people who tend not to want to try the sample on their finger but they just don't get as much of the honey from a swipe that you would get from a squeeze :).
Location. This will be our 5th year in the October show and our booth is right next to the bathroom, indoors of course. People who stand in line will have a good opportunity to hear your sales pitch to other customers and a lengthy time to look over the product. This show is in between 2 other shows that are going on at the same time. The Apple Festival in Ellijay, Ga and the Sorghum Festival in Blairsville. Right off of the 4 lane to get local folks and leaf lookers (aka out of town folks)
Pricing. Yes, we would all like to sell out of our product by the end of the first day, this is probably not going to happen. Try to stay competitive with other people who sell the same product as you do. Do some research by visiting local craft shows to view prices and see what people are buying, internet research and by asking your friends "Would you pay this amount for my product?". We keep our prices at even numbers to eliminate having to make change. $3, $5, $10, $15, $20. People usually have these bills with them and you don't have to make change as much.
Attire. Forget the weather channel, I never put much store into what they say anyway. I would recommend a lightweight short-sleeved shirt and maybe a long-sleeved shirt to go over it if you don't want to wear a bulky coat. I always freeze in the morning and burn up in the afternoon. I had a couple of t-shirts made at the local t-shirt place with Queen Bee and such on them. My best buy was some green bib aprons. On my husband's I had just "Little Drone Apiary" and our phone number, on my daughter's they cut up a pattern with several different bees and applied them, and mine has some bees with a hive and quote "Making Life A Little Sweeter." With pockets of course and/or a fanny pack. My husband decided this year to buy us some long-sleeved heavy cotton shirts with our logo sewn on. Guess where we found them?? at a craft show.
Take a comfortable chair and a thermos of water or a cup with a lid.
Walkie-Talkies. To keep up with your helpers and kids when they wander off. True Story: I was at a show in Suches, Ga last year and my daughter was on the playground, I could see her but with the walkie-talkie I wasn't haven't to scream for her to check in with me. These 2 older ladies walked up to my table and one said to the other " Well look a there, mountain folks have cell phones too", that's a fact with my hand up. Just like I didn't speak English or like I wasn't even there. Now, I do all of the web pages for my day job and technical support for the products that we sell so I am not an ignorant person, but I just could not let that one slide, I politely explained to her that it was not a cell phone but a walkie-talkie and yes we had cell phones they just didn't pick up in that particular area. Sometimes you just have to stand your ground.
TALK, TALK, TALK Visit with the browsers, explain your product, and of course offer a sample. Give some background on the product, the benefits, etc. Compliment their clothes, anything to get them to talk to you. If you just sit there quite like, then they are probably going to pass you buy. People like to visit with you, local s so you can talk about the weather and all of the stuff you have in common, out of towners to get information on the local area. Yes, we get goofy jokes about being mountain people but they always leave with a jar of honey in their pockets and some cash in mine.
I also sell homemade lye soap, lotion bars and candles. I do decorative painting but it is a very competitive market so I am taking very little to the shows I do. There is a local store that carries my painted items so I can enjoy the hobby and still sell some stuff. The soap and lotion bars practically sell themselves. Last year I sold 178 bars of soap in 1.5 days and had people calling wanting more. I would just stand there with a bar in my hand rubbing it back and forth and people would stop and see how soft my hands were and smell the soap.
Well here I have rambled on and on again. I hope this information helps and hopefully I will get back on the Honey topic next week. E-mail if you have any questions.