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Monday, December 5, 2011

Reminiscent of a Booth

Good morning!

It's the Monday after my first booth at the Christmas Extravaganza and do you know how it went? Did I sell a lot of my work? Ask me a different question and you'll get a more positive answer! {blushing} Well then, what did you learn out of your first experience selling at a booth? A million wonderful things! Well, it probably isn't ONE million, but so many wonderful learning points. And I'm happy to share a few of them with you.

So here's me at my booth!

Wait! Can I put a disclaimer on what you are about to see?  I stayed up until 3 am getting all my price tags, table tents, cards bagged and emergency supplies (tape runner, scissors, etc.) put together and set up on a table in my dining room. I slept for 4 hours and then spent 15-20 minutes getting ready in the morning before I ran out the door. Sooooo, I'm not looking a bit exhausted and less than enthusiastic, I think. LOL

 Since I had all my items placed on my dining table it was easy to swoop up and put in my storage container. A long time ago, for some reason, I purchased a rolling cart. Not a dolly or hand truck. It's one like this...

Platform Truck from Harbor Freight
This gem made it so easy to stack all my stuff and roll it from my car to inside at my table. The handle folds down to make this cart less than 7-inches tall for easy storage under the table and also in the back of your car or in your trunk. 

I set up my table at home with the cards on the right and the tree on the left. When I found my booth it was next to the entrance and the tree would be the first thing people would see instead of the whole table. I had to flip my layout. No problem until I tried to hang all my cards up on the display. They were facing backwards. (I'll try and get a closer shot and post it sometime with my cheap display alterations I used.) And now...

Point #1 - Never expect electricity to meet you at your booth. My little christmas tree was pre-lit, but even with an extension cord I was not close enough to an outlet. No worries, they can still see the ornaments for sale.

STOP! Count how many men you see in this picture...
now how many women?

Point #2 - Plan what you're going to say to the selling audience! The first hour was a room full of men who had been filled to the gills with breakfast buffet and chatted out after an hour meeting. What are you going to say to men who have used up all their words and tummy contented? Hee-hee. I thought all about what I could offer them to get for their spouses and family members. I knew some of them personally, but getting to a point that I could sell to them I needed to know WHAT they thought their families would need or want.

Everything is set up and a chance to take a breath,
and smile for the camera.
I walked around to all the booths and said hi! I handed out a Rolo candy to each one and smiled and said hello, taking a look at what was available at each booth. It was a wonderful time to make new friends and potential buyers. Everyone knows... that goes... we buy and sell to eachother almost more than the people coming in the door.

Point #3 - If your going to sell aside any of these businesses again, know what they sell and figure a way to combine or compliment eachother. I had cards, gift card holders and probably could have figured out some more things to "help" out their sales too... if I had more time. I cut up some blank cardstock to use as a note for the gift card holders, BUT they could have easily been used to write out a gift certificate or add a business sticker from one of the other booths. Does that make sense? I'm in the business of creating communication through paper products and/or sold to the end user. It doesn't always have to be in the form of an A2 card. In this close-knit group of business owners, I could have emailed out a notice that I would have some things available to help them sell more! (Yes you read the tense of that sentence correctly, so lets say that is a mini point 3.5.)

My last point for now, which I'll be contemplating all the other wonderful networking moments I had that day for a post to write later, is this... 

Point #4 - Shop at your own booth before anyone else does. I was thinking of how to display my cards, holders and 3-D items and came up with some clever ways to do it (I'll share those later), but I didn't walk through my booth and try to buy anything. If it's hard to find things that catch my eye... I won't buy it if I can't see it. Who else will?

To be honest, I walked out of that building Saturday thinking I would never do a booth again. I hardly sold enough to pay for the booth rental! In the short 10 minute drive home my attitude changed from what I didn't get to what I did get out of my time at the Extravaganza. It is now exciting how much I learned and the new friends I made. I even have some direction to help Rain Puddles Design grow into much more than I hoped it would be.


  1. Hi Janelle,

    I am assuming this was your first craft sale? Your booth looked fantastic.. Don't give up! Your for sure on the right track!! Good post!!

  2. Janelle ~

    Your booth was absolutely beautiful! You are so right about events like this one having more value than actual sales. When you don't have a "storefront" you have to get your name and face out there in other ways. These types of events are one way to do that.

    Your bullets above are wonderful learning points! Ride this wave of momentum, girl!

    Love you and your high quality, excellent work!


  3. You booth looks fantastic and you sure sound like you're on the right track! Don't give up - it took me a while to get my business up and running too and if it doesn't happen today, it'll happen down the road; you're just laying the groundwork for it. Good job!


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