Craft Show Vendors: Prepping Your Inventory

Craft show season is here! And there’s no better time to plan how, when, and where your small business could plug into the craft show circuit. 

You might ask: why would you want to become a vendor at a craft show in the first place? Good question! There are plenty of benefits, including but not necessarily limited to:

  • Exposure and networking. There’s no telling what kinds of local merchants you’ll meet. In our experience, this is a good opportunity to both promote your business and introduce others to sola wood flowers in general!
  • In-Person Sales. Most of us are digital/e-commerce sellers these days. Outside of owning your own brick and mortar (which is a blog post or 10 in and of itself) this is one of your only channels for instant, in-person sales. 
  • Profit. After all, if you’re making in-person sales, you’re turning a profit!
  • Insights. This is a truly underrated aspect of the craft show circuit. Keep a close eye on what’s popular vs. unpopular at your booth. Did a certain color or flower style fly off the shelf? What had trouble getting sold? These will help you better plan your attack in your local market!

Now that we’ve established the benefits, we’ll walk you through what to do once you’ve booked a show and how to properly manage your inventory

This is the first part of our craft show series. So if you find this helpful, make sure to continue checking back with our blog!

I’ve Booked a Show. Now What?

First, celebrate! Booking a show is an amazing feeling and an important milestone in the growth of your business! Then...the real work begins.

Before packing up your crafts for the big show, here’s what you’ll need to consider:

  • Determine the show length
    How many days and/or hours is the show? This will help plan out your inventory needs, but you’ll also need to keep it in mind for other factors. For instance, will the craft show impact your turnaround time for other projects? You’ll need to weigh all the pros and cons based on the length of the show before moving forward.

  • Determine the show cost and your break even point
    This is critical – how much will you need to sell in order to break even on the show? If you don’t break even dollar-for-dollar, are the networking, exposure, and insight benefits enough for you to go anyways? Also, don’t forget the intangibles. How much are fuel costs for getting to/from the show? Will you be eating at restaurants or bringing your own food? These are questions you’ll need to consider and answer yourself!

  • Plan your product mix
    You’ll want to bring a selection of different products at different price points to your booth in order to attract a wide customer base. Typically I like my price ranges to be: $5-$15, $16-$35, $36-$55, and $55+. Now this is important: assume you’ll sell more of the lower-cost items. I often break down my product mix as follows:

    • 30% of items in the $5-$15 range
    • 40% in the $16-$35 range
    • 20% in the $36-$55 range
    • 10% in the $55+ range

      This will create a nice curve of low cost/high volume vs. higher cost/lower volume products while also allowing you to appeal to multiple customer segments! One thing to note - not all craft shows are the same. The percentage at each price point will vary considerably depending on whether your show is a flea market style or handmade only craft show. Your market will also play a part in what price points will be most successful.

We recommend walking the craft shows you want to participate in one year ahead of time. This will help you to see the foot traffic and check out price points at the most active booths. It can also help confirm your thoughts that it will be a good show for your business!

Now that you’ve planned out the show, let’s talk about your inventory.

Buying Inventory

Take a look at the percentage breakdown we’ve supplied above. Let’s suppose, for your craft show, you’ve decided you plan on bringing 100 crafts. This would break down to 30 items in the $5-$15 range, 40 in the $16-$35 range, and so on.

Now, consider what crafting items you’ll need for a single product. Then, determine what you’ll need for 30 products

Let’s do a couple of examples so you see what I mean.

Example Inventory: $5 Magnet

Since this is $5, we know we’ll need 40 of them. My typical magnet recipe is:

  • One flower
  • One sprig of greenery
  • One magnet
  • One bottle of paint per 25 flowers
  • One small E6000 tube per 10 magnets
If you are making 30 $5 magnets, you will need 35-40 flowers (you always want to err on the side of caution and have a few extras in case a flower breaks or is damaged), 1-2 full bundles of greenery,35-40 magnets2 bottles of paint and 4 small tubes of E6000.

Make sense? Let’s try one more!

Example Inventory: $30 Mason Jar Arrangements

This lands us in the $16-$35 range, so if you’re bringing 100 items total, you’ll want 40 of these.

My typical mason jar recipe is:

  • 6 flowers
  • ½ bundle of greenery
  • 6 wire stems
  • 1 can of spray paint for every 3 jars
  • 2 bottles of paint for every 50 flowers
  • 1 large glue stick for every 10 arrangements
Doing the math, you’ll need around 250-275 flowers, 20-23 full bundles of greenery, about 250-275 wire stems, 13 cans of spray paint, roughly 12 bottles of paint and 5 large glue sticks.

We know, we know, nobody likes math! But once you have a good idea of the number of items you need to create along with the types of items you want to sell, you can plan out the inventory needed and get your orders done quickly.

One final note before we go: we were inspired to write this blog post on how to plan what you will need to order in preparation for a craft show based on a question that came up during one of our Wholesale Concierge Video Chats. Just a reminder: as an Oh You’re Lovely wholesaler you have access to me personally to talk over strategy, money-saving tips, show planning, and more!

Interested in setting up your chat? Click this link to set up your timeslot today!

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