Do you love to do crafty things like knit, sew, paint, or woodcraft? Maybe you enjoy going to garage sales or thrift stores and finding treasures? You could even be really talented and be able to craft beautiful furniture. Having the ability to do one or more of these things is a wonderful talent and should be shared with others who might not be so lucky. Many people love to shop for unique handmade items that they cannot find at shopping malls or regular stores. You might even be looking to make a little money and get rid of some of these wonderful crafts that you keep making but don’t easily get to share with others.
Recently my Mom and I opened our own booth in a local craft mall. There is so much that you need to do and know to get ready to open one than I could have ever imagined.
First, you need to make sure that your items are marketable. This means that you need to ask yourself, is this an item that others will buy? Are your items unique? If it something that a shopper could easily buy at Wilmar, you are unlikely to do as well as you might hope.
Market your items to fit the area that you live in. If you live in a small town that is not wealthy, know that you cannot price your items unrealistically. Ask yourself if you would purchase your items at the price you have listed, if not then it is most likely others will not also. If you live in a metroplex you might have a better chance at listing them a little higher. When pricing, you need to include your cost for supplies and remember most importantly your time and effort. Use good judgment as a shopper yourself.
Second, make sure you have enough inventory to start out with. Do you have enough items to fill a booth? If not, continue crafting until your inventory is full. A full booth will draw more attention than one that is half empty. Once you have a full inventory it is time to find a craft store or mall to sell your items in.
When choosing a store to display and sell your products in, shop around. Make sure the store is in a busy area, check to make sure that most of the booths are full, as this means the store does pretty good business. Be sure to look at all the other booths in the store to see if anyone else is selling mostly items that are similar to yours. If there is another booth with similar items, yours might not sell as well.
After you have found the store you want to sell in, find out rental prices, store hours, whether or not they have sidewalk sales, and if they take a percentage out of your sales. If you can find a store that does not take a percentage out of your sales, that would be much better for you. Most craft malls have you sign a contract. Be sure to read all of it and of course, read the fine print. If your booth is not doing as well as you would like, you want to be able to quit when you need to.
OK, now you’ve found the store and signed the contract. It’s time to set up your booth! You want to make sure you have plenty of shelving, racks and table to be able to display your crafts as best as possible. Displaying your best products at eye level and on the walls will be your best bet to draw customers to your booth. Add lighting such as small lamps, or strands of Christmas lights. Add other decorations to your shelves to help spruce up the look of your booth, whether it be flowers, picture frames, just add color! Stand back and take a good look at your booth when you are done. Is it pleasing to the eye? Does it look full and inviting? If it does, then great! You are off to a good start.
Always check back every so often to see what is selling and what is not. Capitalize on what is selling, and make more! Keep your booth stocked at all times, don’t run low on items. Do NOT go into the store every day hoping that a lot has sold. It could take more than a month for people to realize your booth is there, then it has to spread by word of mouth. If you want to you could even make up flyers announcing the opening of your booth.
Just as with any retail store, it will have its ups and downs. Some months you might sell a lot, others not so much. Don’t get discouraged, it is just a matter of finding what works and what doesn’t. You might even have to incorporate some other items into your booth, and that is OK. Just have fun crafting and enjoy knowing that you are sharing this talent with others.