Hot Trends for 2012 Festivals
Crafters and vendors who enjoy making a living traveling from one place to another have much to look forward to this year. One of the most important ways to keep your business thriving and growing is to find out what is popular for the upcoming year, and to be prepared well in advance for seasonal shows. At the same time, you don’t want to offer the exact same items as other crafters have on sale, and if you are selling supplies, you want to be sure that customers feel they are getting a great value on the things that they need to create their own craft items. Here are some additional tips to help you prepare for what is certain to be one of the best years yet for crafters and vendors alike.
Understanding How the Economy Affects Your Business
The economy is something that is on everybody’s mind lately. Supplies cost more because transportation costs more. Even so, customers come to craft fairs, shows, and festivals hoping to find gifts for themselves or loved ones at prices they can easily afford. Finding ways to make your crafts cost a bit less can help you to pass the savings on to your customers and give you a leg up on the competition. Without great prices, your sales will lag and you’ll end up struggling just to make ends meet, never mind make a profit.
While it is great to offer a few high-end items for those customers who are looking for the very best, it is beneficial to offer things that will appeal to people who are on a budget, as well. If you cater to only a small niche of the population, you are probably going to end up waiting to make even a few sales. For the widest appeal, try to stick with a theme and offer a number of items at various price levels.
Take Advantage of Seasonal Trends
Most people do not like to spend money on “just because” items. Instead, they prefer to put their money toward things that have a definite purpose, such as Christmas decorations or display items that can be used throughout the entire autumn season. Some of the most popular trends for 2012 include wreaths for interior and exterior use, silk floral arrangements in interesting containers, and candles and candleholders, particularly those that have natural elements and high quality fragrance blends.
To get a feel for seasonal trends, consider the demographics in the area where the fair or festival is taking place; if the area is primarily rural, then more traditional designs will probably sell better than edgy contemporary designs will. In urban areas, the opposite may be true.
While it might be tempting to offer Christmas items at an autumn festival, or autumnal items at a festival that takes place just after Easter, rethink your strategy. Many people complain about the way merchants display items for an upcoming season much too far in advance, and doing the same might put you at a disadvantage. Offering seasonal items any more than about two months in advance is considered poor practice in most places.
Keep It Simple
Keeping displays simple and well organized not only makes packing and transporting items much easier, it also gives your booth a clean look that appeals to customers. A cluttered sales area can be confusing to shop in, plus, such an area just does not look professional.
Add to simplicity by using nice display racks that allow customers to view items easily without excessive handling, since even the nicest customers often do not put things away properly after viewing.
Be sure to put like items together. If you offer pottery, wreaths, and greeting cards, for example, do not mix the three together. This helps keep customers focused and prevents them from leaving for a less confusing booth.
Keep It Professional
Would you walk into a store without a name, particularly if you had no idea what the proprietors were selling? Probably not. Pick a name for your business – one that resounds with you, and one you can grow with. Put it on a sign and display it proudly.
Display your wares beautifully, and be creative in setting up displays. Look to see what others are doing, and don’t be afraid to peek at prices. While you don’t want to sell exactly the same items, you also do not want to be skipped over because your prices are astronomical, and you don’t want to miss out on possible profits by setting prices that are too low.
If you offer consumable goods, then ensure people can try a sample if they like. This is a good way to interact with customers; offer then a dab of handmade lotion or a small sample of one of the goodies you have for sale. While you certainly do not want to be pushy or overbearing, you do want to open the door for interactions between yourself and your customers. Pay attention to them and make them feel special and welcome, in the same way you would if they were visiting your home.
Be sure to keep plenty of change on hand, and always offer customers a receipt with their purchases. Keep business cards well stocked, and consider writing a pamphlet that provides potential customers with information about the items you have for sale. Include information about ingredients, and include fun details. Remember to use a font that is large enough for people with eye problems to see clearly, and ensure you use good grammar and proper punctuation. Most of us know someone who can write fairly well – if writing is not your strong suit, then see if a friend can help.
Invest in nice bags and tissue paper, if appropriate, and put the name of your business on the outside of the bag. People at fairs and craft shows tend to look at one another to see what is trendy, so taking this extra step to please customers serves a double purpose by helping you to advertise. If you sell your crafts online, include a flyer with information about how to find your online store.
By taking just a little time to make the shopping experience fun, exciting, and simple, you can propel yourself to success in 2012.
By Jean Walsh on April 3, 2012