Monday, January 20, 2014

Hosting Your Own Craft Boutique

So.  One new thing I tried at the end of the year was running a craft show/boutique with a handful of girlfriends.  It was a fun,exhausting, eye opening experience!  Let me share some of what I learned (just in case you have the itch to do one of your own!).

1.  First of all, know that you can TOTALLY do it!!  The biggest hurdle to overcome is finding a location.  If you are brand new to this and don't have a huge pool of crafters to choose from, you can simply have a "Mom's night" and invite a few friends.  You can hold it in your home.  If you have connections, you can host it at a church.  Or a community center.  If weather is good, try a large parking lot! The options really are endless, it just depends on your resources.  After weighing all of our options, we chose to have it in a home.  We loved the coziness of it and will continue hosting it in a home for our upcoming boutiques (we will have another one in April and then another holiday one this winter).

2.  Find a friend (or two or three) to collaborate with.  With this Holiday Boutique, there were 5 of us working together.  There are definitely pros and cons to working with so many people on one project, but it was so much easier getting everything done before hand.  Everybody had their own responsibility and did it.  Just be sure you know your co-planners will pull their own weight and that you can be completely upfront and honest with each other.

3.  Decide what kind of vendors you are looking for and how much you want to charge.  If you're a small show just getting started, you don't want to charge too much.  Larger shows with large draws and higher expenses can get away with charging more.  Do you want all handmade artisans?  Or are you interested more in direct sales vendors (Pampered Chef, Origami Owl, etc.).  Will you accept more than 1 vendor selling the same type of item?  We had almost 30 vendors that were kind of split 50/50 between handmade artisans and direct sales.  We did, however, try to make sure there was only 1 of a specific item.  I would highly recommend at least one food vendor (if not more).  People love to snack and munch, and vendors will want something they can eat as well.

4.  Pick a date!  Check around to make sure there isn't a HUGE show the same weekend you are wanting to host yours; you don't want to compete with them.  However, don't worry about a few smaller shows.  There were quite a few shows the same weekend as ours, but we still had quite a steady stream of traffic. You also need to decide what hours you want to be open, what time you want vendors to set up/arrive and if your show is going to be just 1 day or several.  We had vendors come the night before to set up their booths so the morning of was just a matter of last minute prepping.

5.  Advertise, advertise, advertise!  There are lots of Facebook pages to advertise local craft shows on and/or advertise your need for vendors.  Create a page just for your boutique (you can see ours HERE). Create an invitation to your event for people to invite others to. Consider starting a small blog for your boutique just to provide a place for potential vendors and shoppers to find additional information.   Spread the word on Craigslist, Etsy and small local papers.  Did you know Etsy now has an area that you can list craft shows?  Check it out HERE. Local fabric stores generally have community information boards as do schools and churches.  Send your teenage kids out placing flyers on neighborhood doors.  Getting the word out is absolutely imperative to having a successful show!!!

Finally, once all of your work and planning is done, sit back, "relax" and enjoy the day!  Seriously.  
Once your craft show/boutique has started there isn't really a whole lot more to do other than enjoy it.  
It really is a lot of fun!

1 comment:

Kelly Burtelson said...

These are great tips! I am always looking for vendor events to be a part of, but I haven't set one up myself yet. Thanks for the ideas! ~Kelly @ Eyes On the Source


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