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Craft Fairs, Bazaars & Flea Markets?Oh, My!
Many names are associated with events such as these. Craft Fairs, Bazaars, Flea Markets and Swap Meets are a few names you can find. Whatever the name?they all mean the same thing. They allow you to meet new and interesting people (hopefully customers), spend quality time with your family and more of course most importantly make some extra cash. But, before you debut your first table at one of these events, getting yourself prepared is the first step. The following is a guideline you can follow to help make sure you're ready.
1. First of course you'll want to find events that are held in your area. This is about the easiest task of all. You're sure to find them everywhere. Check you local newspaper, browse bulletin boards, and watch for fliers.
2. Next, attend a few local events yourself. Take a look around and view things from a customer's point of view. Which tables caught your eye first and why? What sort of products/merchandise is being carried? Most importantly, what's isn't there? Try to visualize how you'd like your table to look.
3. Once you've found the event you'd like to attend, reserve your table. Most events have an event manager. Find out who's in charge and contact them. Pricing will vary from one event to the next. Be sure to find out the average attendance to make sure it's worth the money. Don't forget to ask questions such as the availability of electricity (if needed), the size of your "booth", anything forbidden?
4. Make sure you have enough inventory. Stock up on catalogs, brochures and business cards. Make a list of all the supplies you'll need. Are you going to have samples available? You can find a printable check-list at http://www.mommyshelperonline.com/event-checklist.zip.
5. Decide what types of payments are going to be accepted. Are you only accepting cash? Do you have the ability to accept credit cards? Are you going to take checks? Does your bank accept check from customers out of the area?
6. Make a lead box. Lead boxes can be a great way to gain a mailing list, future or even repeat customers. One thing you can do with you lead box is hold a contest. An easy way to make a lead box is to take an ordinary cardboard box, cover it in decorative contact paper and cut a slit in the top. Print out entry forms with blanks for name, address, phone number and email address. Of course if you offer catalog parties or home parties, be sure to have a place asking if they're interested in holding one.
7. Set up your display at home to get a feel of how it will look at the event. By doing this you can take your time in arranging and re-arranging your display so you'll be ready for the event. The look and feel of your display has a large impact on your sales.
8. Recruit family members. You can make your events more family-friendly by assigning everyone a job. Spouses are great for helping un-loading and loading your merchandise, setting up and tearing down your display. Spouse also come in handy to "watch your table" if you need to step away. Smaller children can help bag/box up products that are sold, hand out business cards and catalogs or even meet and greet customers. Don't forget to bring along some fun things for children incase of the dreaded boredom.
9. Put on a smile. Don't just sit behind your table looking bored. Smile and greet visitors as they walk by or more importantly "stop in". Ask them if they're enjoying the event, how they're doing. Be friendly.
10. Have fun!
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