First thing – your change box or cash register. Make sure this gets checked before the bank closes. You will want to have plenty of change on-hand for the length of the show. If it is a high traffic show, it may be a good idea to also have a locked drop-box so you don’t have a large amount of money sitting in your cash register the whole time. I’m not usually too concerned about this at the shows I attend; however, you can make your own mind up about which option you feel most comfortable with.
Check that your table coverings are wrinkle-free. Table coverings that are not wrinkled will give a much neater, welcoming impression. If you are unable to clean your table coverings at home, you may want to check this a couple days in advance. This will allow enough time to take them to a dry cleaner, if needed. The type of table cloth and table skirt I use wash up very nicely in the washer and dryer, so I keep a small garment steamer on hand for in between washes when there is just a few wrinkles that need to come out.
Pack everything you can now! Some items you won’t be able to pack until the morning of the show, such as the sandwich for your lunch, but everything else can be packed up and ready to go the day before. Not only will you not have to rush around the morning of the show, you will be less-likely to forget something really important, and will probably have a much more restful sleep knowing everything is set.
You can pack all of your inventory and displays the night before, unless temperature is a factor. In this case, I make piles in my walk-in, so I know exactly what to grab in the morning without thinking about it. If you’re doing a lot of shows, it may be a good idea to have a special bag or box to put all of your “office” items. This may include, but is not limited to:
*Your change for the show – you really don’t want to forget all of your change. This could be very tragic.
*Sales Tax and Use License – Always keep the original in your bag/box to display at each show. For shopping, simply make a copy of it that you can carry with you. This way you will always know where your original is.
*Credit Card Processor – I like to keep mine right in my change box. Don’t forget signs that say you accept Mastercard, Visa, etc.
*Extra Pens and Paper – I like to keep some cute stationary on hand when possible, along with some extra pens. You never know where some conversations might lead to with customers, or even other vendors for that matter. Sometime you may want to write something down to give them, or vice versa.
*Notebook or Record Book – I like to keep track of what items I sell at each show. This always helps me double-check my inventory numbers after, and run a couple different reports on my business. On the back, I also make notes or write down suggestions customers may make, along with items they request for future shows.
*Notebook for Your Mailing List – A mailing list a great way to keep in touch with previous customers, even if it is just an e-mail with your upcoming shows or to announce sales. It is also possible that if someone cannot make a purchase that day, they’ll join your mailing list so that they can come find you at an upcoming show.
*Business Cards – even if you only attend one show a year and have no other reason to have business cards, have them with you. You can even go to an office supplies store and buy pre-perforated cards and print your own for this one day.
*Flyers – any flyers you may be passing out at the time. When people book several shows, sometimes they put together a flyer with all of their upcoming shows on it. Some crafters take it a step further and get postcards printed. They will have pictures of their products on one side, with their business name on it, and have all of their upcoming shows on the other side.
What are some items you remember to ALWAYS pack?