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April 2012

There are always things you can do to help boost your arts and crafts business. Take a look at this month's article for tips making the most of your festival experience!

Have you listed any items in the FNO Marketplace yet? Now you can sell your artwork online through FNO! It's free to list your items, complete fee information is listed here.

As always, if you have any particular topics you'd like to see covered here, or if you'd like to contribute an article to the FNO newsletters - drop me a line!

Happy crafting!
Jackie
FNO Newsletter Editor


The Early Bird Has the Advantage and Don't Close up Shop Early!
by Rena Klingenberg

Being one of the first to arrive can result in an upgraded booth for you. If there's been a last minute cancellation by another vendor who had a prime spot, and you're the first person the show organizer sees, you may wind up becoming the lucky new owner of a great booth space.

Also, if you arrive early you'll have the opportunity to inquire what the booths around you will be selling or doing. If you've been slotted into an undesirable situation (e.g., next to a loud band or another jeweler), you stand a good chance of being relocated if you ask politely and have a good reason for it.

There also may be other amenities available on a first come, first serve basis - such as a closer parking spot (highly desirable for loading and unloading your vehicle), better tables, and a cup of coffee and a donut.

At nearly every show I've ever done, I've seen flustered artists arriving just a few minutes before the end of booth setup time. They miss the first hour or more of customers because instead of being ready on time, they're frantically setting up their booth and displays while potential customers troop past to buy from other vendors.

In contrast, if you arrive as early as possible, you'll be well set up in plenty of time and feel relaxed and completely ready for the first customers - who always seem to start arriving earlier than the show's advertised starting time. Early shoppers will flock to the booths that are all set up and obviously ready - and you can make a lot of early sales by being one of the first vendors set up.

The other type of customer you'll have when you're set up early is other vendors. The best time for them to stroll through the venue and do some shopping is before the show starts, and I've made many pre-show sales (and barters) with other vendors because I was set up and ready to sell.

Naturally you'll wring the most profit out of your booth if you are completely set up and ready for shoppers from the very beginning to the very end of the show. That's why I'm always amazed to see so many vendors starting to pack up their inventory and displays an hour or two before the show's advertised ending time. I know they're fatigued by the end of the day; but they're missing out on some prime selling opportunities.

The main reason why the very end of the show is such a prime selling time is because customers know they have to shop quickly, so they're operating in an impulse-purchase frame of mind. They can see vendors all around them packing up and moving out!

A fair number of visitors tend to arrive near the very end of the show, and when they realize that it's about to close down, they often get into panic-shopping mode. You can almost hear them thinking, "Quick! I've got to find something to buy before it's all put away!"

Scarcity is one of the most powerful activators of people's buying urge. There are very few things that motivate someone to shop more than scarcity. So by being one of the very last vendors to start packing up, I've made sizeable jewelry sales at the end of almost every show I've ever done.

Nearly always, one or more last-minute customers will come gratefully rushing up to my booth saying, "Oh, I'm so glad you're still open!" It's not uncommon for a last-minute shopper to quickly buzz around my booth, gathering up several items, and wind up buying $60, $80, $100, or more of jewelry within five minutes. Because the show is closing, they don't have time to rethink their purchase or put any of it back, so they buy it all. And while I'm packaging their purchases and writing up the transaction, they keep thanking me profusely for staying open for them.


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