Lessons learnt from a Craft Show

With things slowly getting back to order here at Haby G HQ, I've had time to reflect on exhibiting at the recent Melbourne Craft & Sewing Show.

I am extremely fortunate to have some business friends that I can debrief with and analyse the results of the past week.

Overall, the experience was fantastic and all round positive.  I was able to meet many of my Melbourne database plus introduce my products to an audience who did not yet know of The Haby Goddess.

I wanted to share with you some of the things that stood out as important.  What I'd do again and things I wish I'd done. Many of these points can also be considered for market stalls.

Carrying your branding through to the show is extremely important.  If you are a regular visitor to my blog & shop, you will note the familiar colours, product shots & way that I present my business.  I wanted the craft exhibit to do the same.  Even though I knew my gorgeous products would sell themselves, by adding pink gingham fabric to the walls & cream shade cloth to the floor, it gave the space a very familiar Haby Goddess feel.  Keeping the black walls & navy flooring would not have had the same effect.

Samples sell!
I had grand plans of making many more samples than I did.  I wish I had.  The items that had samples out sold those that didn't. I sell a lot of kits and sewing patterns, while customers get the general idea from packaging and my explanations, it's not the same as seeing the product made. It was great to be wearing a dress that had been made from one of the Pattern books.  It proved a good conversation starter and customers could see the finished result.

Supplier Relationships
The wonderful relationships I've built with my suppliers over the last 4 years proved invaluable over the last weeks.  I think it comes from dealing with small independents!  They couldn't help me enough, offering samples, priority shipping, promotional materials, giveaways and support in general. One lovely supplier delivered straight to the show for me!

It was also a great opportunity to network with other stallholders and build new relationships.

Know your sums
If you are anything like me, you hate sitting down and working out exactly what you need to earn in sales to break even - sometimes the truth hurts! But it's really important.  These events are definitely not cheap. There is stock (I had to quadruple what I normally hold), the stall fee and all associated costs (extra lighting, floor, walls, fitout, signage), incidental costs (I had before & after school care, staff gifts, printing, eftpos machine hire).

Prior to the show I did an estimate of income that I may receive.  This was a great tool to look back on after the show to see where figures were + or -.
This is the formula I used (it is not based on anything other than figures I felt were reasonable and everyone's formula may be different):

Total Estimated Visitors (the show organisers can give you these)

Divided by the number of customers likely to 
stop & engage with your stall (I used 15% after speaking with tradeshow veterans).

Above figure
Mulitpled by
Typical sales conversion percentage. 
 (I used 4% as it was a targeted audience).

I then multiplied this figure by my estimated average $ per sale
Equals the projected income from show sales.

Having worked this out prior to the show I could easily pinpoint were the figures differed after the event.  It was a real eye opener for me and will help when I attend other shows.

Like a market, the success of the show was not based entirely on show sales.  I gave out hundreds of flyers, recorded many new subscriber names and exposed my brand to a whole new audience.

Demonstrate, Demonstrate & Demonstrate some more!
I jumped at the chance to do a daily stint on the Discovery Desk.  It allowed me some space to concentrate on demonstrating products I thought would interest the attending audience.  It was a small expense for a lot of gain.
I also loved having the opportunity on the stall to show customers how gadgets worked.  So be sure to have some supplies at the ready.

Help required.
You can't do events on your own.  Whether it's friends, family or hired help, they all play a huge part in ensuring that the event is a successful. I know I couldn't have.

And it moments like receiving the Best Small Exhibit award that make all the hard work worthwhile.


Carmel Morris said...

It was great to finally meet you at the show. Your stand was beautiful - no wonder you won that award. I hope to see you at more shows in the future.

CurlyPops said...

Great post thankyou Jody! Your stall looked absolutely beautiful.

sister outlaws said...

Great post!

Jody Pearl said...

Thankyou for taking the time to write this post Jodi - food for thought!

vintagehopper said...

Congrats on the award Jodie! I wish I could be there. If you're ever in a Sydney show, please give us a shout out and I'll be there in a heart beat!! :) Also if you ever planning on doing a "secondary school" version of the course Im in! I loved the basic course!! :)

Rosie said...

Congratulations on your award. Hard work, but it paid off. Small IS good! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Great job on receiving Best Small Exhibit award at the show! Nice to see photos of your lovely stand too!

Maria said...

Congratulations on winning the award Jodie!

MsDriver said...

Congratulations on your award. I wish I lived in Melbourne!

Roz said...

Congratulations on winning the award! Your stall looked beautiful and so inviting - I wish I lived in Melbourne to have seen it in person.
Thank you for taking the time to share your tips and advice too.