Supplies Needed for a Show
by Mary Harvey
Now that you have been accepted into an art or craft show, you will need some supplies in order to make your show a success. Below is the check list that I use for my indoor shows:
- Tables and table covers - you can have nice table covers made, but I use tablecloths that I bought at Wal-mart. As for tables, you can use just about anything from card tables, to folding camping tables, to sawhorses and plywood. Some shows supply tables, so be sure to ask.
- A hand cart or some sort of wheeled cart to haul your stuff in to the show. Makes life a lot easier by not having to carry everything. I made mine from a big piece of plywood, a piece of rope and 4 - 5” dolly wheels.
- A chair or two - it’s nice to have a place to sit, those days get awfully long. A nice director’s chair with your name or logo embroidered on it makes a great advertising statement.
- A cash box and change - some people use a fanny-pack instead of a cash box, but whatever you use, DON’T leave it unattended. Bringing about $100 in change is usually enough for a smaller show, but if it’s larger show, you may need to bring more.
- Receipt book and credit card charge slips - If you don’t take credit cards, you are really limiting your sales. Many people will buy a more expensive piece of jewelry if they can charge it.
- Jewelry displays - these can be as simple as individual jewelry boxes, all the way up to glass or acrylic cases.
- Lighting, extension cords and power strips - this is extremely important for jewelry. Lighting at indoor shows is usually pretty bad, and bad lighting makes jewelry look “dead”. Get some desk lamps (halogen or fluorescent) to light up your booth. Your sales will increase because your jewelry will stand out
- Duct tape - handy for all sorts of things from hanging your banner, to taping down extension cords (which you should do for safety reasons).
- Packaging - jewelry boxes, pouches, bags, etc.
- Business cards - this is one of the most important things that you will bring with you. Have your business cards out where people can take them. Have your phone number and web site address on them. It will make you look much more professional. For affordable business cards, try Vista Print
- A banner or sign with your business name on it
- A cooler with food and drinks - Sometimes, shows don’t sell food, or if you are working alone, you can’t always get away to get something. Having a snack available really helps
- Jewelry and Tools - DON’T FORGET THESE. If you do, you won’t have a very good show. If you make jewelry at the shows, make sure to bring your tools, ring sizers, mandrels, stones, or anything else you might need to create jewelry on the spot
- Some help - It is possible to do a show by yourself, but it’s much easier if you have a friend or relative to help you run the booth. It’s hard to keep an eye on your booth and sell jewelry at the same time, or make jewelry and talk to customers. And it’s nice to have someone to watch your booth when nature calls.....
If your show is outdoors, you may want to add the following:
- An EZ Up or another type of canopy with side walls - extremely important for keeping the sun off on those hot days. Don’t forget a hammer and some stakes or weights to tie your canopy down in case of wind. This is extremely important - I’ve seen tents picked up and dropped on a neighbors booth, causing a lot of damage, which could have been avoided with the use of weights.
- A big marine battery and power inverter or small generator to run your lights - just because you are outside, there are still shadows. Having lights will chase the shadows away and provide more even lighting. I have found that fluorescent lighting will last a lot longer running on battery power than halogens.
- Tarps or big plastic bags to cover your tables and jewelry, and a raincoat - you don’t want to get caught in the rain. I know from experience.
- Rubber boots or extra shoes and socks - If your show is on grass, rubber boots are great in the morning when the grass is wet. It’s not fun to stand around in wet shoes all day.
- Sunscreen and bug spray - no explanation needed
- A cooler with cold drinks and ice - especially important on hot , humid days.
- A fan - on a really hot day, it can get very, very hot inside a canopy with side walls. A fan will keep you cool and keep air moving around your booth. A spray bottle full of water is also an effective way to keep cool on really hot days.
- A weather radio or cell phone that can give you text message alerts or weather radar - Also from experience - one year at an outdoor show, there were storm clouds passing by off and on all day. Then at about 1 PM, a severe storm came through without warning, and spawned a tornado just after it passed us. If the show management would have warned us, we could have packed up and gotten out of there. Luckily, there was no damage and no one got hurt, but I will never do another outdoor show without having some type of storm alert system.
This is just a start. I’m sure that when you start to do shows, you will find other things that you will need to make your show a success.
Good Luck and have fun with the wonderful world of craft shows!
In the next issue, we will look into some alternatives to craft shows.