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Huge shows - who does 'em


Tess
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Just wondering how many folk do the big shows. I have my 2nd one coming up. Booth fees are 500+ (10x15). Anyway just wondering what is considered a good show. Last time I did 6X. I hope to do more this time. I also need some help finding the extendable pipe and drape sets. The one they rent out at the show is expandable up to 10x20 and goes up to 12 ft high.

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I do 4 huge shows a year, 3 of them are over 200,000 people, love them, a lot of work getting ready for them but I am pumped once we are set up. They average $200 a booth and we gross a little over 14x our booth fee. Two of the shows are 2 days, 2 of them are 2 1/2 days. Three of the shows are 15 minutes from my home so we don't have any lodging expenses and we can restock product from our shop if need be. One of them is about an hour away, we have relatives that live within 15 minutes of the show and we stay with them, the only bummer is we cannot get to our shop to restock so we take a ton of stuff but we do great at that show so worth the headache.

HTH

Elle

Edited to add: 6x your booth fee is great since your booth fee is so high, it is in the ballpark of what we do with a smaller fee

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Hubby and I do about 5 large shows a year....with medium sized shows sprinkled in between. The large shows are at least $400 for a 10 by 10 space and some are even more (YIKES!!), but they are worth it. I have been busy testing out new oils to change up the line a little bit. Been deleting and adding scents to the line since November. I love the large shows..... Since we have been doing shows for 6 years now, we have people come and look for us, which is an awesome feeling. I have just been juried into two more shows for this fall (that are relatively large as well). Exciting things are happening.....

Good luck to you Tess at your show. BTW....sounds like you are doing good for yourself....YOU GO GIRL!!!

Also....as a side note....we really enjoy the small hometown shows at the churches and in small established historic towns that have festivals every year. What a fun hobby!! :D

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Thanks ya'll!! Awesome input! Denise, I also do the smaller shows around here, that is how I got started. I started the big shows here because, well I am pretty competitive, and at these smaller shows I really only have 1 major competitor, well since she did this big show I figured I could too, (especially since it is on my turf (same city that I live in).

You are right this is such fun. I am like elle, it is hard getting ready for them, but I was so pumped while doing them. Kinda like a new high. I felt like I did my very first market day lol.

Thanks also for the input on sales quotas. I dont really want to go ask my competitor how much is a good show, (espeically since I totoally smoked her last time :lipsrseal )

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This is an interesting thread :) I have been thinking about doing the larger shows myself, but I am very nervous!!! :tiptoe:

Also, I have been unsure on how much stock to bring....when you guys do these large shows, how do you decide what and how much to bring? It seems to do that much money, you must have a lot of stock! Whew! I wouldn't even know where to start when it came to deciding how many items of a certain scent to stock, lol

Any advice for a (maybe) first time newbie? :bow:

Katie

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Hey Smiley,

I usually bring about 700 candles with me to a show. I generally have at least 100 scents to choose from and I arrange them in sections. The first section is florals/fresh...the second section is fruity and the third section is baked goods and the fourth section is earthy. When they approach the table I ask them what they like....fruity, earthy, floral etc...and then I go from there. It's fun to hook them by saying "it doesn't cost anything to smell" and then five minutes later they can't decide what five candles to buy because they only have $50 left to spend :grin2: I put a business card in their bag with their reciept and have them sign my mailing list for "specials" and I do mailers to let them know where my next shows are and what the specials are for the month.

When I first started the big shows, I walked into it the first day knowing I was already in the hole by $500. My expectations were to hopefully make up that money at least and to find new customers that would return to buy again at a later date. It seems that when you expect nothing and hope for everything it's a much more peaceful experience.

I found that the Sugarloaf festivals were the most intimidating with so many chandlers and an easy $850 for a weekend spot at the show. Sugarloaf is a HUGE SHOW!!!

I found it worth it to take the plunge. I can honestly say I have never done a show that I walked away "eating" the fee for the space. Always at least sold that much and then some.

Think of it as a marketing expense. You are personally out there selling your awesome product and people get to see you face to face. The larger shows just helped to propel my business into the next level.

Good luck!!

-Denise

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I always wondered though.....do you guys up your prices for the big shows? Let's say you usually sell candles for $7 each....do you make them $10 or something? I read a few things at other places that gave me the impression that you can't sell too cheap at these things, that people expect to pay more. The whole thing about people thinking that "you get what you pay for...blah, blah, blah..." Is that true? Or is it that no matter where you go to sell you sell everything for the same price?

I have set up at a lot of smaller markets, and one thing I noticed is that most people are looking for a bargain, they don't want to pay retail. But I would imagine that people that attend the large craft shows do not have that same mentality. How do you deal with those situations?

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The way I figured out how much to cring was this:

Say a market day that I go to brings in 500 customers.

Well I called the big show and asked how much they get and they said 15000

So I knew to increase my "normal" stock by 30X. Doing that calculation helped out tremendously, and was fairly close. So If I normaly sell 1 jar of something I would know to bring 30 of the to the big show.

As for prices, I kept mine the same as anywhere else since I already make a large profit margin. My "competitor" that I mentioned above actually raised her prices and when she saw me there she had to bring her prices down (which was a violaton of the show rules) to match mine. I say unless you need that extra profit margin, keep them the same. Because big show or small, rich or poor, people are ALWAYS looking for a bargain ;) . (Especially if you are a newbie there, and they are trying out your stuff for the first time.)

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I keep most of my products the same prices but I run specials, for example 4 bars of soap $20 or 3 lotion bars $15.00. My #1 seller at shows are my lotion bars because they are unique and we market the hell out of them. Every person is handed one to try.

The way I learned how much to bring was by experience and it helped that my 1st big show was local so if I got low we were able to restock fairly easy and quickly. I used my 1st big show as a starting point for other shows on how much to bring

I consider shows advertising but with a big benefit, I make $$$ while advertising my business.

Shows are also what drives a lot of repeat business to my website, it really helped increase our sales.

elle

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well now where is the starting point to even find one of these shows? You've got me all interested darn it all!

My advice here is to start at small shows and ask around. Other vendors will tell you what other shows they go to, and which ones rake in the cash! Stick to asking vendors who make hand-crafted items. ;)

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Thanks for starting this post Tess! There are a few bigger shows around here that I don't do and now I am really reconsidering! There are at least 4 of them and I think I may give them a try this year and see how I do! ;)

I am so glad this is helpful to more than just me! I am still new to the big show thing so I am still intimidated.

You should really give it a go. I know your stuff looks really nice, and you would do well! Get that website totally done before doing a show like this though. Almost every single person who has called to re-order has browsed my site. OH and start saving some $$$$ I have like .50 in my bank account right now lol!! I still have to buy new tables, and small stuff like that. OHHHH and get yourself a merchant account, you will be glad you did. PM me if you need a good one!;)

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Haha! You are too funny! The first one I am going to do is in September so I am working on the saving the $$ thing. I'm gonna do a few small shows between now and then to help with that. I just bought all new tables so I'm good to go on those! I am gonna invest in the walls for my EZ up though because they are priceless IMO! The website is 95% done, just have to add my milk bath this weekend. Do you use a cash register? I am seriously thinking of investing in one. Right now I don't accept credit cards so the merchant account is another one of my need to dos! You definately arent the only one contemplating this topic!! ;)

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Haha! You are too funny! The first one I am going to do is in September so I am working on the saving the $$ thing. I'm gonna do a few small shows between now and then to help with that. I just bought all new tables so I'm good to go on those! I am gonna invest in the walls for my EZ up though because they are priceless IMO! The website is 95% done, just have to add my milk bath this weekend. Do you use a cash register? I am seriously thinking of investing in one. Right now I don't accept credit cards so the merchant account is another one of my need to dos! You definately arent the only one contemplating this topic!! ;)

YOU ABSOLUTELY need a register! I have one that has PLU's and everything (it was an investment :tiptoe: ) But I love it!!

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Tess the one I am thinking of getting is at Sam's and has a scanner for bar codes. You can hook it up to your computer and it downloads everything into Quickbooks!! Its like $300 though :confused: but I think it would definately be worth it. I'm sure it makes things faster esp. when dealing with big crowds!!

Would it be the Sharp XE-A402? IF you can afford it GET IT!! IT is so worth it, and if you expand to a shop or something you will not need another one. THE ONLY down point is it is big and heavy, (especially when it is full of money lol)

Sharp also has excellent customer service, and you can call me if you need help cuz I am figuring the programming out now lol.

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