Wednesday, March 4

Craft Show Prep via Skype

My sister and I have always loved doing craft shows together. Over the last few years we've each settled into our own crafting-groove (and set up our own etsy shops) but we also moved three hours apart. Which makes coordinating craft shows a little bit trickier. We love to share a booth because it guarantees we will get to be together, plus it means splitting the cost of the booth (less cost = more profit!) but we want to make sure our booth is cohesive and attractive despite having a variety of products from our two shops. Since we live so far apart we usually aren't able to get together ahead of time to work out all of these details, but we've found Skype is a great way to make sure everything is in order!

Between shows we can check-in from time to time to review sales and improve our game plan for next show. We can brainstorm new product ideas and see new things we've been working on. We love being able to bounce ideas off each other, and it's especially helpful to be able to actually see the ideas!

We use Skype to work on our branding as well. Since we have two shops in one booth we want the branding to feel cohesive yet unique. We can compare things like color schemes and labeling to make sure we are on the same page. One of our favorite tricks is using custom rubber stamps. We can use similar packaging supplies (we use identical paper sacks for bagging purchases) but each mark our own with our unique stamp.

That is how we coordinate packaging so our booth doesn't look like a mish-mash. Take her screen print towels and my baby blankets, for example. Both are wrapped in brown paper and tied with string so they fit together in our booth, but they are each branded for our own shops using our stamps.

Skype also allows us to send files back and forth, which is really helpful if we are working on signage for the booth or designing branding items like business cards and product tags. She can proofread my work and I can send her the template I use for my tags (using the same template & paper for tags is another way to keep things cohesive, we just each add our own branding to our tags).

Having our layout and displays planned ahead of time makes a huge difference in how quickly we are able to set up on show day. The shows we've done all seem to have slightly different booth sizes and display rules so we like to review our setup and tweak it ahead of time. We start with a sketch of the space to figure the best layout for the tables and larger displays.

Then we can work on fine-tuning any smaller areas. Setting up a mock table during a Skype call lets us work together to figure out the best use of our display space - which sometimes includes deciding which products to omit if space is too tight.

It also helps us spot any areas that need improvement. We tried my clutches sitting on the table and they looked too sloppy, but Sister suggested a wire basket to keep them contained and tidy. It made a huge difference! The best thing about working on it together is we can help each other out like that. Or like when my sister was having trouble fitting all her towels on the display and I knew I had this huge drying rack in my basement she could use.

Being prepared in advance is crucial in having a successful craft show, and working together face-to-face is our most productive method. Skype is a great way for us to work out all the details from our own homes, on our own time. It helps us make sure everything is coordinated and looking good so we're ready for the big day.

Download the Skype app and find Skype on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

How do you like to prepare for craft shows? I'd love to hear your favorite tips & tricks!

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