February 22, 2010

Preparing for Spring


Do you have the winter blues? After coming out of a busy holiday season, how does a vendor get motivated at a time when people really don't need anything, and have no money or interest to buy. My answer is to try to stay optimistic and plan for the spring. Remember, those who look and don't buy, very well could be your future customers.

Plant your bulbs for the spring! It will get better. There are so many things to accomplish during this period. Make it easier on yourself and do these things now!

I have put together some tasks I want to complete now to get ready. Hopefully my list will help you.

  1. Show schedule:
    Do you sell at craft shows and street fairs? If so, you must prepare now. Here are a few tips:

    1. Look at the applications you have received. Divide them into shows you have participated in and those you have not. Now, for the ones you have, get out your numbers from last year and see just how much money you made. Determine if it is worth doing again. Maybe you share that space this year. Remember to consider what the weather conditions were that day when deciding for this year.

      For the shows you did not do, talk to others who may have participated. If you are a member of an Etsy street team or a similar organization, contact your fellow members and ask them about their experience. Don't do a show without doing the research! I have had some very bad luck in the past.

    2. Get yourself a calender just for your show information. I find it very helpful for scheduling and keeping track of my numbers at a glance. After each sale I record sales and expenses.


  2. Show Set-Up:

    1. Think about what you will need for the outdoor set-up. Is your tent still in good condition? Did you have the proper weights for those windy days? For a quick cheap solution, go to a home improvement store and buy sand and those white paint buckets. Add some rope to attach to the tent and your new weights will work like a charm.
    2. What is your table situation? Do you need a better table? Fabric for your table is very important. Very possibly it needs to be washed or replaced.
    3. Transportation: This is especially important if you don't have a car. Some car services can be much more expensive than others. Compare prices now. If you rent a car, also compare rates and rent early.

  3. Graphics:
    There so often are things we need and want. Take the time now to prepare them. I made a brief check list:

    1. logo
    2. business cards
    3. postcards
    4. brochures
    5. product cards
    6. signage
    7. banner

  4. Photos:
    Get good photos of your work. So often we don't have them when we need them. Make sure to document all of your work. Also don't underestimate how important it is to organize the photo files on your computer.


  5. Inventory:
    Sometimes when it is not busy, it is hard to imagine that you will run out of items. But you will! Stock up now. There are two areas you need to inventory. First, your supplies and second your finished products. Even though it may be difficult to lay out the money now, in the long run it is usually better. Now your purchases won't be rushed and you can shop around for better pricing.

  6. Web:
    1. Update your website and Etsy shop. Make sure your new show schedule is on there. You don't have to post all your pictures now, but get them ready to post regularly.
    2. Set up and maintain your social media sites like Facebook, and Twitter.
    3. If you don't have one already, consider a professional newsletter service, for example Constant Contact.
    4. Make sure your mailing list is up to date.

  7. Learn New Skills:
    Take the opportunity during this down time to learn something new. Maybe a new technique to apply to your work or a computer skill to help you with your business. Also, attend some seminars. There are plenty of free and inexpensive small business seminars out there!

I'm starting to feel like I'm actually busier at this time than when it is the busy selling season. Remember, stay positive and productive. Spring is just around the corner.


-Joan
www.citybitz.etsy.com

(photo by JT Stitches)

3 comments:

Simone said...

Great advice. I especially like your points about keeping a separate show calendar and recording the costs on it.

Karina said...

Great post! Very helpful to think about in these slow winter months.

www.cajajewelry.etsy.com said...

this is great advice! my brain was trying to wrap around what i need to be doing.