I’ve been doing art/craft fairs for some time. Here are some ideas
for you. Remember that your mileage will vary.
It’s boring to make identical multiples, and about the only multiples
I do make are band rings. I coil the patterned wire around a ring
mandrel from top to bottom, draw a straight line down the coil and
cut along the line (much like making jump rings). Not too hard to
bend the ends closed, solder, and round out a bunch. With all those
sizes, I price them all the same and put the bands in a flat box so
that people can paw through and hunt for their size. You probably
know that the likelihood of a sale increases if people can touch and
try things on. I’ve had very little theft, but then I am close by
with a sizing stick to help if needed. These can be your lower price
item. Perhaps 100 or so bands in 3-4 different patterns should be
Earrings are always a good gift - no size to worry about. Hoops are
a classic, so make up several sizes and patterns. Patterned wire
makes this easy. You will tire of making plain hoops, so embellish
with bezel-set cabs or hang some pretty beads. Endless variety; and
people like unique things. Price range will vary here, and that’s
good. You can’t have too many earrings, so aim for 70 pair and if you
make more, great.
Pendants are also a no size item. If you coordinate earrings with
pendants to create sets, you have a “look” to sell. One problem with
pendants is that people will want a chain or something upon which to
hang the piece. As a beginner, don’t struggle with stocking a variety
of chain sizes and length. Provide a pretty ribbon, cord, or other
inexpensive fabric length as a courtesy. You can create some neck
wires from sterling wire, and have them to sell as an addition to the
Packaging can cost you a bundle and is bulky to transport. I’ve been
using “pillow” boxes and like them. They store flat and are easy to
pop into shape and provide protection for your piece. Wrap the
jewelry in some tissue, slip in your business card, and close the
end. Quick. If you want to embellish the outside, you can either use
a paint pen to hand write your name/initials/etc. or use your
computer and printer to create some cool labels - lots of programs to
help you. I use the paint pen thing because people seem to like the
handwritten set of initials.
For those small items, I use those 3’x4’ ziploc bags with my
business card inside. In a pinch, you can buy those small sandwich
recloseable bags at the grocery store - they’re a little bigger too.
o comment on the “biz card hangers” - I’m not familiar with them. I
do make my display cards using a quality, heavy black paper from an
art supply store. If you have larger earring findings, use a hole
punch to accommodate the hinge. I use a silver or gold gel pen to
hand write my logo initials, materials, and price on the front. My
inventory code goes on the back. Read the recent thread on display
cards for a nice variety of other ideas.
Regarding how much change… I have a money clip with 20 one dollar
bills, 8 five dollar bills, and 6 ten dollar bills. I also keep a
back-up clip with the same combination. Now, here’s the “aha” part. I
add in sales tax to my prices, and round up to an even number. There
are signs posted several places noting that sales tax is included in
the prices, and I say it to customers when they are looking around.
I know all the marketing stuff about using $19.99 instead of $20.00,
but you really will appreciate the simplicity. You don’t waste time
figuring the sales tax on top of your price, then making change with
metal coins. You can work out of your apron pocket… no cash
register. It might be a different story if you take credit cards (I
don’t). Write down your sales on a master sheet or sales book which
you keep in your apron pocket. Write out the item number, price paid,
and your signature on the back of your business card for those who
want a receipt. At the end of your show, total up the sales and back
out the sales tax to determine how much you owe the govt. This is
soooooo much easier than making change involving coins.
Best of luck with your first show. You’ll probably get lots of
advice, so use what seems the best for your situation… there is
much to learn!
Judy in Kansas, who is marveling at the most beautiful fall weather
and foliage. No freeze yet, so I can still harvest a few tomatoes.
The apples are marvelous!!