What else do I need for my first show?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Sweating for Bucks Through Woodworking forum

Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 04-08-2011 12:36 PM 1470 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View yellowtruck75's profile


464 posts in 2484 days

04-08-2011 12:36 PM

I have my first craft show in 3 weeks and I wanted to run by my prep list and see if I am missing anything. I will be showing several Maloof rockers and chairs and be taking orders (nothing sold at show).

Supplies that I have:

3 rocking chairs and 1 low back dining chair
10’x10’ canopy
Canopy sidewalls
6’ folding table
Business cards
Company shirts
Ground cover (rugs to place chairs on)
Fliers with pricing and ordering & deposit information
Sample wood for chairs

What else should I have on hand to have a successful show?

I also turn wine bottle stops and I was thinking about having ~ 50 at the show to sell so that I can make a little cash that day. Would it look odd if I am displaying large furntiure and have a table of small items for sale?

Now all I have to do is figure out how to price my Rocking Chairs.

9 replies so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2725 days

#1 posted 04-08-2011 04:46 PM

I am also doing my first show at the ens of this month and have been putting my list together for what is needed. Good Luck with your show.
Some thoughts….
My wife and I always go to view craft shows and during one it was quite a windy day….
...Important to have weights to keep your tent from blowing away.
...Do you have a device to accept credit cards at the show?
...receipt book with carbon copies
...A banner to display your company name at the entrance to your tent.
...bring some change if you accept cash
...paper bags if you are selling small stuff

View Servelan's profile


39 posts in 2198 days

#2 posted 04-08-2011 04:53 PM

When I’m at a show (I make and sell dollhouse miniatures and also run a show), I have a variety of things for sale because people aren’t always looking for the larger, more expensive items. Sometimes little sales are all I do, but they add up. Wine bottle tops would be fine, IMHO, because they are representative of your craftsmanship.

I’d also suggest signs that indicate that the furniture can or cannot be sat upon, information on whether you do custom work, and if you haven’t already, normal availability of different options, such as whether you make furniture X in only one finish/material, or usually have some of two different materials available.

Some things I have on hand that you might or might not have thought of: sales receipt books already filled out with either stamped or neatly written business name and contact info plus the date of the show, sales tax chart if applicable plus plastic sleeve for tax chart, water/food for yourself and any helpers (something you can eat neatly and quickly is good until you can do a regular sit-down meal), pencils/pens and notebook, something to draw the eye into your booth (bright afghans draped over furniture, something hanging on the back and/or side walls), a bowl of candy – some folks say you should and some say you shouldn’t, but it gets people to come over to your booth, a calculator, something that says what payment methods you accept, a photo book or other means of showing other designs you’ve done, if needed, fire retardant spray/certificate re: flammability of table cover, in case of emergency – phone numbers of family members, and a notebook for people to sign up to be on your mailing list. Oh – extension cords if you have any lighting.

You might also want to set up your table for display first at home to see how things look and see how long it takes to set it up how you want or whether it needs any color or whatever.

View yellowtruck75's profile


464 posts in 2484 days

#3 posted 04-08-2011 06:25 PM

I forgot to mention that I have a 2’ x 6’ banner for the back of the booth with my company name, loaction (town and state) and two pictures of my chairs. I planned to get a receipt book for any deposits on chairs and small item sales. Getting small paper bags for the bottle stops is a good idea. Anyone ever do custom bags for your product?

View Puzzleman's profile


409 posts in 2361 days

#4 posted 04-08-2011 06:34 PM

As far as bags go I just use the generic plastic bags from Sams. The physical things listed above are definitely what I bring to my shows.

Have you practiced selling your product to someone?? Learning how to interact and sell to people is not something you can do on the fly. I have seen many people fail because they didn’t know how to approach people and sell to them. A suggestion would be to have a sign saying something like ” Free Sample Rocks; Limit of 2 rocks per person” or something else that will cause people to stop and look. You have less than 10 seconds for someone to walk by your booth, so you need to do something to get them to pause for a few more seconds. One thing I do to make people look is to greet everybody or as many as I can walking by by asking how their day is or something along those lines. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But it doesn’t cost me anything to do when I am not busy with another customer.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View MrsN's profile


975 posts in 2943 days

#5 posted 04-08-2011 07:43 PM

I really recomend setting up the booth before you go. It will give you practice getting the canopy set up and reduce last minute set up changes or “ugly” spots.

-- ----- ----- --

View DrDirt's profile


4133 posts in 3159 days

#6 posted 04-08-2011 08:12 PM

Check out the blog by closetguy…he has covered the ins and outs of shows. A really great resource

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View MrsN's profile


975 posts in 2943 days

#7 posted 04-08-2011 08:25 PM

Also, I made custom bags for my stuff. I got paper lunch bags and stamped them. I found a leaf stamp and a thank you stamp, they looked pretty good. I was going to get a logo stamp for the bag, but I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do shows and didn’t want to put the extra cash into it at the time.

-- ----- ----- --

View Wood_smith's profile


252 posts in 2442 days

#8 posted 04-09-2011 05:52 PM

Someone mentioned a notebook. Good idea. Write down EVERYTHING when someone is asking questions, or making suggestions (what products can you make [not ones you already make], this is a great place to get ideas for new products, improvements to existing products, etc.).
I found myself going back to my notes over and over again, sometimes saying ‘wow! I don’t remember even writing that down’. If you’re really busy, it’s amazing what a few words scribbled in that book will do to jog your memory once you’re home after the show.
Good luck!

-- Lloyd Kerry; creator of the Kerry-All Pouch,

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 2702 days

#9 posted 04-10-2011 04:23 PM

Puzzleman gave you some really good advice. He knows how to market and sell his product. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but hope this advise will help not only you, but others that may be doing a show for the first time or trying to sell their woodworking for the first time. Your last comment on your original post concerns me. I also saw on another post you commented on the same subject; what should I sell my chairs for? It sounds like you are really trying to be professional with your display. Sign, business cards, company shirts,ground cover and everything else. I’ve looked at your project page and your Maloof style chairs are really nice. You commented on another forum that you have 6 – 8 weeks (working nights and week-ends) in each chair. This is a delimma for so many woodworkers that are doing this as a hobby or part-time on week-ends. It really doesn’t matter, once you decide to sell one of your pieces, you are in business… you need to treat it like a business. You need to know at least what the true material cost is in each chair and how many actual hours you have in each one. I liked puzzleman’s suggestion of role playing on selling one of your chairs. You don’t have to answer here on the forum, but I want to ask a couple questions maybe this will help you look at your pricing. I’m a prospective customer that just walked into your booth and I’m looking over your rocking chairs. Probably one of the first questions I would ask is; what kind of wood is this? Do you have it in other woods? Oh, I have to order one, how long will that take? All the furniture in my Den is walnut, how much would one of these chairs be in walnut and what kind of finish do you put on them? I live in South Carolina, I’m just here visiting. How much would it cost to ship one to South Carolina? Do I have to pay sales tax if you ship it to South Carolina? Do you take Master Card or Visa? How long have you been in business? People will be expecting you to answer these question and plenty more. Do you have a store where I can stop at? Do you have a web-site? (never list a web-site if it’s not up and running). Don’t use the excuse that it doesn’t matter what you sell your work for because it’s just a little something extra. It’s a serious business when you sell your woodworking. Having a business license, collecting sales tax, paying for your booth, business cards, company shirts, tent,signs and all your time invested in setting up and selling your work. So just the material cost of making one of your chairs is not enough to base your pricing on. Go out there and enjoy yourself, be proud of your work and don’t be afraid to ask a fair price for your work. Giving it away doesn’t really help anyone, just gives the wrong image of your work. Good luck and I hope you sell a ton of chairs! I’m sure a customer would be proud to own one.

-- John @

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics