Craft Fair Preparation Series- Part 4: Money Matters. The event itself is a fundraiser, but these events are created to support the vendors financially, too. That’s why you’re there! So you might as well be prepared! This week we will discuss money topics from how much change to have in your box to accepting credit cards. Eek, technology!
Let’s be honest. When it comes down to it, your reason for doing a craft fair has something to do with money. Either you are beyond thrilled to raise money for a certain cause or you are desperate to pay rent. For whatever reason, our primary goal in joining a craft fair is to sell our products. So to help us all out, here are some very basic tips on basic money matters. Be sure to read the linked articles. They are very thorough and go into greater detail on some topics than I can’t!
Tip #1- A Simple Formula
You want to make sure you are not only making enough money to cover your expenses (both for your product and for your fair fees) but that you are also properly paying yourself for the time it took you to create your product! A simple formula you can us is calculating the cost of the materials plus the cost of labor. Now, this would actually require you to know your cost of materials and how long it took you, but if you’re like me, you may just need to estimate. As for labor- how much would you want to pay yourself? Seven dollars an hour? Ten dollars an hour?
Once you have those two things figured out (and any other overhead expenses you’d like to factor in) you’re not done yet. That is merely wholesale price. According to an article I received from Etsy once, retail cost is then wholesale cost times TWO OR MORE!!! (insert long, dramatic whistle here)
I was surprised by that. And intimidated. If I were honest, some of my products probably cost me .75 to make. But they take me an hour to make one! Let’s say I pay myself 5.25 an hour. So already, my product costs six dollars. But that’s not quite right… now you double it! I have never priced my products that high, but maybe I should. Regardless, it’s a good formula to give you some perspective on where your prices should be.
Tip #2- Consider Your Audience (again)
Like I said, I’ve never priced my products at pure retail price. And I was once told that my products would never sell at that price in the area where I was participating in craft fairs! While that may not be entirely true, it is a good idea to think through the area in which you are selling and the types of buyers who will be coming by your table.
Tip #3- Be Flexible
When I went to my first craft fair, I didn’t price anything right away. Instead, I did a quick walkthrough and compared my products to other tables similar to mine. How much were they selling their stuff for? I even asked a girl (who ended up becoming a very sweet friend) how much she was pricing things for so I could be comparable. This is not a bad idea. It changes the “competition” game a little and makes the overall craft fair a little more even. I also changed prices during the event. If I saw enough people walk through and turn their nose up at an item that was overpriced, I’d lower the price a smidge when no one was looking (that’s as long as I hadn’t sold a ton at the higher price already, of course). It’s also a good idea to have sales at the end of the event. You can announce a half off sale in the last hour to give a final sales push or you can have a buy-one-get-one special.
Read the links below, though, for a much more thorough overview of pricing your products. You may be surprised!
Tip #1- Bring Change!
How much, of course, will depend on the initial prices of your products. But remember, most people who come to craft fairs bring cash and are looking to break large bills so they can buy more stuff. I would recommend having at least $75-$100 in small bills and change from the very beginning if not a little more. Just remember to factor this amount in when you are doing your books at the end of the event!
Tip #2- Receipts
I recommend purchasing a small receipt book in case people want a handwritten receipt for their purchase. And trust me, some will. You don’t want to be stuck writing a receipt on a bag or a napkin. While you may not use many, this is a lot more professional!
Tip #1- It is Highly Recommended
I know this sounds crazy, but you can potentially lose a lot of sales (especially if you have higher priced items) if you do not have some way to accept credit cards. At my second event, a woman came to our table, loved our stuff, and asked the dreaded question. When we said, “no” she smiled sadly and had to walk away. It was devastating! At the time we had thought we weren’t “Big” enough to take credit cards. Fortunately, that is never the case.
If you have an iphone, android, or tablet, there are two FREE ways to receive credit cards that I know of. One is called Square. The other (that I use) is called Paypal Here. Both systems allow you to sign up for free, both will send you the reader (that can be plugged into your phone, ipad, or tablet) for free, and both charge a small fee (3% or less) only when you use it. They are easy to set up. And I’ve learned that even if you don’t have the reader on you, you can type in credit card numbers or take pictures of credit cards! (it reads them, then only leaves the last four digits visible) All transactions are then linked immediately to your bank account or Paypal account.
Let’s face it. We live in a modern world and while money is getting harder and harder to get, it’s getting easier and easier to spend! If you can, I highly recommend using one of these methods to give your buyers options as they shop. Trust me- you’re not too small!
Here are some links to other great craft fair money tips:
Meet back here next Thursday for our last post! Part 5: Craft Fair Checklist. The BIG DAY is almost here! We will provide a last-minute checklist of what to have with you on the Craft Fair Day so nothing is left behind. Product? Check. Business Cards? Check. Coffee? Check!
Don’t miss our last three posts in this series- Preparing your Product, Advertising and Preparing Your Booth: