So you signed up for a show now what do you bring? First - make a check list. Sounds silly - but do it and keep it. And before every show go through the list. Here are some things to consider - some are very obvious - but believe me, there are times when I've forgotten various items and really missed them once at the show.
Not all of these will apply to you, or to every show. But by having a list you can go through it before you leave and decide for yourself what you do/don't need.
So - in no particular order:
- Cash/Change: Go to the bank and get change. You'll a little of every bill (more ones) and at least one roll of each coin. (do you have a cash box/bag?)
- Clipboard. If space is tight you can write the order up and hand the clipboard for the customer to sign if needed, or to write their check out.
- Supplies to take credit card orders (if applicable)
- Pair of small scissors
- Order pads (I get 2-part at Staples - I've gone through 2 books at a show before so bring extras)
- Pens for you and your customers. Put some in pen holder on table with not next to it to show who to make check out to.
- Copy of your tax ID. Many shows will require proof that you are allowed to charge sales tax. I always have mine in my cash box at every show.
- Bags to put sales in.
- Small baggies (I put each necklace/earrings in a small bag prior to putting in large bag. This keeps them from getting tangled) You may box each item or package differently.
- Extra marking materials. Prices fall off etc. Bring tags, ear ring cards etc.
- Tools - always bring at least your basic tools, even if you aren't planning on making jewelry at the show. You'd be surprised how many times something needs a 'tweak'.
- I always take a supply of clip earrings backs and the small plastic earring 'protectors' that you can put on French wires so they don't fall off. I don't normally sell clips, but every show I've had I've converted at least one pair and sold them. The protectors I give out if asked.
- Do you have lights? Bring extra light bulbs.
- TV Tray - I use at least one to sit at to write up orders. This lets me use the entire table for my jewelry and provides me with a little desk to sit at.
- A chair. Chairs are normally provided but they can be horribly uncomfortable. I often bring a padded chair from my card table set. Can make a big difference if you're at your table for 6-10 hours. Yes you will stand up a lot - but I've gotten some 'free' chairs that are almost unsafe.
- Small Wastebasket. This is sometimes provided - if not - very nice to have. I put a plastic bag in it to line it. Then at the end of the show I just pull the bag out and toss it.
- Table coverings. Normally these are provided, but not always so check first. I still bring a sheet to cover my table when the show is closed overnight, or if I set up the day before.
- Business cards. Bring lots. Have them on the table and put one in with every order.
- A SMALL cooler with a couple of drinks and a snack. If you're by yourself you don't always have a chance to go get lunch. Plus this can save a few dollars.
- Small 'first aid' supplies. I have band aids, aspirin, and a small pack of Kleenex in my cart, along with toiletries like a small hairbrush, lipstick etc.
- Mirrors - I have a hand mirror on each end of the table.
- Supplies to make jewelry at your table. I almost always bring something to make while I sit. Sometimes I bring a LOT. I have some shows where the women are in workshops for an hour at a time, so the vendors have a lot of down time. I almost always make jewelry during this time. This does require more things to bring and more organization. Can't believe how many times I've brought everything to make earrings, then forgot the head pins or ONE item essential to completing my piece. You may want an extra list just for this.
So how to you get all of this there and keep it organized? Easy! I buy the rolling drawer storage units at Staples. I get one with 5 smaller drawers and one larger drawer at bottom and another with 6 small drawers.
I can fit all of my selling supplies in one and use the other to bring jewelry making supplies.
The key - they have WHEELS! Load them up then just roll them in. Another benefit - they almost always will fit under your table. You can store them under the table with the drawers pointing toward you so you just open a drawer and get what you need. If you have room to sit behind the table (or next to it), you can use the top of the units as a table for making your jewelry.
I can unload and push two of these at once, making it supper easy to get ready for my shows.
The big items I put in the square rolling boxes that are collapsable and have handles. I usually have one or two large rubermaid boxes with display items that I can set on top of these to help roll everything in. I rarely have more than 4 trips to my car - usually 3.
I'm sure I've forgotten something and will add to the list as I remember. Hope this helps you prepare for your shows. Please feel free to comment.