Customized or personalized products are one of the benefits of selling handmade. It doesn’t work for everyone but selling products that shoppers can put their own touch on is something that’s hard to come by with big companies.
If you sell customized products that take longer than a few seconds to customize, you may be wondering how you’d ever make it work at a craft fair. Not to worry! I’m here to help.
Below are several ideas to get your wheels turning and decide if you can make craft fairs work for you.
An important aspect of craft fairs is to let your existing customers and fans know to come visit you. During your promotion of the event, let your fans know, and even the event organizer, that you’ll be accepting customized orders from ___date to ___ date. The organizer of the craft fair may help spread the word by mentioning your pre-event order opening on their social media pages.
The days before a craft fair are hectic enough so be sure you set a time limit otherwise you may end up with orders you can’t fill. Placing their orders now and picking them up at the event allows them to save on shipping, check out more of your work as well as some other local vendors.
If you wanted to ramp pre-orders up a little more, offer a slight discount to those who order within your time frame and pick up at the craft fair.
Tips to cover your butt:
Another great way to create some hype around the event is to offer customized, made-on-the-spot orders at the event…but only for a limited time. Perhaps custom orders could be:
Tip to cover your butt: Be sure to add a small disclaimer that creation times may vary. If each item takes you 5 minutes to personalize and you’re accepting a maximum of 10 orders, you may want to state that depending on order volume, completion times may take anywhere from 5 – 50 minutes.
Customizing your products at the event can help create some interest among the shoppers. An artist in action always draws attention as people want to see what you’re making and how you make it.
If you have a helper or your products are quick to personalize, you may be able to whip up custom orders while people shop. If not, you could offer later in the day, or next day pick up if it’s near the beginning or middle of the event. It’s an option that won’t work for everyone but if a shopper is planning to come back tomorrow or lives close by, they may not mind coming to visit you hours later to pick up their customized product.
Tip to cover your butt:
If you want to keep your customized sales up, you can allow shoppers to place their orders at the event and have them shipped. It’s a really good idea to cover shipping costs, as that’s one of the perks of shopping at craft fairs as opposed to online; no shipping charges. It can eat into your profits a bit but hopefully you get enough orders to make up for it.
Tip to cover your butt: Ensure that you take payments on the spot and make a clear ‘no refunds’ policy. As mentioned earlier, you don’t want to be making customized items that people change their minds on later and you can’t re-sell.
You can’t predict how many orders you’ll get or how busy the event will be. If you don’t want to commit to one or the other (made on the spot or shipped out after) or putting a specific amount you’ll accept, announce that you’ll be offering on-the-spot customized products on an order-to-order basis. If it’s busy, have customers fill out a shipping form. If it’s slow, take on more made-on-the-spot orders.
Although your business may operate entirely around customized products, I would encourage you to brainstorm some other products you can offer that fit with your brand but don’t require your customization.
If you’re a little stuck on what to offer, download the free chapter: MAKING PRODUCTS THAT PROFIT found on this page. It’s important to give your shoppers different price points to shop from so they not only see the value in your main meat-and-potatoes items, but they also buy more often, buy more with each purchase (instead of customers buying one item, they buy 2 or more) and you attract more new customers by giving them an entry level product to purchase.
You could create an entirely new product line (without customization options) or you may offer customizable products as is (as long as the product looks good with or without customization). If a customer wants to add a personalized touched to the product, you can charge them an additional fee, otherwise they can wear or use the product as is.
For information on how to display your customized products at a craft show, examples, creating zones and step-by-step instructions, please download MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS – CREATING A POWERFUL DISPLAY, which includes a section titled: Displays for Customized Products
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