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QotW: What are your organizational steps to prepare for an Arts festival sale?

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No one posted a question of late in the pool, so I thought I would pose one that is close at hand, but not as philosophical as many of our others.

What do you do to get ready for an pot sale in the way of organization and planning before hand?

I have not done shows in many years, but there were some things I did that most of you I am sure you do in some way, but some of the newcomers may not know about.

  • Have everything you can have done, done before the show. This includes washing and cleaning up pots, cleaning bottoms, pricing them, running an inventory,  packing them and labeling the boxes.
  • Check over your booth to make certain there are no repairs to be made, and that all of your pieces and tools to assemble are together. Check out your canopy/tent, to make certain you have the needed side walls, weights, anchors or whatever you will need for securing the booth cover. If the show has evening hours, make certain to have lighting packed to go also.
  • Make certain your change box is loaded with change, your credit card system, and spare batteries or back up as needed. Also make certain your business card box and display cards are packed.
  • Make certain your customer packing materials are ready to go with bags, tissue/newsprint or other materials to pack up a customer purchase. I realize that in the world of smart phones, that paper receipts are not something done. . . or is it, but if you still use them make certain you have backup rolls for your printout method.

 

I am sure that in today's tech savvy world, I have missed something, but then it has been a while.

What would you change, add, or supplement my list with? Above all what would you implement in the way of technology to make the sale? Square? other?

 

 

best,

Pres

 

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Good List, I also make certain I have a:

Paper inventory sheet as a backup, and to see if I have additional inventory at home if I run out of a particular style of pottery, or if price sticker goes missing.

Ant spray, sunscreen, and bug repellant.

Cooler stocked with lots of water and snacks

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Usually trying to get a last load of whatever out so there is the diamond pad/clean up, pricing and packing that and then load the truck. I hate canopy's (makes the cab dark) so just have a stretch bed cover so its like a puzzle packing it. The upside of that is that everything goes in the exact same way for every show so it has become extremely fast and routine.  

Should prob be more organized and make a list. My truck holds my racks in the back seat area and the bed holds the table, tent, chairs, water weights and hand cart plus 8 larger boxes of pottery and one box that has the 'stuff'.

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This is my shtick and some will apply to you and some will not. Hopefully you can take one thing away to add to your way of doing shows.

I seem to work without a list or a safety net, or a very short list. Since I have my cargo van dedicated to shows it’s always got pottery in it. The list for me begins at the last show I did – usually the last  show day I make a list of what’s needed for next show from looking at what sold. The next day I make another list of what that show sold in terms of best sellers and how many spoon rests and sponge holders sold.  It’s a separate key on my cash register.

From the first list I make sure the van has plenty of those items.  I look at the best sellers list of that show for the year before and add in plenty extra to cover those items.

This is a simple system, but has evolved to work well for me as I only do the same shows over and over.

My key to success is to never run out.  Meaning, have lots of back stock. Especially  in the small items

I learned long ago doing one show well is better than 3 crappy shows due to lack of inventory.

It’s a lesson that I have followed in all my pottery outlets as well.  Know what you can output and stick to that well and do not overextend yourself. You will be rewarded for this discipline.

Back to the van - the racks are in it, and due to various setup sizes and locations, whether a double or single booth, I have to add some longer racks or shorter ones.  I keep two canopies in the top space case so I always have those ready as well as a polypropylene rug and my pedestals and sales table stay in van as well. I keep the side panels out and add them depending on booth size for each show.

I add paper rolls also depending on last year’s sales at that show and make sure I have extra.I check that I have my paper roller.

I go through my bag box before every show and add the bag three sizes I use and make sure my other stuff like inverter and charged battery jumper are in van.

Van always has things like stakes and hammer, show umbrellas, and ropes of various sizes. Spare batteries and a light are always in van.

Van also always has my canopy weights and clamps as well as shims.

I always have boxes of stock made and finished at the studio, so I am only making what I’m low on at the studio.  I blend show and outlet needs into production.  I hate last minute making so I have learned to avoid that, and tend to be done packing pottery days before the drive day.

My wife makes items like cooked chicken which is frozen and I take my lunches in an electric refrigerator that fits between the seats in van. I pack a small cooler to take lunch to show each day.

I usually take the electric cooler to hotel room and keep it going as it also has frozen bottles of water to keep it extra cold in warm climates.

My wife also puts together carrots and celery and snacks for me for the show. This is something that makes it a little easier as I do the traveling shows without her. I gas up the van, and get my money pouch ready with change (bills) and checkbook.

The day before I leave, I pack my cloths bag - lots of my shows involve a 5-7 day trip (which includes a three-day or two-day show so I always pack a towel and swimsuit and usually never use them.

I make sure I have my iPad and square for credit card sales and they are charged and my bag box has a charger to get power from jumper battery.

I pack a headlamp and shoes for all weather.

I’m leaving some details out but it’s late.

 

Edited by Mark C.

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Yeah, for this, lists are your friend! Shows can be stressful and exhausting, so as many things you can have done in advance, the better.

At this stage of my game, I have 3 years of doing shows on a regular basis, so I have some things worked out, but I don't have as many dedicated systems as Mark does. As much as I'd love to, I can't leave my minivan loaded at all times because it's needed for kids and groceries, too. 

I start out planning for shows at least 3 months in advance, depending on when the application is. I make a production list for the shows I'll be doing in a given month based on sales from the last time I did it, + 20% of stock items that were good sellers. I cannot say enough about how much I love the reports that Square generates! It is worth it to take the time to set it up as a till and sell things by item, rather than just ringing in a dollar amount and swiping the card. I also record my cash sales in there so I can have exact numbers of what I sold and when.

I have a day planner that I made for my business that has pages set up so I can record some things about the shows I do. I have room to record a few observations, like if people are requesting an item I don't make yet, or if an item is particularly popular or unpopular. (If anyone wants the file to print off a few pages like this, dm me. They're handy.)

Because I'm still honing my product and therefore my methods of displaying it, at the start of the year I'll tweak my display a bit, and set up a booth mock up a week before my first show. I usually only do this once a year now, instead of before each show. Photos are taken, and then stock is packed into bins. Tablecloths are ironed and packed with the table risers and shelves I've decided to use. If I need tissue or bags, I'll head to the supplier and get those, along with a trip to the bank for the float, and a trip to the grocery store for booth food (soup, veggie snacks, nuts, gum).

 Some things for my booth just live in their own boxes. All my cords and lights, for instance, have their own bin. I have a train case that I found at a thrift shop that holds business cards and holders, pens and paper, a reciept book that ive used once, hooks for curtains, zip ties, duct tape, push pins, dressmakers t pins for the tablecloth, a multi tool, filing stone and sandpaper in case I miss a rough edge, square reader, string, Advil, scissors, all required device chargers (iPhone and universal), binder clips, etc etc.  Basically all the little fidgy things I need to set my booth up with. I top up the business cards after each show, but other than that, the kit doesn't need much thought at this point. 

In addition to the usual meal prep and laundry/packing the day before a show, I'll pick out a few photos for social media and try and write captions and pick hashtags in advance, so I can just post in a moment or two instead of thumb typing captions as the show opens. The shows I'll be at for the month get mentioned in the monthly newsletter, as well.

 

I feel like there should be some kind of planner list out there for shows, like they have for weddings.

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For me, inventory packing and gear packing are two different things. I wrote and long and pedantic blog post about my approach to inventory planning, for anyone interested in reading it:

http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/the-real-nitty-gritty

As for gear packing, like Mark I try to unpack as little as possible, so that packing is just to replenish consumable things. 

Things I keep in the minivan: canopy, canopy weights, tables, tabletops, tablecloths, curtain walls, banner, shelving unit, shelves, chair, ladder, wheeled cart, and sometimes the box of track lighting parts 

I have a “large gear box” and a “small gear box.” These come inside with me after a show so they can be restocked.

Things I pack in the large gear box: 15 large bags, 80 medium bags, 60 small bags, plate stands, wood blocks for leveling, small bungie cords, extra tie down straps just in case, silk flowers for the display

Things I pack in the small gear box: receipts, artist cards, artist card holder, calculator, pens, scissors, small logo sign, price markers, small whisk broom, tiny shims for leveling small things, small tape measure, first aid kit, tiny pot of white paint in case my display gets scuffed and needs touching up

When I put these two boxes back in the van, I add a few more rolls of wrapping paper too.

Finally, there’s the messenger bag, which I take with me to and from the booth: iPad, Square chip reader, $100 in small bills, holster for iPad and cash, charging cables, notebook with inventory list, email list signup form, small towel, water and food, lip balm, breath mints, tissues, pepper spray. I keep my purse and car keys in this bag too. 

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5 hours ago, GEP said:

For me, inventory packing and gear packing are two different things. I wrote and long and pedantic blog post about my approach to inventory planning, for anyone interested in reading it:

http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/the-real-nitty-gritty

As for gear packing, like Mark I try to unpack as little as possible, so that packing is just to replenish consumable things. 

Things I keep in the minivan: canopy, canopy weights, tables, tabletops, tablecloths, curtain walls, banner, shelving unit, shelves, chair, ladder, wheeled cart, and sometimes the box of track lighting parts 

I have a “large gear box” and a “small gear box.” These come inside with me after a show so they can be restocked.

Things I pack in the large gear box: 15 large bags, 80 medium bags, 60 small bags, plate stands, wood blocks for leveling, small bungie cords, extra tie down straps just in case, silk flowers for the display

Things I pack in the small gear box: receipts, artist cards, artist card holder, calculator, pens, scissors, small logo sign, price markers, small whisk broom, tiny shims for leveling small things, small tape measure, first aid kit, tiny pot of white paint in case my display gets scuffed and needs touching up

When I put these two boxes back in the van, I add a few more rolls of wrapping paper too.

Finally, there’s the messenger bag, which I take with me to and from the booth: iPad, Square chip reader, $100 in small bills, holster for iPad and cash, charging cables, notebook with inventory list, email list signup form, small towel, water and food, lip balm, breath mints, tissues, pepper spray. I keep my purse and car keys in this bag too. 

Wonderful organization!  I have come close to some of this but the thing I am curious about Mea is the "holster for iPad"    What is that?

R.

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