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Onsite Bookkeeping Ideas?

receipts festival sales show sales record keeping keeping track of sales inventory tracking

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#1 Marian65

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:14 PM

Since I'm new to shows and festivals, I'm looking for suggestions that will help me to keep track of my sales at the event.  I keep a small receipt book with pens and cash for change in a fanny pack.  Then I have to drag a tub out from under the skirting of my table so I can get at wrapping materials and bags and then try to balance everything and write a receipt and smile and make nice.  Guess it's just second nature for some of you, but I haven't 'got' it yet, how to do all that with some degree of grace and efficiency.  I sometimes think I look like one of those country yard ornaments that's a piece of plywood cut out to look like an old woman bent over at the waist, working in the flowers, except that with me I'm searching through a bin, rummaging for all the stuff I need right then.  There isn't enough space on the table tops where the pottery is and there isn't enough floor space to take a dedicated small table to work from.  Ten by ten or 8 x 10 seems very inadequate, so I just need to get better equipped to deal with it.  Any advice you have will be happily considered.

 

My next event is 20-21 June, indoors, all crafters, a few potters, and I'd like to seem a bit more professional.



#2 Pres

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:58 PM

An easy option is to put a tag on pieces that includes the type of piece, the sales price, and any other pertinent info(color, size, shape etc-even a pic). When making the sale, keep the tag in a box for inventory later. Preparation for most shows is very important, and the time put into prep can mean a huge difference in the stress level at the show.


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#3 Mark C.

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 02:43 PM

Heres my set up

This photo was taken during setup at Nevada show.

This booth was 10x 15

My table is small and tall under it is a box (apple box)with 3 sizes of bags

The table is special made with a drawer-for reciepts loose ends etc

On the table is a cash register enclosed with wood box that the visa or smart phone  clip board for signing reciepts sits on.

The roll of paper is standing vertical and you spin off what you need 

The other 1/2 of table is where folks set thier pottery.

You can sell a ton of work with this set up

I never hunt for bags or paper its all right there

yes its not pretty but it works well and thats what counts

The second shot is when I have a double booth  10x20 (Anacortes) and I have a dedicated wrapper same setup just one more chair.

this setup works just as well in a 10x 10

Get organized with table that works in yoiur space-thats the key point-do not cover access to wrapping materials

Mark

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#4 CarlCravens

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 02:56 PM

Mark, what I like about your booth...

 

No table *between* you and the customer.  Artists who barricade themselves in seem unapproachable.

 

Work up at eye level... not all of it is (too much for that) but looking down on a table full of pots doesn't show them off well.  Your display gives me a *lot* to look at.

 

You have a "space" that people are invited into... and if I'm reading it right, it's not "boxed in".  I can walk *through* and am not trapped.  (Not that I want to get away from pushy sales people, but that I've realized I don't walk into "closed" spaces nearly as readily as "open" ones.  And if it's crowded, having to wait for people to come out before I can go in creates a flow problem.)

 

Thanks for sharing.


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#5 GEP

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 04:00 PM

I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint Carl, but I always sit behind a table. My chair is a tall barstool height, and the table is only two feet wide, so I feel like I can easily interact with people from there. I doubt anyone would say I was unapproachable. From my perspective, when spending long days in a crowded place and with all the public interaction that needs to happen, I feel so much more comfortable when there is a clear boundary between "my space" and "public space." Also, from where I sit I don't ever block people from viewing pots, and more people can fit in the designated public area.

As it relates to Marian's question, the other benefit of having a "behind the counter" space is I can keep my bags and wrapping paper right next to me on the ground. I can easily reach them, but nobody else can see them so it does not make any visual clutter. Like Mark I have a bin that holds 3 different bag sizes, and a roll of wrapping paper standing vertically. When I'm not sitting in my chair, it acts as a small table for me to load the wrapped pots into their bag.
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#6 Marian65

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 04:29 PM

Nice set-up, Mark.  I'm five feet tall and not very strong, so you men have a distinct and wonderful advantage of choices.  I have two 3 x 6 plywood surfaces that I put onto four plastic sawhorses.  I can lift each individual component easily enough.  My husband cut oval hand holds in the exact centers of the plywood so that I can carry them around.  I have a bit of a struggle getting them lifted without putting the edges onto the ground, but sometimes that's necessary and I'm just careful not to drag them in the dirt.  My design for that systems gives me a lot of surface, it's portable enough that I can set it up by myself if I need to, and I arrange an L shape. I have an old plant stand for a shelf unit and I have two 12" x 6' shelves to place on glass blocks for more shelves on the other table (not in the attached picture).  By placing the L along two edges of my canopy when outdoors or against a wall when indoors, people can wander in and look without feeling trapped.  I usually sit at the side, but I don't stay seated when there are people looking.  I greet them and then move out of the way and try not to make them feel watched, but I like to engage people in conversation about the pottery and sometimes we have a five to ten minute party.  That's as much fun for me as making a sale, because I meet some wonderful folks and get to encourage them in their own creative paths. 

 

Back to the question at hand, when I was outdoors this weekend I wasn't very organized as far as packaging was concerned.  Indoors for the next one, so I'll take some of the forum's suggestions to heart and come up with something that may work well for me.  Even a Sterlite container with rollers might be a temporary solution.  I could attach hooks around the top rim to hang shopping bags and put tissue and bubble wrap and tape, etc., into the drawers.  It would be great actually to have to wrap a big piece! 

 

I have my business card information one on side of my tags and put a brief description and the price on the other side in pencil.  My thinking was that since most people ask for cards, I could do two things at once and save myself some printing expense.  Every buyer gets one of the unusual cards and I have the traditional rectangular ones in holders for non-buyers.  I could stick an attachment to the tags that I could detach that might work for Pres's suggestion and I'll consider a redesign for after I run out of my cards on hand and have to order more. 

 

A friend who used to do craft shows, not pottery, suggested that I clip the corners of my business cards so that they'd be obvious in a stack.  She did that and had nice feedback that it worked well.  She used pinking shears.  Just a straight clip or a little squiggly clip with some scrapbooking scissor would work.  I once ran a line of color along the top edge of some cards.  Not very noticeable individually, but with others they stand out.

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#7 Mark C.

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 05:16 PM

The thing about my booths is I'm always flexible in setups as my shows usually are different

a few 10x20s a 10x15 a few 10x10 and some that change each year not know until setup morning

So I can flex with this

I usually have corners and always like a walk thru design with a corner

The 1st two photos are Anacortes a 10x20 that has drawn on both sides so they setup is unique for this show only

thats why I have so much sales area room

The other are just a few different layouts from the years. I always plan on where I can fit my sales table and build around that.

My booth sections are 6 feet some at 5 feet a few 4 feet and I have a 3 foot and two foot as well so I can do whats needed

Some shows I use a canopy or two some no canopy at all (pots look best in sun)

In Boulder city I never use a canopy and never wrap booth I just walk away-yes leave it all out in a park for a few nights

At my local shows I never use a canopy unless its raining

as to men have an advantage I have never thought this to be true women are always better sales persons and men and men are thick headed (me included)

as to heavy lifting yes but most other things I do not feel its true

one think to keep in mind this has been my full time career since 1976 so this booth is version 735 

And works like a well oiled machine.

The trouble with your layout is you have no spot to be in. 

This has been an age old problem and we each have a different take on it.

I am always right there to deal with if you need help. I do not ever try to sell my work only answer questions exchange small talk but always greet and be friendly

My customer base usually answers most questions now after all these years . It really great to have 30-40% return customers

I only do 6 shows now and most are 25-40 years of doing them in same spot.

Just a few years ago I was doing 12 a year down from 15.

I still like talking to customers-after 3 days I'm ready to go diving or do something else

If you are going to be behind your table (which is fine make sure you are on tall stool or standing)

1st two photos are Anacortes last one is Half moon Bay 

Mark

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#8 Mark C.

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 05:17 PM

A few more booths from my local show

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#9 BeckyH

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 06:42 PM

We have two stepped units that we put on the tables. One gets the cash drawer and pens, one gets bags and wrapping paper. Both have drop down backs that make a nice flat surface for writing and wrapping. I really like the roll of paper on a stand thing, will have to look into getting one.

#10 Marian65

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 08:07 PM

Becky, do you have a picture of your stepped units with the drop-down back?  Sounds great.  The mental picture I'm getting probably isn't close to the actual thing.

 

Mark, your booth situations are great.  I'm impressed by your inventory, but not surprised after so many years of work and experience.  You're an inspiration.  If I were younger, I'd use your situation for a goal. 

 

I see you did a show at Volcano, HI.  There used to be a potter there during the '80s who made clay fish using real fish.  I never understood how he did them, but talked him into selling me one that was one of his discards, leaning against a tree in his yard!  My favorite thing for several years until it got broken in Virginia during a move.  I usually just say, "Oh, well," when things break, but I'm still sad about that fish.  I love Volcano.  My husband and I visited there many times on our way from Hilo to Kiluea Military Camp and stopped at the General Store to have orchids and other tropical flowers shipped back east to special friends.  We lived on Oahu, but Big Island, Hilo side, is our favorite place.  Sorry this is off-topic.  Probably not appropriate to take up space chatting about somewhat unrelated topics.

 

Thanks for all your advice and everyone else who has responded.



#11 Mark C.

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 10:07 PM

Becky, do you have a picture of your stepped units with the drop-down back?  Sounds great.  The mental picture I'm getting probably isn't close to the actual thing.

 

Mark, your booth situations are great.  I'm impressed by your inventory, but not surprised after so many years of work and experience.  You're an inspiration.  If I were younger, I'd use your situation for a goal. 

 

I see you did a show at Volcano, HI.  There used to be a potter there during the '80s who made clay fish using real fish.  I never understood how he did them, but talked him into selling me one that was one of his discards, leaning against a tree in his yard!  My favorite thing for several years until it got broken in Virginia during a move.  I usually just say, "Oh, well," when things break, but I'm still sad about that fish.  I love Volcano.  My husband and I visited there many times on our way from Hilo to Kiluea Military Camp and stopped at the General Store to have orchids and other tropical flowers shipped back east to special friends.  We lived on Oahu, but Big Island, Hilo side, is our favorite place.  Sorry this is off-topic.  Probably not appropriate to take up space chatting about somewhat unrelated topics.

 

Thanks for all your advice and everyone else who has responded.

I sold raku and porcelain pots at the Volcano Art center back in the early 80's

I spent part of a winter at a friends house in Volcano in 80 or 81 and made that connection.

I shipped them work for some years but gave it up due to shipping costs.

The general store was a great spot .I lived on the Big Island one winter back then bought a car and put 6,000 it in less than 4 months.

I used to winter over back then from our rainy climate here after x-mas season.I went for a few years.

Back then the Big Island was more low key-it went Boom in the later 90's

I have not gone back since 95 as its to developed now.Like big box stores and hotel city.

Could be anywhere America now exceot for the climate.

I did spend a few hours in late April in the  Kona airport visiting friends who live there.

Kona has gone nuts.

I like to keep in my mind how things used to be before the Boom on that place.

Hilo is still nice I'm told-the airport is hardly used anymore.

The fishing stores and old boardwalk shops are still there they say. 

Strip malls are creeping in.

Hey back then I drove my funky two door car to the top of Mauna Kea (14,000 feet) to check out the snow and observatories-wore every pice of clothing I owned and still was frozen in 1 mintute.All the windows froze over at top the second the fan stopped.

Great times as a young potter/diver back then.

Now its gated.

I love off topic keep it up.

Mark


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#12 DirtRoads

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 11:11 AM

That wood box enclosing the cash register is particularly space efficient.  I've seen many vendors neglect to establish a place for customers to sign and that turns dead space into a much needed feature.   And I've never seen that before.

 

Another thing to note is how Mark's shelf slope.  That makes items on the bottom shelves more visible. 

 

A very effective set up.     And no canopy when the weather permits to let the natural light showcase the pottery.

 

Roll of wrapping paper standing upright.  Both Mark & Gep do that.  Extremely important for speed and it's easily accessible.  Using newspaper at a busy show will significantly slow you down.  Also have bags accessible .... you will lose contact time if you have to scrounge under a table to retrieve bags.

 

Very good ideas in this thread  for people that are doing shows.  I've done quite a few shows in the past and I think most problems have been addressed here.   I used to test my set up and packing materials  by wrapping and bagging every size item I had before I went to a show.  If you adhere to the ideas set forth in this thread, you will be in good shape for your shows.



#13 oldlady

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:22 PM

maybe this is the place to mention my pet peeve.  there are several potters in my guild who use those (many bad words) top hinged  ladder style supports with 1x12s on them.  they run to over 6 feet high and are totally unstable on grass, not much better on solid flooring.  please, someone else tell what is wrong with them, nobody listens to me any more. 

 

sure, the woodwork is pretty on some of them but a tall letter A supporting each end of an 8 foot long board that warps and will not sit level is asking for trouble. 


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#14 Mark C.

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 10:57 PM

My paper roller is custom made out of aluminum and spins-fits all size unprinted newspaper.

Oldlady -A frames suck for many reasons-lake of stability is just one.

 

Dirt roads my 6 foot racks slope so every shelve has a great view of the pots-this feature makes for better sales as the pots or displayed better.

The other thing is what forms work best where in the Horizontal stack for the customers eye to see and to be a able to touch and feel.

Thats another topic really.

Mark


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#15 BeckyH

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 11:52 PM

I can't seem to figure out how to import a picture from Facebook, but if you check out Dark River pottery there you can see our set up for several size shows, from 2 six foot tables to three sides of a 10x10 space.

#16 Marian65

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 09:44 AM

Becky, I looked at the pictures at Dark River Pottery.  I like the risers on the table.  Do they come apart or are they rigid units?

 

Oldlady, how long have those folks in your guild been using ladders and boards?  They might look unstable and give us the vapors to look at them, but if they continue using them they must be working.  When one falls over and there's a lot of breakage, they'll likely replace their system.  I'm with you and like something solid.  Maybe the ladders are more stable than they appear.  Lots of people use that system in antique malls and indoor flea markets.  Seems inexpensive and portable.  I've never found real ladders that had both rungs and horizontal supports at the same level, though, or I'd have tried it myself.  For professional folks like most of you on the forum, though, it's better to LOOK professional and when you sell more than a couple items a day, you can afford to invest in better quality display units.

 

Mark, what are other downsides to the ladder and board thing?  Sometimes I need to see from another person's perspective.  Do you think they're just tacky (Southern word for trashy)? 

 

I'm really enjoying reading about all of your adventures in the shows and galleries.  Maybe I'll be better next time around, or maybe I was better sometime before and that's why I got a late start this time.  (smile).



#17 Mark C.

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 10:26 AM

A frames are not stable as the shelves get less support as they get taller towards the top of the A.Meaning you have to laod them more evenly than other shelving.

I have known only 1 potter who used them and I saw a few disasters with them-falling over on uneven ground-shelves tipping with pots flying on top shelve when the other side had no wieght .He was a cheap fellow who did not want tpo spend $ on a display.

Just design a nicer unit and leave these to the yard sale folks.

I'm sure a nice one could be made I just have never seen one.

Mark


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#18 oldlady

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 11:44 AM

marian, the A frame users have been doing it for years.  in spite of the damage caused 2 years ago when 2 of them went over in a sudden gust.  I cannot understand it.  these are some of the top sellers in the group.  their pots are worthy of a better setup. 

 

the dark river plywood stairway is very stable. it appears to be 3/4 inch thick so you need a large van to carry them and strong backs to lift them.  the idea is good, in execution, a different plywood like  birch is more attractive than the ones used here.  $20 more a sheet for birch spread over 25 years of use is very little extra cost.  paint would be good but it scratches up so fast.

 

if you plan to make them, make sure the bookcase on the top is screwed or bolted securely to the base.  my elbows would like nothing better than to topple that top part.

 

you cannot see my setup because it is not the best either.  though it is very stable and does have shelves ranging from 20 inches wide, to 16 inch and 12 inch on top.  the supporting system is a dog exercise wire cage only 4 feet high.  this allows the wind to blow through and the base to adjust to whatever holes might be in the ground.  the 3/4 inch thick shelves are 4 feet long and have a brass corner brace screwed to the underside of each corner.  the corner brace hooks onto one of the horizontal wires and when all 4 are hooked I can stand on the shelf and dance and it will not fall over.  it just isn't pretty.  actually, I cannot dance so that would not be pretty either!

 

these cages are 4 feet long and 2 of them fit nicely on either side of my EZup.  a card table in the center with a full length tablecloth hides the mess and serves as a cash table when I am on my own.  I also use a circular heavy copper plant stand about 20 inches in diameter to hold a large round basket of small $5-$7 items near the front to bring in customers.  I would love to have a setup like mark does.  maybe when I am rich.


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