Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mystery Bags and Clearance Bins

As a crafter I tend to go through craft phases. A few years ago I found beautiful stone skull beads, in bright cherry colors. I couldn't help myself but buy them and make a ton of jewelry. Though the jewelry came out cute, I learned that jewelry making just wasn't for me. I had no real passion for it. I managed to sell the majority of it, but as my plush toy business grew so did the direction of my craft show booth. So the jewelry made its way to the back of my studio closet, and no longer to my craft show table.
Earlier this week I shared my craft show booth set up on the Etsy Fort Worth team blog. In that post I wrote about my booth set up and how I engage my customers with a fun Spin-a-Prize wheel. The prize wheel idea came to me at a show, when I was walking towards my booth and I thought to myself "wow, my booth looks like a carnival booth." I started to think of ways to play up the carnival booth idea but not loose my brand focus. Since my brand motto is "Creating Adventure" I thought how can I create adventure here in my booth for my customers. That's where the Spin-a-Prize wheel came to mind. Everyone loves to take a chance, and win a prize, especially if you are guaranteed a prize.
Then came the question, "What can I give as a prize?" I started to think about products I already make, obviously I couldn't put in full size plush dolls in every bag. I could however put in full size plushies that had been in my inventory for a LONG time and hadn't sold. But what else? I started to clean out my studio closet and I found products that I no longer make. Perfect!
By putting these discontinued products in the mystery bags I no longer have to put out a clearance basket. Clearance baskets are great, but sometimes they just get passed up. By ditching the clearance basket and using Mystery Bags I've engaged my customers sense of adventure and curiosity. They can't wait to spin the wheel and see what bag they will win. Once they have their bag in hand, they can't help but rip it open to see what's inside.
I have to admit, I forget what is in each bag. I tend to draw all the bags, and blindly fill them. Every now and then when the prizes are a little on the girly side I'll make sure that the bags look girly, so that a little boy wont be disappointed when he wins something pink and glittery instead of something green and scarey.
A Spin-a-Prize wheel may not work for everyone, but offering a mystery bag might. Fill it with your old clearance items, discontinued products, slightly imperfect pieces, or even something brand new that you aren't sure you want to add to your product line. Mystery bags are a great addition to your craft show booth, and will help you clear out your closet.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Etsy Fort Worth: Beautiful Booths- Studio Longoria

Re-posted from:
Etsy Fort Worth: Beautiful Booths- Studio Longoria

When it comes to craft shows having a visually inviting booth is just part of the job. Today Stephanie of Studio Longoria shares how she has put together not only a visually inviting booth, but how she engages customers with some hands on fun, all while staying true to her brand motto 
"Creating Adventures." 

 I've been vending at arts and crafts shows for the past 6 years, and through those years my booth set up has evolved greatly. Every show I do, the set up changes a little, but one thing I try to keep the same is the over all feel of my brand. I want my brand to translate from the web to real life. I want my internet customers to recognize my booth right away, and my in person customers to remember my booth experience when they look me up online.

I like to engage with my customers online by asking opinions on products, sharing works in progress and offering fun giveaways every now and again. Engaging with customers in person is a little different, but I've worked out a few ways to do this that go beyond just welcoming the customer with a "Hello." 
One way is by creating a fun, inviting booth. Just walking by, my customers are drawn in with a large marque arrow which screams, "Come in! Have Fun!" Customers see the arrow from down the isle and are curious to know what's going on in that booth. Once they get to my booth they are hit with an explosion of color, the same way they are when they open up my website. 

My banner is always hanging prominently, centered above my largest table. It matches my website, blog and shop banners. So when customers look me up online they remember my hanging banner and know that they are in the right place.


I've learned the importance of utilizing height in my booth. Though I may not have solid walls, like a brick and mortar store, I've built my display upwards with risers. My risers include boxes, wooden stands and baskets. My products are not laying flat on the tables, limiting table space, but standing up for a better view. This idea came from retail shopping where very little is displayed flat on tables.

I've also created a fun, funky chandelier for night time shows. Not only does it provide great lighting, it is also a conversation piece which draws customers in. 

Something I just recently added to my booth is a Spin-a-Prize wheel, which embodies my brand motto "Creating Adventures." With my spin wheel customers are encouraged to be adventurous by spinning the wheel to win a mystery prize. The mystery prizes vary from mini plushies, to pin back button sets, hand embroidered mini hoops, decoden accessories, and even a full size plushie every now and then. People love to join in on the adventure with hopes of winning that treasured full size plushie.

My advice to other vendors is to find a way to engage your customers in your shop be it in your booth or online. Also make sure that your booth speaks to your brand, and that it is cohesive with your website.

Studio Longoria is owned and operated by Stephanie Longoria of Arlington, Texas. You can find Studio Longoria on Facebook, , on Etsy, , and on Twitter and Instagram @StudioLongoria .