Did you know? May is the third busiest month for retailers behind December and November. Thanks to Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Graduation and spring festival season, May continues to show herself as a lucrative month year after year. This month we booked five in-person events, between trunk shows, pop ups and local craft shows. I sent out one coupon code to my email subscribers and offered two online giveaways. Not to mention in my personal life that we are selling a home and helping a sick family member. How did I balance it all? At times, not very well. I thought I'd share some tips that I've learned this month. If you're starting out in this world of handmade goods or starting your own business grass-roots style, my intention is that these help you in your planning and decision making efforts.
1. If you are planning a trunk show that is far away, come up with a standard operating procedure for yourself. Communicate it with the store owner and stick with your word. No matter what.
Whatever your S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) is, have the courage to communicate it with those you're doing business with and honor your word. I had two trunk shows this month that were out of town and learned very quickly that I needed to revise my S.O.P. and reconsider some things. I also reached out for feedback out to other small business owners who frequently do pop ups and the insight was incredible. Here's a sample of what I'm talking about with setting yourself up with a successful S.O.P.;
a.) If the founder comes to the pop up, ask for a 30% - 70% split (you get 70% to cover your travel, hotel, food, etc.) There's no hard and fast rule that the retailer should automatically take 50% of the sales. I even have two retail partners that allow me to keep 100% of the profits! The lesson from this is not to assume.
b.) Have a conference phone call between the store owner and the manager or staff who will be on duty to make sure the communication is crystal clear. Ask exactly where you will be set up in the store. If you need electricity, specify that (I do). Who will be providing the furniture and fixtures? How will products be rung up? I find it's easiest for the store to ring up products and then to write me a check at the end of the event. All of should must be discussed beforehand.
c.) Team up with a charity that touches your heart. Once you've decided on one to support, contact them and get the ball rolling. Ask them to help publicize the event and ask the store owners to help you in your efforts. Charity begins at home. I'm always amazed at the conversations and interactions I have at my events with people whose lives are touched by ALS. That's something money can't buy.
2. Reconsider planning two different events back to back, especially when one ends at 6 pm and the other begins at 7 am the next day. Yes, this happened to me. I ended up pulling it off but I was so exhausted during the second back to back event that I thought I would fall asleep at any moment. The next day I actually ended up getting sick and was out of commission for 3 days.
3. I can never underestimate the importance of taking care of yourself during craft shows. They're usually outside, in the heat and sometimes the food isn't exactly my kind of food, if you know what I mean. I really try to eat healthy, so that means I must take an extra 20-30 minutes and meal plan. If I can't swing by the grocery store the night before a show, I must make time to swing by Kroger on my way to the show in the morning - even at 6 am! Here's what I take;
4. Lastly, schedule some down time/family time/relaxation time/self care. It's hard, but so important!
May has been a rewarding month that has definitely presented some challenges. I hope that these help in some way. Take what you like and leave the rest. If you have any questions or if I can help in any way, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
In grace + gratitude,