Tuesday, October 22, 2013

7 Tips For Selling Furniture and Home Goods at a Vendor Fair

Some of my goods for sale at the fair and on Etsy.
 My man has the Miami Dolphins hat on... but he's not for sale:)

For anyone out there who is ready to turn a passion for "upstyling" furniture into a business, one of the first things to consider is where to sell your goods. There really are a lot of different ways to choose to market your goods. You can sell online, by word of mouth, in your own brick and mortar store, you can rent space in a shop, or you can try doing craft and home fairs.

I have chosen to have an online store at Etsy.com (I'll post about selling on Etsy soon).
But, recently I thought I would try fairs, at least occasionally, to develop a more local following. 
So this past Saturday, I did my first vendor fair with Tamara, my roommate from college, read more about that here. And now since I am an expert... well, an expert on the FIRST time selling at a fair, I put together some tips (below) on how to sell furniture and home goods at a vendor fair for your first time. The fair I participated in was the Fall Festival at my sons' school and it is the biggest event that they have.  However, it was really not very big and it was certainly no Country Living Fair,
 but it was successful and I it got my feet wet!

With my new found expertise from my one day selling, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips I learned at the fair, but first...

Here's a little of our day in pictures:

With the trucks loaded, our first stop? Dunkin Donuts for coffee!

See this, this is why you bring help. I'm taking the pictures and Tamara is doing the work..haha!

Almost ready to start.

Merchandising for Halloween.

And now, what I learned...

1. Be Prepared the Night Before
Layout all your supplies and make a reminder list for the am for “Must Not Forget Items” such as your credit card reader and business cards.
Price your items and use pretty tags. I have a business card that doubles as a price tage. I simply hole punch them and attach with ribbon. When an item is sold, I mark sold across the front.
Load at least some of your items to save time in the morning.

      2. Bring Enough Sellable Goods
      I brought enough goods to fit in at least two trucks or SUV’s and that worked well.  I included three small to medium size dressers and some smaller goods like benches, tables, mirrors and signs. 
      This was the perfect amount of furniture to create a nice storefront.
*For my next fair, I would also include some smaller accessories, like towels, candles, glasses, etc. But, that was just too much for me to worry about this first time!

3. Be Prepared With These Must Have Supplies
Business cards, scissors, tape, safety pins, water, snacks, first aid kit, handy wipes, sanding block and soft rag (in case you have to remove marks or make a small repair), pens, sharpie, trash bags and a tape measure in case people need to know sizes of items.

     4. Create a Pretty Store Front That Reflects Your Image
I used a drop cloth as a table cloth with a burlap runner…. inexpensive, yet pretty. I also pinched the cloth with yellow flowers, which are in my logo. I also brought along extra props to merchandise smaller items. Link here to visit one of my boards in Pinterest to see more craft booth ideas.

5. Market Your Goods
Along with your business sign, add some extra signage. I placed small chalk boards around and I used them to tell customers extras like, this piece has “vintage pulls and casters”, “ we can help you load your purchase”, etc.

6.  Have a Payment System That  Accepts Debit/Cedit Cards and Test it Out the Night Before
I used Pay Pal Here with the card reader to accept credit card payments. I tested it the night before and sometimes the app on my phone shut down in mid payment!! So, I also had my friend load the app on her phone. This saved the day, because my phone was still having issues the next day!

7. Connect with Your Customers
Welcome them with a smile and a hello! Also, I like to lure people in with strategically placed bowls of hershey kisses. They will come!

Some More Facts:
  • I rented two spaces to fit all my goods and I asked for an end space. The second space cost less after the first.
  • For two spots, I paid $120, I paid Tamara $100 to help and I had the cost of the goods and materials. I was able to cover all my costs and make a profit.
  • Next time I would bring: more smaller goods, more signage, a tarp in case it rains and offer 10% off for those the Facebook friend me at the time of purchase.

Find beauty in your day!


Kim~madeinaday said...

Great post! I have been asked to sell my stuff at the neighborhood fall craft fair and I just never thought I had enough stuff. Your post has given me inspiration! Maybe next year! I hope you did well! Stopping by to let you know your my Spotlight Blog of the week! So look for a little more traffic from me this week!

Our Pinteresting Family said...

Sounds like you had a successful time for your first time at a fair. Congrats!

Unknown said...

Great tips! I love your signs!!!

Unknown said...

so helpful…. Visit
sell your stuff

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Unknown said...

Hi, Debbie! It was a nice touch to have a business card that doubles as a price tag. It is a pretty fun idea that really reflects the feel and image of your business. It also gives the customer a way to contact you, should they be interested in your other works on a later date. Thanks for sharing!

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Unknown said...

Comprehensive and useful tips.

Unknown said...

It is an awesome post and tips are going to work for sure. As I was using almost the same methods before, but later on I extend my business a bit more, selling through online and using Amazon and eBay. These platforms are great to get instant customers, But to attract customers you should list your products nicly and make them SEO friendly, I took help from Sellers Engine , they are eCommerce Conultant and providing some awesome services to sell more on online. So we should think about selling on online too.

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