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When Enough is Enough (how much stock to take to a show)

July 1, 2011

I’m an over-achiever, an over-packer, an over-organizer and all around over-everything. I can admit to that. I pack too many clothes when we go on vacation, but by goodness they are organized by color and day you’re going to wear them. I spend way too much time organizing my work-space when in about five minutes it becomes just as hectic as it was when I left it the night before. I nitpick about where the cans go in the lazy susan and how the tupperware is put away. I have issues.  But, when it comes to a show- and packing for that show- all those issues come out full throttle- in a good way.

I’m not sure what I would do without all my over-ness. Likely I would get to the show with too few inventory, lacking business cards, and having to buy bags from the local convenience store. Not that that has never happened! So, right now, the next big show on MY list is Renegade Chicago– and it’s my biggest show yet. And I’m FREAKING out on just how much stock I need to take.

How much stock do you take to a show? Do you take everything you’ve made? Do you make more for a certain show? Do you pack early or the night before? Do you make out/take an inventory list to see on paper just how much you have and what it’s worth? Does it all depend on  how much the booth fee was?

See, I have tons of questions. With Renegade being my biggest/most expensive show ever I’ve hit a brick wall with knowing just how much to take. Personally, when I pack for a show/get ready for a show, I simply make all that I can and take it all (and then display it all, which is fodder for another post). But with Renegade, well, I think it’s different. Maybe it all depends on how much you hope to make at said show?

I heard long ago, you know, when I first started almost two years ago, that you should make 10x your booth fee at any given show. That that’s what makes it a ‘good’ show. Well, as much as I think that’s completely unrealistic (for me and for what I sale – is that a cop-out?) and I’ve only done it twice (at the same show two years in a row) that’s how I’ve made my inventory goal list for Renegade. Let me explain.

In simple terms- Renegade booth was $400. 10x that is $4,000 (wowsa!!). That’s obviously my GOAL, but I am under no delusions. But, if I want to make that many, no matter how delirious, I should have enough inventory to do so right? So, my hollow books are on average $50 ea/ so let’s say I’m just going to sell hollow books then I would need to make/take at least 80 hollow books. So, that’s what I’m going by. Since I make more than just hollow books (but my leather books vary much more in price so I didn’t want to try and figure that out) my goal for Renegade is to have at least 80 hollow books and enough leather to fill out a table b/c at that point, the leather is icing….right?

What’s your equation? Do you go to a show with certain expectations, and if you do, are you disappointed if you don’t hit those goals? I’d Love to hear your experience and how you plan for a show.

For now, we’re taking a mini-weekend vacation to celebrate the 4th of July and watch fireworks and eat lots of watermelon. Happy 4th to you!!!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2011 1:02 pm

    This sounds like a great topic for one of our BCC meetings. I know I’m still new to the craft show scene but I normally take all my stock and try to fill my tables as much as a can without makeing it look overly crowded. But reading your post I think your thinking works well. I’m sure you will do great in Chicago! 🙂

  2. July 1, 2011 1:37 pm

    This is a great post, Talia. I usually just make as much as I possibly can, and put out whatever will fit on my table, keeping more in the back if I happen to have it. That was my plan at Renegade 2 years ago. I think I made like 20 cat-erpillars, and almost 200 pendants. I was only thinking in terms of table-filled-ness, but thinking of it in terms of how much money you hope to make is a MUCH better equation. thanks!

  3. July 13, 2011 11:53 pm

    Candice…I’d love to know how much of that you sold. My thing with Renegade is I really don’t know what to expect except that it’s 3x longer than any other show and it’s HUGE.

    my strategy is still make as much crap as possible in two months. but i have started measuring in terms of monetary inventory whereas i used to base it on how many separate pieces i had.

    also a constant fight between me and tim is how to fill the table. i like the less is more. my stuff involves a lot of reading so i don’t want there to be TOO much. and he wants to put everything out that he possible can. i already made him promise that he won’t touch anything at renegade or ELSE.

    • admin permalink*
      July 14, 2011 12:17 pm

      Sarah- I think it’s a good idea to take into consideration monetary value for sure. I mean, like I said, if you expect to make a certain amount of money when you’re at a show you better make damn well sure you have that much inventory plus, you know?

      As for filling the table- it’s a constant battle inside myself as well. Same idea. I really WANT to feel ‘less is more’. I’ve always WANTED to feel that way. I mean, I do FEEL that way, I just can’t get myself to act on that feeling;) I’ve been looking at the Renegade Flickr group though and I really do think LESS IS MORE so, my advice, for both of us is simply this- put out what looks nice and not cluttered. Then, when something sells, replace it. Simple as that. I know for me, and probably for you too, it’s hard b/c what if someone likes something I have behind the table better than that’s out and then I miss that sale- well, I think it’s worth it if you’re set-up is more inviting for more people to look at…I don’t know.;)

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