Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Crochet Classes!!

Crochet Classes!

I've decided to hold a series of crochet classes in my little studio. I'm pretty excited about it, crochet really is my first love. I think I've put together a nice list of classes, and I am coming up with more. So I hope people sign up and I can do all the really fun stuff I have in mind. 

This will be my main informational page, where I will update new classes and dates, and where folks can sign up in advance. It's going to be a lot of fun!! 

Please help me spread the word by sharing this page with friends. In fact, craft classes are a perfect activity to do with friends, daughters, moms. Grab some lunch and make it a date!  

Classes will be held at the Bohemian Mermaid studio. 511 6th St. Eureka, CA.

Each class costs $20. Includes materials, printed notes, and patterns. (Optional material upgrades are available for a small fee.)

Sign Up!
Space is limited. Students may drop-in or secure a spot prepaid by using the Paypal button below. 

You can also contact Bekki directly:
bmermaid @ reninet . com, 633 - 8431

Current Classes:  (updated 1/24/16)

Sign Up Now!

Crochet Basics
Crochet is easy, fun, and relaxing! All of crochet is based on just a few simple stitches. Learn the basics while making cotton dishcloths or scarf. No experience needed. 

Date:  Feb 13, 1-3pm

Crochet Hats 1 
Crochet hats make great gifts, and the creative possibilities are endless! Learn the basic cap shape, how to work in the round, and change yarn colors. Students should have basic crochet stitch knowledge, or take Crochet Basics class first. 

Date:  Feb 20, 1-3pm

Crochet Hats 2 
For those who are ready for more advanced hat making techniques. Learn more about shaping, working with fancy stitches, and adding brims. Students should know how to work in the round, or take Crochet Hats 1 class first. 

Jan 30, 1-3pm
Feb 27, 1-3pm

Beer Can Hats
Yesss! Just as fun and funky as you remember. Learn to make a crochet hat with aluminum cans. Students should know how to work in the round, or take Crochet Hats 1 class first. BYOB! Bring 6 clean beer or soda cans. 

Feb 6, 1-3pm
Mar 5, 1-3pm 

Start Selling at Craft Fairs #5: Show Time!

At last we come to the fifth of my 5 steps to Start Selling at Craft Fairs. Click the "Craft Selling Tips" tag at the end of this post to see the rest of the posts #1 - #4. 

Show Time!

Okay! After all of your making and planning, now it's time to do the actual work of selling things in your festival booth. My first big piece of advice overall, and my motto when getting ready for a show is...  

Always be prepared to do well.  
Even for the dinkiest of shows or the iffiest of circumstances, I will try to put my best foot forward. Meaning, I've done everything I can do to support having a good show. I have the proper stock, my packing is organized, my paperwork is in order, I've packed a healthy lunch, and had a good night's sleep.

Every show is an opportunity to put myself out there, and anything can happen. I want to be ready! It's also much less stressful and more fun for me when I know all my ducks are in a row.  Once I leave my house, if I've done my job right, I can just relax and enjoy the day.  

How much stock should I bring? 
I see this question often on craft fair forums. I think the best answer is, as much as you can. Obviously, the more you have, the more you can sell. It will take time to build up a large inventory, but don't let that stop you from doing a show. You do want to be sure you have enough to cover your expenses and make a profit. 

Chances are good you will not sell out, so plan on having double the amount that you want to sell. For example, if we follow the 10x Rule (see #4: Money Talk) and are feeling optimistic, we would say... I paid $100 for my booth, in my dreams I'll sell 10x that, $1000. I know I won't sell out, so double that to $2000 worth of doohickies. That's just a very general guideline. After you do a few shows, you'll figure out the right balance for you. 

Getting Organized

I cannot overstate the peace I feel when I use my super comprehensive Craft Fair Checklist, just knowing I have everything in order. Seriously. There is SO so much to keep track of, it's really easy to forget something dumb. Like the time I went out of town and forgot all the bedding for camping... for me and my helper. Duh! I have seen people forget their canopy. That is what nightmares are made of, my friend. Make yourself a detailed checklist and avoid the drama.

You will also want a Booth Box for all your uh, booth stuff. Business cards, price tags, signs, pens, calculator, banner, scissors, tape, etc. Life is much easier when it's all in one place, trust me. I carry a small tool box as well. Setup day is stressful enough, without having to hunt for your pliers or a pen.  Put it all in the box, and add it to your to your checklist. Bam. Ready to roll. 
What's on My List?
Here are some examples of what's on my Craft Fair Checklist:
  • - Show info, driving directions, hotel/camping confirmation
  • - Business licenses, insurance certificate
  • - Business cards, fliers
  • - Price tags, paper bags 
  • - Banners, signs
  • - Phone, charger, cords
  • - Cash bag, credit card stuff 
  • - Curtains, rugs
  • - Canopy, display walls, curtains
  • - Dolly, tool box, bungees
  • - Camping gear
  • - Water, lunch, jacket

Follow the Rules 

I know... rules are for suckers. Especially for us artsy free spirit types. Ha! No seriously, that is totally me. But when it comes to the running of a festival, it's much smoother to just follow their guidelines. There are a lot of moving parts being organized to make a good show for everyone involved. Be a cooperative component. 

When you are accepted to a craft show, they will send you any info you need to know. Read it all. Usually there are specific instructions about where, when and how to set up your booth. Follow them as much as possible. Communicate ahead of time if you have special needs. Sometimes there is staff to guide us and help out, sometimes there is nobody but us. Mistakes happen, adjustments often must be made. Cooperate. We are all in this together.  Be a good neighbor and you will have a much better time. 

Common Newbie Mistakes:
  • - Late Opening or Early Closing - Show up when you are supposed to, and be open for the posted show hours. Opening your booth late or shutting down early are frowned upon in the show world. It looks bad for the whole event if some booths are closed. Things do happen, but avoid if at all possible.
  • - Thoughtless Parking - Move your vehicle as quickly as possible, so others can unload/load up as well. Setup and tear down are always the craziest of times. Do your part to make it easier on everyone. Especially after the show, it's an unwritten (or sometimes strictly enforced) rule that your booth should be mostly packed up BEFORE you go get your vehicle. Let the fast packers go on their way, there will be more room for parking when they're gone.
  • - Infringing on Neighbors - Don't block your neighbor's booth, the path to it, or infringe on their space in any way. Or else ask first. By that I mean, don't let your display stick out so far that it blocks your neighbor's. Don't hang or tape or tie things to anyone else's stuff. Don't send your customers to use someone else's mirror or dressing room. Again, check with them first, or just don't do it. 
  • - Selling Inappropriate Items -  It's a growing problem, finding imports being sold at juried handmade-only craft shows. Meaning someone is being dishonest, claiming they made them themselves. American artists obviously cannot compete with wages overseas, so most of us purposely avoid shows that allow imports. If you have imports or other items not made by you, only sell them if it is allowed wihin the show guidelines. You may be told to remove the items, or even to remove your entire booth from the show never to return. And at the very least, it's just not cool at all.

Selling Tips
I think selling is not normally the artist's best skill. We love to make things, but selling them is a whole different ballgame. You are putting yourself and your creativity out there, to be judged by sales and interactions. It's not easy. And when I talk with people who consider themselves introverts, it's even more scary. That's why I like having a friend help me in the booth sometimes, they can get all gushy about how great I am and how they looove this piece or that one. I can't do that. But it's really not necessary to sell. The best method is to just be friendly.

Here is my general sales technique:
  • - Keep Busy - I read an article once that said you should never sit in your booth. I don't know about that, but I do know that a busy booth attracts more people than a dead one. So when there is a lull in business, I go around and fuss with my goods. Sort the sizes, arrange stuff to fill gaps, pick up trash, etc. That way it looks like something is happening in there. As soon as a person comes in, I sit back down and get out of the way. I also like to have a little something art-related to do when it's slow (I crochet jewelry or sketch), so I'm not just staring at people as they walk by or into my booth. Awkward! 
  • - Greet People - Just say hello. It's the easiest way to break the ice when someone walks into your booth. As I said, some folks aren't that into chatting with you. I give people a minute to look around and get comfy. Sometimes I have to wait until they are close enough to catch their eye, or if they start touching things. Then I just say, "Hi there, please let me know if you have any questions, I make everything myself." This gives them the freedom to just say "Thank you" and keep looking. But often they will ask a question and we are on our way!
  • - Be Friendly - Really there is no need to have a big sales shpeal and everything. Friendly chit chat is enough to get things going. You will meet all kinds of interesting people, have fun visiting. No sales pressure is needed. If they are engaged by you, they will be more likely to buy your art. Pretty simple.
  • - Prepare Answers - Now, by this I do not mean rehearse a big sales speech. Eesh, no. But in time you will find people asking the same types of questions over and over. Come up with short, informative answers. They will become habit eventually, and that's how you become a good salesperson. Informing your customers about why your work is so awesome.
  • - Close the Sale - Yes, I've said no pressure is needed, and people generally don't like that. But on the other side of it, do not be afraid to just come out and ask for the sale, I've read this advice in multiple sales articles. Especially when people are having trouble making a decision, sometimes they just want someone to tell them what to do. They've looked, talked, touched, is perfectly fine to ask, "So, is this the one for you?" Or , "Maybe you should just get both!"  They are at a craft fair buying things, it is not outrageous at all. Again, just be friendly.

Have Fun!!
This is always my biggest and best piece of advice. The more you enjoy what you are doing, the better your sales will be. You are out there in the world, sharing your creative heart. It's an amazing feeling! You will meet so many people, talk about your art, hear the band, soak up the sun. Enjoy this adventure you have chosen!