Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Visions of Summer Travels

Hey well maybe I'm back to blogging for real. We'll see. I do have many many things flying around my brain right now, and what are blogs for if not to blab about them? Maybe I can bore my friends on facebook a little less. Ha.

Mostly I've been planning my craft show season for 2015. This always gives me a kind of Far Off feeling... concentrating on all the details of the summer and fall, I get kind of stuck there. Already living in the future in my mind. Imagining where I'll go, where I'll stay, what kinds of festivals I will attend, who I'll visit on the way. I'm already there.

Sunset over the Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival in Winthrop, WA.

It's shaping up nicely so far. At the start of the new year, I sat and thought about what I wanted my year to look like. What are my goals. The only thing I could see was doing another long distance Mermaid Tour to North Dakota and back, like I did last year. So I'm doing that. I'm still confirming shows etc, but it looks like I'll probably end up doing exactly the same shows as last year. I am looking at some variations but I haven't been too keen on what I've found... and I know the shows last year were good for me. If I do a little advertising, I could do even better going back. 

I'll be gone about 6 weeks, 4500 miles, 5 shows: Oregon, Washington, North Dakota, Montana, then back to Oregon. I just had a freaking blast last year! North Dakota is the main focus of the trip, where I have family. It's so great to be able to do a festival where my mother, brother, and grandma can visit my booth!

Last year I really wanted to find a newer (bigger, better, sweeter) van for the trip, and managed to find the perfect one just in time. Of course it had to break down at some point on a long trip, right? Sure. Just like Mermaid Tour 2010. But again, it was fixed quickly and at a reasonable price, and I made it to my next stop on time. That was in Montana. 

 Huckleberry Festival in Whitefish, MT.

And you know, I was reflecting this morning about my time there. One of the highlights of my tour was the time I spent getting to know Montana, it is just lovely. I drove all over, stayed in campgrounds, parked over night on side streets, took refuge from the heat in restaurants. Everywhere I went, people were the nicest I have ever seen. Everywhere! In line at the grocery store, the young guy at the gas station, even my competitors at the crafts show. There were two big traditional tie dye booths, both run by women. They both made a point to came meet me and "check out this booth everyone is telling me about." So friendly and welcoming. Almost everyone was like that. And they have great breweries! I did look around for a different show that weekend, something closer the main interstate... but really? Why wouldn't I want to go back there again? 

These are just a few of my brain ramblings as I map out my life for the next 6 months. Now it's time to get to the studio and start making things. Summer approaches!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Start Selling at Craft Fairs #4: Money Talk

At long last, Part 4 of a series I'm calling (5 Steps to) Get Started Selling at Craft Fairs. Read Step #1: Find Your Shows , Step #2: Booth Display , and Step #3: Marketing Materials.

Money Talk

Okay, now we are getting down to business. I think most of us start out just making things because we love to, we are compelled to. Soon we have boxes of things, and then begin trying to sell them simply because we want to make more. At some point you can't help but consider making a living doing all the things you love most. And I fully believe in that dream. But now after so many years, I can tell you... while it is possible, it is not easy. Very few artists I know make a full time living, where they can buy houses and support families. For that you need some real business finesse, a way to sell consistently in multiple venues, and probably mixed with teaching classes or other service based offerings. I am no expert, but this is what I've gathered from many conversations with artists. 

Most of us are able to make half a living, enough to supplement a day job, or a partner's income. Personally, I am happy to just be able to keep doing my work the way I enjoy doing it. My goals are more based on lifestyle than income. I would rather lower my standard of living, than get another day job. But that's me, we all have different goals and life situations. I've said it before, you can make this thing do whatever you want it to do. It's all you. 

Huckleberry Festival in Whitefish, MT last year.

Getting back to the craft show itself, here are some money details to consider:

Pricing is Super Important. As I mentioned in my previous post, fair pricing is a huge issue for the new craft seller. I'm going to repeat myself, and say that when you sell your beautiful handmade items at low low bargain basement prices, you hurt the whole artist community and bring down the overall value of the show. Those with experience know you have to charge enough to pay yourself well and cover all your expenses. Your $15 hat makes my $50 hat seem outrageous by comparison. Soon people are complaining to me, and I'm not too happy with you. Because I know how long it takes to make the hat, and you should be earning more than someone working at McDonald's. Have respect for what we do, it's valuable. 

I do understand that at first you are just emptying your boxes of stuff. It's been sitting around and you really just want to get rid of it. That is a hobbyist perspective, not a professional artist trying to make a living. I sometimes have items like that as well, things that have been hanging too long, maybe have a repair. What I do is put them on clearance at a good discount. I know I am still coming out ahead (because I use a good pricing formula), but I can move some older things out and make room for the new. But your entire booth should not be on clearance, unless you are selling at a flea market. Mark them up so you can mark them down.

The best way to calculate your pricing is to use a pricing formula like this:
(Materials+Labor)+Profit=Wholesale Price
Wholesale Price x 2 = Retail Price

When you sell to a store, you charge the wholesale price (or a little above). This covers your expenses plus a little profit. The idea is that the store has all the overhead expenses and does all the work, and you get to sell a larger amount of items at one time. Selling at a craft show is retail (directly to the customer), so you need to double the wholesale price to cover your selling expenses. Show fees, booth display costs, packaging, food, gas, time selling, day off work, etc. That's exactly what a retail store does. 

And if you really want to continue making things and selling them, you must include both profit AND labor costs. Figure out how long it takes you to make a thing, then pay yourself an hourly wage (to start, $10-$20 per hour). I know many new sellers like to take the cost of materials alone and multiply it by a number. Yes maybe you have only spent $5 on the yarn for your hat, but the time it takes you to make it is the main thing you are selling. Your special skills and talents and creativity. You seriously have to pay yourself appropriately. And if you don't also include a little profit on top of all that, you are only breaking even and will never make money. That's just basic business.

Front yard sale at Mom's house in ND, 2014. Fun!!

Taking Payments. You will need to come up with your own system for processing sales. A place for your cash, credit card stuff, business cards, etc. I use a cross-body pouch that stays on me at all times. Some like a cash box, but I like to know my money is safe and at hand. Many artists just keep everything in their pants pockets. Simple. I also make a little sales stand with empty tubs covered with a cloth. 

There are 3 ways to take money for a sale: 

- Cash. Good old cash. I keep my prices rounded off so I don't need to handle coins. $100 in change works for me.

- Check. I don't take checks anymore, unless it is my home town and I am familiar with the person. It's just so much easier to take a debit card, and know if it's good right away. Checks are risky. If you do take a check, look at their ID and take a phone number. But even with those things I have been burned. Not a lot, but why bother.

- Credit Card. It is so SO easy and cheap to take cards now, there is no excuse not to. Join the modern day, my friend. Paypal, Square, even Etsy I think has a card reader you can plug into your smart phone or tablet. Yes it costs a small fee, but the sales you will gain will be completely worth it. Trust me. People bring only so much cash to a festival, and they'll use it for lunch and beers. When they run out of money and still want to buy something from you... let them!

Sales Tax. Dealing with sales tax at a festival can be weird. Some people seem surprised when you add tax, though I'm not sure why. We must pay it no matter what. I really don't want to deal with coins in the booth, so what I (and most others I know) do is factor the tax into my selling price on most things. When I run a credit card, I let CC reader add the tax to help cover my extra fees. But it comes off more as a cash discount, and encourages people to pay cash.
 Keep Track. You also need to find a way to keep track of your sales. The best way, and maybe legally we are all supposed to do this... is to give receipts. Then you have a copy of every sale. Some use a notebook to write down what has sold. I use my price tags, which I place in my money bag after every sale. After the show, I enter them into a spread sheet so I have a record of what sold for next year. Sales totals are entered into my Quickbooks program for taxes later.

My friend Andrea from Rhythmic Stitch - Urban Harvest market, Bismarck, ND.

How much will I make? I guess this is really the big question. For all of us. Because there is no good answer. We never truly know what will happen. Even a show that has been consistently good in the past can bomb. So many factors involved... weather, date or venue changes, other events happening, booth location, buying audience, and on and on. 

One formula some of us use is the 10 times rule. This is the idea that a good show will yield 10x the booth fee. Many artists say this is outdated and the sales have gone down over the years, so it doesn't' really work. In my experience 10x is my top end usually, and I can expect at the very least 5x. It is very rare for me to only break even, and more likely at a dinky fair than a large one. This is just my experience and a way to roughly estimate what to expect. 

But again, this whole festival life is a crap shoot. You really do not know what will happen until you do it. This is the nature of the life we have chosen. And it can make you nuts. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Are Craft Shows for You?

 Ever since my first time selling crafts at a festival (circa 1995), I knew immediately it was for me. The energy, the direct contact with customers, talking about my work... and just the excitement of putting myself out there. It was electric. I felt then, and still do, that when I'm selling my work at a show I am my best self. It's so much fun! But it's also a ton of work. Physical, mental, emotional work. Which also feels good in its way, but may not be for everyone. Here I will lay out some of the pros and cons to consider when you're deciding if the craft show life is for you.

Pro: Good Fun 
Oh man. There is plenty of good fun to be had while vending at a festival. In fact, many of my friends think I have the best job ever. Well, I do. There are bands to hear, beers to drink, neighbors to visit with, customers to say nice things to you... oh and money to be made. All kinds of fun times. I mean, it is a festival. Most everyone is having a good time and looking to spend money. Woohoo! I personally enjoy a view of the stage if I can get it, and I love a pretty venue. Free camping is a bonus. That's why I'll never be rich, I can't stand the big city shows. Give me a free camp spot next to the lake and a pancake breakfast and I'm good.

Con: Heavy Lifting at Dawn  
Oh man again. It's always funny when I get a friend to be my helper for the weekend, and then they get to see how much work is done before super funtime. I actually don't mind the setup part, at this point I don't even think about it. Just put on my headphones and start unloading the van. But it's definitely physical work and long hours. Depending on what you make and your mode of display... well pretty much anything takes lifting and carrying and a couple hours of work to set up. Sometimes you're not able to pull right up to your booth spot, and must haul things a distance. In hot weather. You may have helpers in your home town, but on the road you must do it all solo. Are you ready for that?

Pro: Direct Customer Feedback
Maybe the best business type thing about doing shows is the direct contact with your customers. It is awesome. Whether they buy or not, they will have things to say about your work. Most people who come into your booth do so because they are drawn by what you do. They want to talk about how you do it, your inspiration, your techniques. How fun! I mean, you work in a room for weeks alone with no input... getting out there can really feed your fire. You may get requests and ideas for new products, or hear that a certain design has issues you never considered. Even at shows where the audience wasn't right for my work, I learned.

Con: Long Days On Stage
This could also be under Pro, a lovely day in the sun at a festival is not a bad way to make a buck. The thing is, you are out there no matter what the weather, sometimes up to 12 hrs or beyond. The show goes on, rain or shine. Most shows will not refund your booth fee for any reason (I once had a heart attack two days before a show and could not get a refund). Hundred degrees, drizzle, downpour, wind, dust. You're in it. All day long. Add in slow sales activity, and hooboy a day can last an eternity.

And you are "On" the whole time. It doesn't matter how you slept, what time you showed up, that you set up in the rain with no breakfast... you better be perky and friendly when those revelers show up. You will spend the day chatting up customers, telling your story, smiling, selling. Dancing on stage from start to finish. This, to me, is the most exhausting part of it all. I love doing it, but after a show I need a whole day to recover. Physically and mentally I am spent.

Pro: Work Independently
Hello! Maybe this should be at the top of the list. We creators and entrepreneurs are not so hip to work for someone else. Freedom is a big draw of having your own business, and as an artist is almost required. Of course, showing up for a paycheck is easier and more secure by far. But for me, being able to choose where and when I work, keeping all the money for myself (vs wholesale or consignment), making a chunk of cash in only a couple days of selling ... that feeling of freedom and independence is huge for me. If I need time off, I take it. If I want a sweet vacation with my husband and his motorcycle in the mountains, I find a show there and make it a working trip. If at any time I want to change my artistic style or medium, I can. I love my job because I make it do what I want it to do. It's all me.

Pro and Con: Travel
If you live near a big city where shows are happening all the time... great for you! But most of us have only so many local shows to do and must at some point travel away to fill our weekends. From where I live, it's at least a 4 hr drive to anywhere.

Personally, I thoroughly enjoy the travel. I actually really like the driving part, the van singalongs, listening to stories on my ipod, soaking up the scenery. It's a nice relaxing prelude to the work of the show itself. I try to find some sweet camping wherever I go, which makes me happy. Occasionally I indulge in a hotel room, with its lovely refrigerator, microwave, wifi, and oh yes shower. It's fun to hit a new town, find a cool brewery or breakfast place. I just love all of it!

But later in the season, even I can grow a little tired. Long miles, long hours, multiple weekends in a row out of town... and all while creating work in between. The housework starts to pile up, my partner gets a little whiny about when I'll be home, I start to really miss my bed and shower. But the shows must go on. (I will talk more in detail about traveling and camping in future posts.)

In the end, how you sell what you make is completely up to you. You may decide to do some shows, but only in your home town or only indoors at holiday time. Or, you may join me on the show circuit every weekend. Maybe you'll decide to stick with web sales and gallery commissions alone. This business adventure is whatever you will make it, and isn't that the fun of it?!

Start Selling at Craft Fairs #3: Marketing Materials

Part 3 of a series of posts I'm calling (5 Steps to) Get Started Selling at Craft Fairs. Read Step #1: Find Your Shows and Step #2: Booth Display.

Marketing Materials
Even at the dinkiest of shows, you have the opportunity to get your name and your work out into the world. I think it's the most basic marketing requirement to have a card to give out to your customers, with your contact info and what you make. People will see plenty of other booths throughout the day. If they are interested enough to buy your work or ask for a card, give them something to take away that will keep you in their minds long after they get home. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it should be a good reminder of what they saw in your booth, and where to find it later.

My big 3

I have 3 marketing items I always give out in my booth - flyers, business cards and hang tags. I print all of them with my computer on card stock. You can get fancy stuff printed online for pretty cheap these days... I know Vistaprint and Postcards.com send me all kinds of great offers for cards and postcards. So far, I have (mostly) stuck to doing them myself. I enjoy doing it and it's easy to change things when I wish.

My hang tags are attached to each of my items for sale. I make tiny square cards with a hole punched in the corner for the price tag string. On one side they have care instructions for my hand dyed clothing. The other side has the Bohemian Mermaid definition and my web site. When I sell something, the care card goes into the bag. I tell the customer that it contains care instructions and my web site. (I usually give them an info flyer as well.)

My business cards have my standard contact info, including my phone number, email, and mailing address. Many folks will ask you for a card just to have a reminder of you for later. I keep my business cards for actual business contacts; a shop owner, a fellow artist, a custom order request. The rest I give an informational flyer.

I think my flyers are the most important thing I give my customers at a show. On one side, I have my business name, a small color example of my work and a bit about me and what I do. I want them to remember why they asked for a card to begin with, since they will see many other booths that day. On the other side, I list my show schedule, retail outlets and web site. In fact, I think my web site is on both sides. Even if you just have your name, some clip art, and your etsy site... it's better than nothing. I have started to print my flyers on card stock, mostly as a better response to folks who ask for a 'card', but also because a card is harder to crush and toss away than paper.

When preparing for your first craft show, don't let your printed materials (or lack of) hold you back. I have seen people not sign up for a show because their logo isn't quite right. Ugh you're killing me. Your priority should be producing good work and figuring out a nice display. Just have a little something with your basic contact info (simple is fine!) to give out to your customers. You'll have plenty of time to add to them as you grow.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why I love Facebook Ads

I talk to a lot of artists and craftspeople, many of whom have Facebook pages for their businesses. I'm always a little surprised that they don't do Facebook ads. I think to most people, the whole process is pretty mysterious. I don't claim to be an expert, but I can say after some trial and error... they are cheap to run, very easy to point at your specific target market, and have served me pretty well. 

Cheap you say? Yes. When I run an ad before a sales event, ie craft show, I usually spend $10-$20 for a week. The cool thing about FB ads is that you set your own daily spending limits. You do need to check that number each time you edit your ad, it will default to some ungodly number automatically. I believe the trick to keeping the cost down is to choose the Pay per Impressions option. This charges you each time your ad is shown 1000 times. Usually less than .50. Hey now! I did try the pay per click, and I found they only showed my ad a few hundred times or less per day. No bueno. I don't pretend to know exactly why that is... but I assume I'm competing with higher bids for the same demographic, not sure. All I know is when I set my ad for impressions, it is shown thousands of times per day for the same fee.

Since my ad will be shown a lot, I make sure all the pertinent info is in the ad itself... name, date, location of the event where I'll be selling. That way, even if they don't click, they have me in their brains. 

Probably the best thing about FB ads is the ability to point it toward exactly the audience I am trying to reach. I choose to target only women over 25, within a certain radius of the location of my event. In this example, I'm doing a show in Kelseyville, CA which is near Clear Lake. Since I've done shows there before I feel like this is a good way to target, keeping it within 50 mi of the town. By adding Santa Rosa, I could double the audience, but I'm not sure I'd reach people who might actually go the the festival. So I decided 98k was plenty. 

The last time I went to this area for a show, I ran a similar ad and spent about $10. I only got 2 page likes from it... but one of them came to the show and spent $150. Bam! This is why I tell my vendor friends to give it a try. It only takes one customer to make it pay off.

Also, since opening my little shop, I run ads off and on geared toward local ladies. I have added a couple hundred *local* likes to my page just by paying $1 per day. I'll do a week or two on, then off. Change garment photos and try again... focus on towns north or south of me, then back on my town. I usually get a few likes per day for my one dollar. Not a bad deal!

So, I encourage you to give FB ads a try. Set a spending limit, do some experimenting and see what works for you!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wait, Have I Mentioned My New Store?


A lot happened I guess while I was away from my beloved blog. In November I opened a tiny store front in downtown Eureka, CA. I guess it was about a year before that when I started fantasizing about it... a place where I could sell my goods between festivals, even in winter when I usually pack all my stuff into boxes and get sad. A place where I could have some tiny bit of self discipline and a regular schedule to my work day. Something my husband thought I could never put up with... being tied to a thing like a schedule. Haha that is what I run from in normal day jobs, it's true. 

But this is mine. That's the difference. This is all me, my place, my work... even my schedule. I dare say it's the best day job ever. Well, because it's not a 'day job' it's just my job. I love it. 

It's still growing of course... I chose a location that is a little off the main shopping drag, but there is a lot of fun stuff happening in my neighborhood. A popular beer bar, a great pizza place, 2 big art galleries. And I am right next to the town's oldest chocolate shop. Hello! 

I also chose the tiniest retail space I have ever seen. They tell me it's 292 sq feet, but that is a generous evaluation. More like 250. But for me it is really perfect, it doesn't seem cramped at all. I even have a work table and have added artwork from local friends. Compared to my usual 10ft x 10ft space, it's great. I also knew that if I opened my first store in the middle of Old Town with 1500 sq ft... I would freak out trying to fill it and pay my rent each month. I feel much more comfortable starting small and growing slowly. That's how I roll.

My tiny clubhouse is perfect for me right now.

I have even hosted musicians during our monthly Arts Alive art walks, what a blast that is. I mean, it's much like being at a festival... some great music, drinks, selling my clothes, meeting folks. I really feel like since opening the shop - well, it feels like a creativity magnet. I am meeting so many interesting people, making new business connections, meeting more artists and musicians. Things are happening there.

I really love it. Have I said that enough? Here's a slide show I put together showing the evolution of my shop. If you are in the area, I hope you will come check it out. 511 6th St. (6th & F) Eureka.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Something fun happened to me because of this little blog... are you ready for this?? My goofy yet popular tutorial for making Beer Can Hats got the attention of one fabulous author in Portland. "Author of what?" you may ask, "A book about making stuff out of beer cans? Yeah right!" Yeah. Right! 

That's exactly what happened. The lovely and talented miss Shawn Gascoyne-Bowman asked me to contribute a couple hipper variations of my crochet can pattern to her book Beer Crafts. She even put one on the cover! I am famous as hell now. Or soon will be, so get ready. But seriously... this book is SO stinkin cool! So many creative projects that I can't wait to make. Far beyond your old beer cap earrings, way beyond.

Soon I will have these books for sale right here on my little blog thing. For now, please watch this book trailer video. This alone will show you the extreme levels of awesome this book reaches. So happy to be a part of it!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Start Selling at Craft Fairs #2: Booth Display

This is part two of a series of posts I'm calling (5 Steps to) Get Started Selling at Craft Fairs. Read Step #1: Find Your Shows.

 Booth Display

Figuring out a booth display can be a little overwhelming at first. So many options and issues to address. You might not have much product to display or money to spend. I suggest, for this reason and many more, you find a friend you can share space with. That cuts your booth fee in half, gives you less space to fill, and a helper during the show for breaks and whatnot. In time you will grow more stock and maybe a desire to fill a whole booth alone. Help and company are still nice to have.

Start by looking at other vendors' displays for ideas. You can find samples of booth setups all over the web, search for "booth shot" or "craft booth" on google or pinterest. If possible, attend some craft shows and pay attention to the displays of booths selling the types of crafts you make. Take notes, talk to vendors... but ask before taking photos, artists are touchy about that. Start with a few useful display pieces and assess after every show. As you make more things and do more shows, you will find the best ways to display your wares.

Walls or Tables
For my clothing, I use steel gridwall panels from a store supply place (another good source of ideas). They cost between $15-$20 each and come in different sizes and finishes. I like how flexible they are, how they use the space efficiently, offer tons of accessory options (hang rails, baskets, shelves, etc), and can hold a lot of weight. I would recommend walls for just about anything, even if you are a table user. They are a great way to use your vertical space. There are plenty of lighter and cheaper options like lattice and pegboard. Or fancier options like art panels.

For all the things you can't hang on walls, it's tables or shelves for you. My main advice on this subject is to use as much of your space as possible. As I discussed in my previous post, don't forget your vertical space!  Use varied levels of shelves, pedestals, racks and boxes. Whatever you do, please PLEASE I implore you, avoid laying all your goods flat on a table. Boooring! And hard to see walking by the booth. Do anything you can to add levels and interest to your table displays. The big thing here is that the shopper walking by in a crowd can easily see what you have for sale.

Keep it Clean
The main idea around your booth display is to show your work as clearly as possible. Try to balance your display between too cluttered and too sparse. You want to look full, but not messy or overwhelming. Any extra supplies, boxes, personal items should be tucked away as much as possible. All eyes should be on your beautiful goods. If you use tables, make sure the table cloth reaches the ground. You will want to store things under there and nobody wants to see your piles.

Please, puh-leeez, hang fabric backdrops to block out background clutter. As you look around at other booth displays, notice how many do not do this. It's really hard to focus on what's going on in there! In a pinch, the white walls that come with your canopy are okay, if you have lots of colorful items in front of them...but colored fabric looks so much nicer. I made my booth curtains out of cotton muslin which I dyed light purple. I sewed a casing at the top and bottom, and I run long bungees through them to attach to the canopy (I also added button holes at the center points for zip ties, to prevent sagging). If sewing isn't your thing, you can just clip and drape table cloths or big pieces of fabric onto the plain white walls. Trust me, it makes a huge difference.


Yes, You Need a Canopy
If you are doing outdoor fairs at all, you will definitely want a canopy. You'll quickly realize the benefit of shade, shelter from drizzle, and a more pro way to mark your space.  It's also essential for hanging curtains, banners, and products for display. Of course, at first when money is tight and the future uncertain... a cheapo tent is fine. I think my very first one cost $50. There are draw backs to the cheapo tent of course. Some are not that easy to put up, may have odd angles, and most are not meant to hold much weight. But overall, it can get the job done for the short term.

If you plan on long term selling, you will need to invest in a nice canopy. I have only used EZups and they have served me very well. I hang and strap lots of weight to mine, with no problems whatsoever, even in wind. AND I can put it up all by myself in less than 10 minutes. It cost me around $250 including the walls and carry bag, and has lasted for years. You can spend a lot more on fancier digs, but I wouldn't spend less if I were you. Beware! All canopies are not created equal! Here is one vendor's review of the Caravan canopies sold at Costco, which are about the same price. Do your homework and figure out the best canopy for your needs and price range.

The Layout
There are countless ways to lay out your racks and tables within your booth. How you decide to position them will depend on many factors. Overall, consider these aspects when creating your booth layout:

- Show your work in the clearest, best way possible. It should be easy for people walking by in a crowd to see what your are selling and what it does.
- Use all of the space you have. How can you push your display to fill the depth, height, and width of your booth area? Fill it up in an interesting way that shows off your goods.
- Traffic flow. Multiple people should be able to shop and talk to you easily. 
- Booth position at the show. Will you have an in-line space or a corner? If the booths are back-to-back, will that affect your storage or sitting position? 

I try to figure out my layout ahead of time as much as possible, to avoid pre-show freakouts and time loss. I use Word to create a top view sized to scale, then print it out for reference. Before your first show, I suggest setting up a trial run in your yard. You'll be able to take your time moving stuff around, make sure you have everything you need (tools, fasteners, etc), and really work out the kinks. Believe me, you'll sleep much better knowing you have a good plan. Also, most shows want a photo of your booth setup, so this is your chance to get a nice picture.

I like my tall chair in the back of the booth (side view). Out of the way, but I can see everything.
Don't forget to include a spot for you to sit in the booth. You should plan to be inside your official booth area (usually 10ft x 10ft), not every space has room to sit behind or to the side. My experience has been that many people don't like to enter a booth where the artist is sitting at the entrance. Some folks want to chat and meet you, some want to shop quietly and avoid your gaze. Give them a choice if you can.

Finally, walk by your booth as a customer. Can you tell what is being sold easily? Does it look pretty and inviting? Clean and uncluttered? Is there room for more than 2 people to shop at a time?

A Few More Tips
Get a sign of some kind with your business name, even if it's just printed from your computer. A large banner is ideal, which can be attached to the top front or back wall of your canopy.

Consider floor coverings. Shows on grass or indoor floors are great... but often a show is in an oily parking lot or a dusty field full of potholes. Carpets or mats create a nice finished 'store' look for your booth, and also a pleasant walking surface for your customers. 

If you have a small amount of inventory, figure out how to spread it out a little. Use props if you have room... like a mannequin, tree branch, or something that shows your work in action such as a small table setting for your pottery or woven place mats.  

Have fun!! The most important tip I can give you is to relax and enjoy your day in the sun. Admire your hard work and make notes for next time. Every show is a learning opportunity and your booth will change and evolve over time. Enjoy the process!