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Episode 76

Girl Gang Craft Podcast Episode #76 “tips for a successful craft fair season”
Solo Episode with Phoebe Sherman

Phoebe Sherman:
Welcome to the Girl Gang Craft Podcast where we dive in deep to all things business, wellness, creativity, and activism for artists and entrepreneurs. We talk with impactful female driven companies and founders for an inside look at the entrepreneurial experience where you'll come away with tangible steps to elevate your business. Are you ready? I'm your host, Phoebe Sherman, founder of Girl Gang Craft artist and designer, and marketing obsessed. We're here to learn together how to expand our revenue, implement new organizational techniques, and cultivate best business practices as we work towards creating a life doing what we love. Let's get started.

Hello Hello. Hey, creatives. Phoebe here. Welcome to the Girl Gang Craft podcast. Today we are talking about some things. We're talking about some things. And I'm trying out this new little corner. I guess we tried this last time for our solo episode. This new little corner in the office, and I'm just sort of laughing because I had this flashback moment to the pandemic when I used to really, really get dolled up for you all. Really did. Did the hair. Did the makeup. Did all the things. And I'm sort of laughing because I'm not so dolled up anymore and it's fine. My hair is like four days old,you know, It is my normal hair. We do have some makeup on. We do have some makeup on. And and yeah, we've really sort of cozied into the work-from-home-chic. So anyways, that's not neither here nor there. We're really unhinged today y’all. We are off the cuff today when I'm recording this. So like a week from when this goes live the week before TikTok was just banned in the house, the House just voted to ban Tiktok or yeah, they say either be banned or they have to sell it to another company. And this is for security reasons. I'm not going to get into all the little bits and pieces because quite frankly, I don't know all the bits and pieces.
But this is wild because A– there is some other things Congress should be working on. There are some other things our government should be doing for us. Like, this is the bipartisan thing that they've all agreed upon? It's outrageous. I mean, I don't really have time to be. We're not going into that right now. Instead, we're, of course, coming from the small business perspective and the marketing perspective. And this could be detrimental. Now, I don't know what's going to happen. You know, the Senate still has to pass it. You know, I don't I don't know the details about like how long they have to sell or I don't even know the likelihood of them selling. I don't know any of that stuff. But I do know that this is a reminder that we don't have control over these platforms. Now, whether you're someone who's been really successful on TikTok or medium or not, whatever, it will be detrimental to a lot of folks not– And there's such like a superficial thing about it, but actually it's so serious. This is a lot of people's revenue streams, whether they are, you know, selling something or selling their brand, as, you know, an influencer or creator or, you know, really tapping into TikTok shop directly or using TikTok as a way to sell their product. Regardless, regardless, this is really messed up on a lot of levels. So, so fun. Such a fun thing to talk about how, you know, the government doesn't care about small businesses. And I mean, also like my TikTok personally has been not hitting very well from my perspective. Ah, I mean, not from from actual facts. Our Instagram has been doing much better than TikTok, like we have been growing pretty decently on Instagram. That's a big, big shout out to Frankie, our social media manager. She really does a great job of getting new eyes on the page, like she's so good at that. So shout out to Frankie if you're listening and I'll tell you I'm shouting you out anyways. Frankie, but, and from my personal account as well, like that account's actually been growing and my views have been like, designed and people are seeing my content. And on TikTok, that is just not the case. I don't know if I'm alone in that. I don't know if other people are doing really well. But anyways, to have our sales and, you know, maybe some of that other stuff, our identity and our like self-worth and like some of that stuff wrapped up in these platforms can just be so taxing. It can be so heartbreaking. And I've been there. And also we have to like detach a little bit and realize that TikTok or Instagram or whatever platforms we're on that doesn't define our success. And that's so important. I'm going to say that again. Social media does not define our success. How we are perceived on social media does not define our success. Whether we get a certain amount of views or comments or engagement or sales directly from Instagram, that does not that does not define our success. And yeah, maybe the sales do define our success, but there are other verticals and other avenues to make those sales. And we're going to talk about it again because I always am talking about it like you need to be doing email marketing, period, period, period, maybe actually exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point. You need to be doing email marketing. If you are not, you need to start right now. If you are not, don't feel bad about it. It's okay. You're not alone. But it's time to start right now. And it doesn't have to be a huge undertaking. It has to be just started now. Throw your friends and families on there on your email list. Of course. Ask them, also, you know, maybe to note that maybe they aren't your target audience, but maybe they are. And start collecting the email addresses. Done. You need to do that because we have access to people directly through email and we don't have access to our customers directly through social media. We just don't. We could be, you know, whether or not Shadow Banning is real, which is, you know, a whole conversation in itself. Like we don't have direct access to our customers. If Instagram is hacked, if our Instagram is hacked, if the government shuts down, social media is I'm laughing because that's how I deal with things, right? This is terrible. This is terrible. You need to have other ways to connect to your customers. You need to have other ways to sell your products. Period. Email marketing. This is actually going to be a podcast episode about Craft Fairs, but we're going to just start with the stuff first. Okay. So we're talking about email marketing and we're talking about the TikTok brand. This quarter has been hard. I've seen it, I've heard it. I have seen it from big brands. All of these big brands have been on sale. All of their stuff has been on sale like all of quarter one. Like I– our product sales have been dismal, dismal, dismal, dismal. And even some of our launches have not gone as expected in terms of our classes. We could dive into all of that. Right. What's going on with the economy? What's going on with the state of the world, what's going on with this election and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah spiral? It's enough to really just really make you really discouraged. And so it's really important to find your why, why are you doing this? Why are you running your own business? For me, it's mostly freedom to not work another job. I want to be running this business because I don't like anyone telling me what to do. And you've probably heard that from me a million times, but it's literally true. I had like a little flu last week and guess what? I canceled some stuff. And no one, it didn't matter like I canceled since I moved some things early. And I have to ask my boss to take the day off like I was throwing up all day. Like, I don't need to ask my boss for a day off for that. You know, I did have to talk to my team and, you know, move a few things. And because of that, we had two interviews, podcast episodes in a row. If that's, you know, that's the new thing that we're doing, right? Interview and solo interview. None of you noticed, probably. I think actually I did say something in the last episode, but I can make these decisions and that's the number one reason I'm running my own business. And you need to figure out why you're running your business. Why are you doing this? Is it because you like making jewelry? Is it because, you know, maybe it needs to be stronger than that. And that's that's maybe a hard reality to hear, right? Why are you doing this? Maybe it should be a hobby. Maybe your crafting making should be a hobby.
If you don't want it to be a hobby, why is it going to be a business? Why are you getting up every day and doing this thing? Why are you carving out hours after work to work on this when you have a 9 to 5 and a million other responsibilities? Why are you running this business? Anyways. You need to find your way. And because it is sticky, it is rough out there. It is quicksand. Like you have to keep going and you need to keep on reminding yourself why you keep on going every day, every day. If you're a product based business. The other things that you need to be doing are wholesale. And I talked about this in the last episode too, about how to sort of price things, how to make things work. But wholesale is another way to create revenue. And I think it's really, really important, especially in some of these off quarters like quarter one, to have a wholesale plan to be seen in other retailers. This is not only a way to make more money, but this is also a way to get more eyes on your brand. Think for future customers, press, etc. making and making a statement, all of these things. And then also, if you're not thinking about brand partnerships and licensing, that's also something that you should be thinking about. How can you partner with organizations or other businesses? Licensing is particularly geared towards you 2D folks, I guess I don't know. I don't know about 3-D licensing, but like I'm thinking for greeting cards for, you know, notebooks like teaming up with Target to make a line, teaming up with Anthro.
It's sort of a cross between retail and brand partnerships. It's licensing, so you're not producing the product necessarily, they could be, but you are getting paid for your work. So thinking about these other realms of revenue is so important to make your business viable, period. My business would not exist without brand partnerships. And brand partnerships are keeping my team paid here at Girl Gang Craft, especially also in our off seasons. Right? Like quarter one is rough for us because we don't have our craft fair apps out and it's rough. It's rough quarter one, so thank god for brand partnerships. That has been a really fruitful and beautiful community driven way to to make revenue. And I met so many folks. I mean, specifically talking about Adobe. Adobe has been a lifesaver and a beautiful company to work with and I've met so many, so many beautiful other artists. That's what I'll have to say about that. So we talk about TikTok, then email marketing, wholesale thinking about brand partnerships and licensing. These are musts as you build your business, as you make your business viable, as you make your business able to support yourself, your family and your team, whatever that looks like for you.
But we're coming round the bend to craft our season and that is another really great option and opportunity for not only revenue but building community and building awareness about your brand. So we’re going to talk about craft fair stuff today, that is my specialty, right? I’ve run a craft fair sense 2017. So I've also participated and a lot of craft fairs as a business as well as a vendor. So I know about craft fairs. We have a craft fair e-book. You can find that at that's free to download. And I want to talk about thinking about craft fairs, not only as like your ROI like how much you're going to make after your booth fee, but I want you to think about it as a marketing experience as well. It's an awareness campaign. It's about getting your work in front of folks, whether they're going to be customers now, whether they're going to be customers later, or whether they're going to tell their friend about you or their cousin, whether there is a retail owner, whether there is a buyer from Urban Outfitters, whether there is, you know, some, you know, nonprofit organization that wants to buy out a bunch of whatever, whatever, you never know who there's going to be. And it's a really cool opportunity to get your work in front of all sorts of folks that don't already know you on the Internet. Not to mention, craft fairs can be really fun. It's a really cool opportunity to experiment and see how your items do and like who picks up what and what they pick up first.
And like if you rearrange this, does this make more of an impact? Not to mention you can connect with other makers and other vendors, which of course is one of the things that we want to facilitate more of at girl gang craft. I think girl gang craft in particular is a really beautiful space that facilitates, you know, craft fair camaraderie, if you will. We love the craft fair trade. We love, you know, sharing the the secrets and how everyone did. Right. I think it's really it's so important to connect with other vendors. I mean, this is literally how I built my business. I met other vendors, you know, Renegade and Oakland First Friday, and those are the vendors that were at the first GGC. So it's really important, though, that you find the craft fair that works for you because not every craft is going to work for you. Your product is not going to work in every city, it's not going to work in every location. And it's so important that you have an open mind and think about these as a marketing experiment, seeing again what folks touch, if the markets are good, fair, who else is at the market. And you're probably not going to know these things until you try it out. So it's important to have the sort of beginner mindset when you go into these spaces and like from market organizers perspective, like I appreciate that when you all are like open to, you know– there's so many variables, there's so many variables. So not only are you seen if the markets a good fit, but like then there's variables about the weather or like, I don't know, traffic or there was a, you know, so and so like this big thing was in town. So this didn't quite work out. You know, whatever. There's so many variables. So it's so important to have an open mind and maybe you have to try out a craft fair few times to see if it's a good fit or not. You know, there's so I just saw this video. I don't remember who posted it. I think I saved it.
So I can share some of those like I did $35 this year at this event. But the last year at the same event, I did 1200 dollars. So there's so many variables too about like where your booth is located. Right. And that's that's like here at GGC, it shouldn't matter where your booth is located because we really try to facilitate, you know, spaces where the audience can move in a certain way, but also at the same time, like sometimes audience just like all moves in the same way.
It's wild. There's, you know, there's all sorts of merchandising philosophies about people always go to the right first in stores, which I find it so fascinating. So thinking about like what you keep in different spaces, what you have, an eye level, what you have. So think of it all as an experiment. I mean, you should be thinking about your whole business as an experiment.
And yes, it's scary. Maybe it's your livelihood and you're trying to pay for stuff. If you don't think of it as an experiment, you're going to you're going to get hurt. You're you're going to get real hurt. So really trying to have an open mind when you think about these things. So finding a fair that works for you if you get rejected from a craft fair to keep trying. As a craft curator too, like we like to see your work, we'd like to see your journey. We like to see your work improve or your branding improve.
I guess we'll talk about what we're looking forward to when we pick vendors. We are looking for intentionality. We are looking for cohesiveness. Does your brand, do your products all come together to really speak about your brand? We obviously don't want any appropriation or copycats. We want you to have a good conversation going with your community, whether that's in the form of like whatever forms of brand identity. We want you to have a strong voice with your product. What else are we looking for? Your websites easy to navigate. Your social media is clear and concise. These are all things that we look at when we're juroring your applications. And I know, you know, different events are going to have different requirements and different things that they look for. But I think my guess is a lot of crafters would look for the things that I just spoke about as well. You know, trying out different size booths, trying out how you set things up. I do suggest you try to set things up here in your house or whatever at first or like outside in your yard, like see what things look like. Thinking about different pricing of items. Do you have sort of some like grab and go items? You have some more expensive items and like where do you place these things? And then how can you try to get people to buy more at one time? Like how are you upselling people? Can you add a sticker near your little cash register or whatever that sort of looks like right or near where you're checking people out? I've done buy to get one free for our pins almost the whole time that I had the pins. And that deal goes over really well. That always sort of brings the pin to more than one. If someone shows up with a pin and wants to buy one, I'm like, did you know that they're buy two get one free? And more times than not, they're like, okay, I'll do that. Is it? Or like, they'll ask you there with, Is there anyone else that we could buy this for? Or like, they're a good stocking stuffer or whatever. So thinking about how to get people to buy more at a time and like I do our stickers, two stickers are five or three for ten the same thing really is to buy 2 get 1 free. Yeah. And make sure that you're not on your phone the whole time and you're connecting with people. And I know if you're an introvert, there's some more hurdles to that. But again, you never know who you're going to. Me and I think it's really important to not only connect with your customers, but to also get feedback on your product as well. Like maybe they'll ask for a different color and like sometimes it's really annoying. Like, Uh no I'm only doing it this way, but like, maybe they're like, I didn't like this thing or like, I wish you had this. And that's it's all good feedback. And again, you'll never know who you're going to meet. Moving on to like load in, really making sure that you get load in and load out really optimized. I'm a big fan of Tupperware containers, big containers that stack. You know, I've done the boxes before, but the boxes, they don't close and they're not all the same size and that can be really annoying. And then it's also if you have the big containers, it's a really good way to store things at home, too. I like to think about how I could use display items also in my house as well, or like having them easy to access somewhere.So thinking about like how you get in from your house to the event and that includes thinking about wagons or carts. I'll link our Amazon storefront too to this episode and we've like picked out all of our favorite craft fair display items and get a wagon. It's the best thing you'll ever do, I promise. Get a wagon for your craft fairs and then your car. So, like, you're going to want to make sure that not only do you have things that are light and easy to move around, but you also want to make sure that all fits in your car or like you borrow a car or like you have a rental van. I love fold up things. I have these like QVC shelves that are really big, but they fold up. And so I just stick that in my car. You want to have we call it our little Tetris. I have a Honda Fit shout out to honda fit. They're they're extinct now, unfortunately. But I would love to get sponsored by a future Honda Fit that's maybe environmentally friendly. Actually, the honda fir is very environmentally friendly, but it's just not electric. I would love like a little hybrid. Anyways, this is not a car commercial, but I love my car and I can fit so much in the back with the seats down. So thinking about like you're in the market for a new car, how can you make it work for you, for your business? Just thinking about how are your prices listed?
What sort of signage do use? Is your brand really clear and how are you directing people? You know? Are you showing that you have buy 2 get 1 free? Like you can literally spell it out with both your voice and a sign like add this to your order. Like you can literally say that on a sign somehow or like make it a double. I don’t know, something like that. Grab a keychain for your bestie. I don't know. Like you can literally direct folks just kind of like you would with content, right? With a call to action. Like you can do that within your booth. Thinking about taking it full circle back to email marketing. Like, are you collecting email addresses? Furthermore, how are you collecting email addresses? So like you could just say, “sign up for our email list”, but that's not going to be as effective as “sign up for our email list for the chance to win this thing” or “sign up for our email list and you get 20% off in person right now.” Or “follow us on Instagram and be entered into this raffle. Like you can do these things to encourage your customers to find you elsewhere.” And I think that's really important. Like, you definitely want to make sure like your coffee is a funnel, it's bottom of the funnel. You're finding these leads, you're finding these random customers that are just walking through the craft fair, right, that you don't have connection with before and you are moving them elsewhere onto yout Instagram, onto your newsletter, onto your site, right? You want to nurture these relationships.
I feel like that's all I have to say right now. We can pop into like, make sure you have snacks, make sure you have water, make sure you find out where the bathroom is. You know, I've heard people some crafters like have people walking around to like, make sure that you can go to the bathroom. Like maybe you have an assistant that day. Maybe you just leave the space and ask the vendor nextdoor to keep an eye on your stuff. I've done that so many times, you know, I can always have someone else there at the booth with me here in Salem. It's. It's a madhouse, too. So, like, maybe my husband comes with the dog for a little bit, and then, like, maybe I'm by myself. I don't know. I always try to find the secret bathroom, like, closest bathroom to you. And there is a skill to that for sure. But, like, make sure, like, you build a relationship with your neighbor, keep an eye out for weather. You know, Listen to what your craft fair curator says to you about tents and weights and all that good stuff. And, you know, maybe you might even have to decide to bow out of the craft fair if it's a rainy day making these decisions intentionally. Yeah, treating it all as an experiment, I think is so important. Being mobile, thinking about your booth display, thinking about how you're going to get things to the space and trying new things, whether it's new products or arranging things differently or new offers and having fun with it and talking to everyone. Okay, I think that's it. At the time of this podcast going live, you have one week to apply to our events. All of our spring and summer events.Give a little bit more time to apply for Sac. So the next deadline is for Salem and Providence, so make sure you get those apps in. We have our Mother's Day guide. Everyone gets into the Mother's Day guide, so you can just opt into that. It is a small fee to participate and you get your work in front of shoppers who are shopping for Mother's Day. So check that out and then make sure you get our Craft Fair e-book. It's free. and you can always message us with any questions.
If you like this episode of Please share with everybody, Share on Instagram, write a review, give us five stars pretty please and thank you for listening. Take care.

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