Today concludes a three-part series of posts discussing the ways you might be killing your craft show vibe. One of our AWESOME members, Miriam Dema, has some great strategy for staying mentally and physically healthy at shows. In parts one and two, she talks about her pre-show ritual and how she takes care of her physical self. Today shares some her most counterintuitive advice... and we think it's genius!
THE THIRD THING I DO TO HELP ME TO STAY HEALTHY IN BOTH SPIRIT AND BODY: Stay in a good frame of mind!
I don't keep track of how much I'm making in sales during a show. I don't count the money I'm making or keep track of the inventory I'm selling as I sell it. For me, knowing how much I am or am not selling directly shifts my ability to interact with customers. It's more important to me that I'm friendly with people and open with them about what I'm selling and answer any questions they might have than looking down at a pile of money or checking the tally on my phone.
A lot of people ask "How is it going for you" and my general response is "Great" because it is. Even if it's hot or people are being jerks. I'm there to share my products--if they buy something that's awesome! If not and they like my work then I make sure they have a business card to take with them. Who knows when they might need what I'm making.
Keeping track of how much money I am making or how many things I am selling shifts me out of being present at the show. When I put my brain in that direction I sometimes start comparing the show to others or I start comparing myself to other vendors. None of that is helpful for me so I just don't go down the path. All the money gets put away and all of the charges are processed and I don't look at the end of day totals.
If it's a two-day show I also don't tally up the money each night. That night between shows is for me-- for getting a good dinner, some down time and bit of rest. I go back again the next day with another packed lunch and fresh water.
On every Monday morning I already do a accounting review that includes various accounting like payroll and incoming/outgoing money. This is when I tally up the money and enter the extra costs like parking into a spread sheet. Only then do I know how well I really did at a show. By that point I can think clearly about what worked out at that show and where I might want to improve, but I'm not at the show doing that. I'm sitting at my desk usually making a list for the next show to refer to.
So there you have it--a few tips beyond the typical "don't look at your phone" or "bring more than you'll sell" (both of which are also awesome rules to go by).
For me, these things work and are really helpful. They separate the money away from the interactions and physical work that a handmade show can be. They mean I can really focus on the customers *and* making sure I stay healthy.
I have a really busy life, I run a full-time business that I own with my husband and I spend the rest of my time making art and various products to sell at shows and through stores. I've been selling at handmade shows since 2002 with my first few shows in San Francisco and Oakland and then since 2006 here in Southern California. I've sold at a lot of shows--from tiny little shows in peoples' backyards to bigger two-day handmade or art focused shows. For me, these are just a few of the things that help me to stay focused at shows and have a good time and more importantly make sure I'm still in good shape to get more done on Monday morning and that I've taken care of myself.
And that's it! Thanks so much to Miriam for sharing her wisdom. How do you take care of your physical self at shows? What do you think of Miriam's advice? Comment below!