Long time blog readers may remember Patricia Baranyai's guest post some time ago where she shared her 5 Craft Show Tips for Creating a Solid Show Schedule. This Toronto-based vintage jewelry designer is a 25+ year veteran of 300+ craft shows in both the US and Canada. She has much to share in the way of tips and selling strategies to increase the chances of craft show success.

She has finally written a book, Craft Show Business: How to Sell Jewelry at Craft Shows, Maximize Sales and Minimize Risks . The book is currently on pre-order on Amazon.com for $5.97 to promote it before the release date. The price will go up to $9.97 on this Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 when it becomes available.  Just to clarify, you can read a Kindle book on any mobile device (smartphone or tablet) as well as the Kindle reader. Just download the Kindle app.

I received her book for review. It is substantial one at 336 pages, packed with a lot information and insight gained from her long years selling both at retail and wholesale levels.  The author makes a strong point with the Crapshoot part of her title. She not only wanted a chuckle or two but is also a way of stating that the success or failure of a craft show business need not be down to chance.

The chapters are as follows :
  • How to Choose the Best Craft Shows
  • Applying to Craft Shows
  • Show Preparations
  • Tax in, Tax on Top, No Tax
  • Permits, Registrations and Tax Filing
  • Practical and Safe Commerce
  • Making the Most of Your Shows
  • Merchandising Your Jewelry Line
  • Proven Selling Strategies
  • Pre-Show Marketing Strategies
  • Setting Yourself Apart from the Competition
  • Protecting Yourself and Your Product
  • What's Holding You Back

The author is spot on when she said, "Jewelry is the most over-represented category at craft shows, bar none. Unless you take the steps to increase your odds of getting your work noticed and into the best shows, it will be a slow road to building your show repertoire."  This has long been the case and will likely remain so in the future. She shares how she learned to make changes, develop the right habits, plan and even change her attitude before she could have a reliable business.

The first part of her book deals with where to look, how to research and choosing the right kind of shows and not necessarily just craft shows. Running a business involves some risk so her advice on taking the time to calculate risks and how to mitigate mistakes makes sense. She also stresses planning and perseverance. Her section on 24 Tips for Choosing the Best Shows is very useful as a checklist. It covers many factors that some may not think about.

Application to juried shows usually requires photo submissions so the author includes some general tips on photography. She uses a dSLR which is difficult to use well for most jewelry designers not accustomed to product photography.  She does not cover the increasingly popular smartphone photography - smartphone cameras are not only easier to use but the integration with social media apps particularly powerful.  She kindly mentioned my site and my jewelry photography webinar. In the interest of full disclosure, Patricia attended said webinar last year which is how I got to know her.

The book consistently came across as an in-depth guide to the craft show business.  Everything from booth design, booth location, preventing theft, time saving production methods, how to build a customer base to maximizing your year round income seems to be all covered and then some.  If a craft show business topic was omitted, I certainly couldn't find it.

I found her Show Preparations section helpful especially with these perennial questions : How much to bring? What to do if you don't have enough stock? Her Top 22 Display Tips had some fun suggestions for making your booth design stand out.  One very important topic was how to price correctly using a suggested formula and adjusting it. She followed up with how to avoid pricing pitfalls. Pricing low will inevitably mean you will be pricing yourself out of business.  Remember cheap prices implies low quality.

The tax chapter explains the pros and cons of either including the tax in the price or adding it on top as well as not charging the tax at all. She also includes her tips on how to make filing your taxes easier.  The chapter on permits and regulations was particularly intensive as it covers situations where you might want to sell in another province or state.

A substantial part of the book- approximately 40% - is devoted to selling strategies and it is what makes this book truly outstanding and unique for jewelry sellers especially those who haven't been in sales before. Selling is not only about demeanor but how to overcome the very commonly felt awkwardness of having to talk about one's own work. Not easy if you are shy.

So her Top 18 Starter Sales Tips are great! These are all about how to initially engage with potential customers without going into hard selling mode. Hard selling scares people away so it is important to be aware that you do not unintentionally do so. For example, nobody wants to know you have bills to pay.  It is not about you but about your customer. Patricia calls hard selling "red plaid suit selling" because it is reminiscent of 1970's car lot salesmen tactics!

Her philosophy throughout the book is about always using even negative circumstances to learn from and to change behavior. For example, in her early days, she confessed she got irritable if people milled around while she was setting up. Now she realizes those were missed chances to engage with potential buyers.

Her 23 Proven Sales Strategies cover a broader outlook. One very effective sales strategy (#9) mentioned which many of us already know is to Wear Your Work! You are your own walking billboard! Sales strategy #11 - Give Them a Reason to Buy Now listed 8 possible reasons you can give customers to encourage sales.

The book commendably even covers some of the emotional issues and how to deal with them - like rejection or being too hard on oneself! Designers are human after all. Common blocks  - the book lists 6 categories - such as the lack of confidence or always comparing yourself with others are things which could hold back sellers. I especially liked one particular point mentioned - taking personal responsibility when things don't go as well as you want.  It is indeed very common to hear people complain and blame others for failure and yet don't do anything to change their circumstances or way of doing things.

Another issue is how to set yourself apart from the competition. You have to be able to look at your own work without a personal attachment and see how you can improve.  It is important to grow as a jewelry designer as well so you can develop your own brand with distinctive collections and pieces which sell.

Some of the details in this book covers topics which might not apply to a newcomer yet - such as the hiring of help. But still invaluable to consider for the future especially if you continue to grow your business.

Highly recommended. A must read for any one serious about selling jewelry in person.

If you'd like to win this giveaway for a copy of Craft Show Business: How to Sell Jewelry at Craft Shows, Maximize Sales and Minimize Risks, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.  The book will be a hard copy if the winner is from North America. Otherwise it will be a Kindle download (the Kindle app on a mobile device will work - you do not need to have a Kinder reader) 

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, March 20, 2017. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!

I receive books and products for review.  I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

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