The week prior to departure (or a few days before if it is short drive)
The show is quickly approaching and you have your list of what you want to purchase and it is prioritized and you know what other places are selling the item for. You are registered and ready to go, right?
There are a few more things to do before heading off.
What Not To Bring
Children if you can avoid it, especially if they are not interested in your art. Imagine your worst shopping trip with them and multiple that- hours in a hot room with lots of shiny pretty things they want to touch and nothing to do when they are bored-some of these shows mobile reception can be spotty and Free Wi-Fi nonexistent. And other non-party members/vendors are not there to watch your kids while you are shopping.
Uninterested parties- kind of on par with kids. It is hard to look and shop when you have people who have no interest and don’t want to be there. There is nothing to do and sometimes no place to sit. If they insist on coming, let them know you are there for a reason and it might take hours and recommend they bring a good book, mp3 player, their mobile well charged and some snacks and drinks.
Pets. Unless they are a certified service animal (and hence not really a pet), leave them at home. If they are service animals, make sure they have the proper gear on and bring your papers showing them to be a service animal-especially if they are small breed. Comfort animals, in most states, are not considered service animals and do not have the proper paper work. Facility management does have the right to not only request to see paperwork but to ask you to leave if the animal does not have proper certification or is being disruptive (acting like a pet not a working animal) but they should not be rude about it but act professionally. Also understand they maybe lacking knowledge about what is classified as a service animal by their state authorities.
Create a show folder
This is a simple folder (file, plastic, that cute Hello Kitty folder you acquired from your daughter)where you want to put all your documents: Bookings, tickets, pre registration confirmations, your shopping list, etc. You want to keep everything in one place this way you can just grab it and know everything you need is inside. It may not contain a lot of documents if you are going to a local show but everything is in one place. Also label the folder, life is so much easier if you don’t have to open every folder looking for information. If needed use sleeve protectors to separate documents but keep them in the folder.
Visit the show website again and see if any vendors have been added since your last visit. Sometimes regional vendors will decide to attend if there are tables available and their original plans fell through.
If you have a resale certificate, you want to print off several copies. How many? Look at the vendor list and print 1 for every vendor listed (or one for every vendor you are interested in) and a couple extra copies. This way if you see something, you have a copy. Honestly, some vendors just look at it and go okay, others want a copy. Also bring a copy in case the show wants one (if you are going to a wholesale show and are new the show will want a copy for their books). What you don’t use you file away for the next time you need one.
Remember if you end up using the beads for personal jewelry-you should sell them to yourself and pay the sales tax on them.
For the show, if you are one of them "I must have a huge purse with everything and the kitchen sink in it", you want to reduce your handbag to only the essentials and put them in a smaller purse-I prefer cross bodies for shows.
You want to bring a tote bag to carry your purchases, you can also use this to carry your notebook and water and snacks. You can also stick your purse inside if you want. I don’t recommend rolling totes, huge totes or backpacks. Some shows don’t want rolling bags because they do take up room and if they have a lot of people attending there is possibility of an accident. Huge Totes and Backpacks can be problematic because you have to be aware of what is going on around you so you don’t hit anyone or take out someone’s booth.
I also bring some folded totes (the small ones that you can easily toss in a purse) and some larger Ikea Ziplocs. This is in case vendors run out of bags or don’t bag their items, I can keep everything separated and contained. This makes it easier to know what you bought from a vendor than trying to remember the red red pearls I got here but the blue red pearls I got from that one.
Business Cards and Mailing Labels
Even if you are not in business, you should print up some business cards with your name, phone, email and website, if you meet someone you can easily exchange information with the business card.
Most vendors have mailing lists and will ask you to sign up for them. Instead of writing, print a sheet of small mailing label. I recommend having 2 different ones: one with your name, address and email and another with just your name and email. This is a lot faster than writing and, in all honesty, easier to read than most people’s writing. If you must write, write like you are a kid, in block letters over your normal handwriting. (I started in banking as a check processor so I have seen it all).
You want to also bring a small notebook, a couple working pens, and an envelope of some sorts.
As high tech as our world is today, most vendors work on the KISS principle for shows-keep it simple silly. You will not get an itemized receipt in most cases, heck you might be lucky just to get a receipt. Also items will not be labeled with what it is and the price on the item. So you will have to keep track of what it is and how much you paid. Do it as you are shopping rather than trying to remember it after you make the purchase. Don’t be afraid to ask what a stone called-they can all look the same and I have seen on a FB group twelve different answers when someone asked if they recognized the stone. At the top of your list put the vendor so you can remember where an item came from.
The envelope I use to put business cards and my receipts in them, so they are in one place. If you make a purchase put a business card in the bag and the receipt in the envelope.
Think about what you are going to wear to the show. You are going to want to dress in layers, so you can adjust your comfort level, and bring a light jacket in case it is cold inside (or at least a scarf). You should wear clothes that are comfortable both inside and outside. Wear comfortable shoes, there can be a lot of walking and definitely standing, while at the show.
Put all these items in one location, so you know that everything is ready to go. I usually put them in the tote I am going to use.
MOST IMPORTANT THING
If you plan on using a credit card and/or debit card-CALL your bank or the company and let them know you are going to a buyers show and that there will be charges from all over because of the vendors. Most of these vendors are from out of state, usually the first charge will go through okay but then ones afterwards could be rejected because they are coming from different parts of the country. The banks only know where the company putting through the charge calls home not where the charge is originating from. If your bank/company has good security protocols they will question a charge coming from North Carolina followed by California, etc. that is not originating from an online store.
Also use a credit card over a debit card, and only use 1 card-this way if there is a problem it only impacts 1 card. And a credit card not attached to where you get your day to day $$ from. If a bank has to reissue a card-it can take a week to get the new card.
If you are wondering why they don’t question some charges, if they are originating from the same state the system figures you are traveling and didn’t call them. This is not deemed as suspicious, especially if it goes through a large chain store. This is how credit card fraud people can get away with it, most only do one charge, which will not be questioned. It is when charges are coming from all over the country and not from a nationwide chain (aka Walmart) that alarms go off. The companies and banks leave it to us to monitor account activity and questionable charges.
Also it is important save receipts and business cards for account reconciliation, like many business a vendor can be operating under a DBA rather than the main company name. But on your statement it could be listed as the main company name without the DBA and if the names are drastically different you many not recognize it.
If you plan on only using cash, you still might to designate a card and call them, just in case you see something for a great price you did not plan on.