Craft Show Questions

Business By pj22 Updated 5 Sep 2011 , 6:52pm by pj22

pj22 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 2:03am
post #1 of 29

Hi Everyone!

So I just signed up for a booth at a holiday craft show happening for the first time ever. They do not know how many people to expect and how the outcome will be.

I am totally new to the business and saw this as a great opportunity to break into the market and get word out about my business. I got a 10x10 booth for $30 so it was a good deal I suppose?

I have the following questions and would really really appreciate guidance from all of you out there. Thanks so much for reading and answering!

1. I am thinking of making vanilla, chocolate and red velvet mini cupcakes, about a 100 of each flavor. It is totally a shot in the dark and I have no idea if I will sell out or have lots left over but is this a good number to go with? I am also planning to make 3 - 12x18 sheets of brownies.

2. I am completely confused about display and packaging. I plan to cling wrap individual brownies pieces and display them but what should I do with cupcakes? I want a cute eye-catching display so I wanted to make my own display stands like these: http://www.cakejournal.com/archives/how-to-make-a-cake-stand-for-cupcakes-or-mini-cakes but can I leave the cupcakes out and sell from there? The show will be from 10 to 3 pm.

I really want these stands with the domes http://www.flickr.com/photos/houseofsweetsbakery/2635589336/

http://www.classichostess.com/terrasetoftwocupcakestandswithdomes.aspx

but I will be left with these expensive ones with no use later as I don't really have a client base or a store front. Can I find these domes cheap somewhere? I'm planning to visit thrift stores but any place else?

3. If I sell cupcakes from the stands, I was thinking of handing a cupcake and a paper napkin. Will that be ok? For people wanting cupcakes to go, I was thinking of placing each cupcake in a clear plastic cup and sealing the rim with cling wrap. Will that work fine?

4. I want to display some dummy cakes and a cupcake bouquet but want them placed high. What can I use to make a taller display towards the back wall?

Sorry for the long post but this is my first time doing something big and I am excited and confused!!


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28 replies
weidertm24 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 2:19am
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well I don't have an answer for all your questions but I remember seeing this stand at walmart one day it's not super expensive and you can definitely reuse it.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Anchor-Hocking-Canton-Cake-Set-2pc/14940776

pj22 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 2:48am
post #3 of 29

Thanks weidertm24! That looks cute... maybe I can buy a couple of those?! and use cupcake stands for more cupcakes since they add to the impact of the display... but can I serve them from the open stands or do they need to be covered?

Looking for more answers.. thanks so much!!

jules5000 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 2:51am
post #4 of 29

Hey, I took a look at the cake domes and the cake rounds and they are both really nice. I think that your display would look nice with either one if you take the time to play up which ever one you decide on. I really think that you also ought to look into what your state's law is about selling food at events like this. If there is no problem with displaying either way then go the cheaper way and play it up as much as possible. If you could afford the cake domes and platters I think that, that would tell the people that you care about not only freshness, but also a more sanitized display as well as very pretty way to display your goodies. If you don't have the money for the domes don't do it, but if you are just trying to save a little here and there I think that you ought to reconsider the old saying that it sometimes takes spending some money to make money.

Also, while you know your own town better than anyone else on here does, I am sure that you could probably find out from one of the box companies some recommendations as to what they would use if it were them. Tell them what you are doing and what you want to do as far as packaging and that you are doing mini cupcakes. Future business interest.

Also were you going to ice and decorate your brownies in any way? or just sell them indiivdually? They may not be the kind that need iced. I think that to wrap these in a clear wrap would be fine, but if at all possible do as much toward presentation as possible even in the way you send the to-go items. People remember stuff like that. I hope that you are going to have quite a few business cards printed up and with you. Even if they don't buy now or at the event, they will remember your booth and possibly buy later if you have a way they can contact you. You do not have to spend money having them printed by someone else. you can do them yourself on your home computer with a printer. it will be a lot more economical. Best Wishes and let us know how it went.

scp1127 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 3:06am
post #5 of 29

Your HD will be very specific as to how they can be served. Look to them for those answers.

pj22 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 3:12am
post #6 of 29

Thanks so much jules5000!! I really appreciate the advice and guidance! Yes, I think I will get 3 domes since I am serving 3 varieties of cupcakes and just keep refilling them as they sell (hopefully!!) I am licensed and insured so I can sell at craft shows and markets.

I did not quite understand what you meant by future business interest with regard to box companies. Box companies as in larger retail stores?

I am not going to ice the brownies and will wrap them up. I wanted to do a holiday-themed stencil with powdered sugar on top but I don't think I can wrap them then right?

What do you guys think about packaging ideas for the cupcakes? Just a napkin and a cupcake will do right? And I will put them in clear cups for those buying more.

I am going to print business cards at home and also order a banner online to hang at the back. I really want to make an inviting display of my products so please share your ideas!!

Thanks!

cakestyles Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 3:36am
post #7 of 29

I personally would do regular sized cupcakes. I've done a number of holiday craft shows and cupcakes are a great seller.

300 minis would be a lot of work compared to say 150 reg size cupcakes and I think the larger ones would sell better.

I prepackage each cupcake...I thought I had a photo on this laptop but I don't.

What I do is purchase 6oz clear plastic cups and covers at BJ's (I believe there are 500 in a case)

I place the cupcake on the cover and than use the cup as the dome over the cupcake. I don't trust that the cover will stay put so I tape it with a small piece of tape on each side.

I hope I'm not confusing you. Picture a covered plastic cup but upside down with a cupcake inside.

It protects the icing on the cupcake and they're easy to pack for transport in a large box because you can stack them without damaging the icing.

Another great seller...decorated cookies, individually wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with a ribbon.

I wouldn't just hand over a cupcake on a napkin.

pj22 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 3:53am
post #8 of 29

Thanks for the ideas cakestyles, I know what you mean.. I have seen pictures of that packaging. It is just that I did not want to buy a whole lot of containers and not sell anything since this is the first time they are having this show.

I was thinking the mini cupcakes would sell better than the regular ones! I was planning to sell them for a $1 each. Anyone else has any input on this? I was planning to price the brownie pieces and the mini cupcakes for a $1 each to ensure sales. I hope this pricing is ok?

scp1127, great advice.. I will call them after the long weekend to find out.

Any ideas on setting up a tall display towards the back wall? I want it to be eye-catching.

CreativeCakesbyMichelle Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 5:11am
post #9 of 29

For the cake stands I'd also suggest looking on craigslist. I've seen several on there before in my area. And also yard sales if you have the time, especially ones that say they have lots of kitchen stuff. A lot of my cake pans and decorating things came from a yard sale of someone that used to do catering. Also, you might find something on ebay that you could use.

For the clear cup suggestion you can buy them at a wholesale store like Sam's Club, Costco, or BJ's (not sure what you have there) and ask them if you can return any unopened boxes in case you don't need that many.

pj22 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 2:25pm
post #10 of 29

I guess I'll do that then.. buy clear cups and place the cupcakes in them once the customer buys them. I will serve from the domed displays.

How do I set up a display that is eye-catching and visible from far?

And another important thing I had in mind was: Which is the most desirable spot in the fair... towards the middle? Or with back to the wall? They are going to spread out the food vendors and I asked for a spot with the wall at the back so I could put up my banner.

Thanks for all your help guys!!

CreativeCakesbyMichelle Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 7:57pm
post #11 of 29

The location really depends on how the space is set up. Your main thing is to be in a major traffic area. If you are familiar with the building it will be in or can find a floorplan I'd look for an area that's going to have the most people passing by, like near the entrance. I have a family member who does a craft fair in Gainesville, FL every year around November and one year they were off in a side area that a lot of people didn't even go into.

What kind of space are they providing? Is it just a 10x10 area marked off on the floor or are they any walls or structure to the space? That will make a major difference. At the craft fair my family member does it just has a marked off space. They have to bring their own tables and some vendors even have their own structures with walls and stuff to enclose their space.

CreativeCakesbyMichelle Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 8:05pm
post #12 of 29

Here's a link to a page that shows how to make a cheap backdrop for you booth out of PVC pipes that you hang fabric curtains from. Just in case you might need something like that.

http://www.civfed.org/fairboot.htm

kakeladi Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 8:28pm
post #13 of 29

As someone pointed out you know your town/area much better than we do.
Ihave done many craft shows and find only small, individual pieces sell - not whole cakes icon_sad.gif Just a couple of yrs ago there were ladies who did 8" pies and sold them for only $3 and $4! They also had decorated 4"? sugar cookies for $1.50 How could they even break even much make any profit from those prices? And I was trying to sell mine for $5 icon_sad.gif Needless to say I didn't do well.
I would never make 300 cuppies - even if they were minis but then again you know your area better.
As someone pointed out where you are located in the show have a HUGE bearing on how well you do.
See if there is any way you can work w/the committee who is asigning the spaces.
Also check w/the HD. You may find that you *must* put each in a lidded cup or wrapped individually. You don't want to be closed down by the HD--- and they DO check out such affairs. At least they did in CA and IN where I participated. Yes, some of the HDs are being lienient these days about letting people do food at craft shows but others will throw the book at you.

Mammadukes Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 8:31pm
post #14 of 29

Sorry to high jack the tread but I am also doing craft shows again this year and was looking for ideas on how to package the cupcakes ( I usually only do lollipops and candy ) and was so glad when I saw this thread and I would also like to thank Cakestyles for the cup idea and I got what you meant it was not confusing at all Lol I never thought of putting them in upside down can't wait to go to my local restuarant store to check out the cup supply now thanks again : )

jules5000 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 9:42pm
post #15 of 29

pj22, what I meant by future business interests was that to just hand someone a cupcake on a napkin is very minimal and unless they were planning on eating it right there does not give them any options on how they can carry it out of there. So they might as well just eat it there and throw their napkin in the trash. If it was great and they wanted to get ahold of you, how would they do it? If you made reg. size cupcakes and I saw that suggested, as I had wanted to tell you before that you could put them in a single cupcake box w/ insert and put some kind of sticker/label on the box that would let them know how to get ahold of you. your packaging says everything about your business that they want to know besides that your product is good. If your product is great and they have no clue how to get ahold of you to place an order how do you get future business opportunities? Also have some busniess cards. These two ideas: business cards and a label on a container were what I was meaning by future business opportunities. Hope this is clearer than mud?

pj22 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 11:42pm
post #16 of 29

Thanks so much everyone for the input!

I am discussing the position of my booth so I think I'll choose the spot near the entrance so I am visible.

They are having a huge gymnasium type of hall with no walls, just an open arena. They said we could set up 7 feet tall "walls" but I requested my booth with the back to the wall so I could put some banners and lights. Thank you so much for that link... I was searching for something like that but couldn't find anything on how to set up a frame. I really appreciate your help Michelle!

I'll make 150 mini cupcakes and three 12x18 sheets of brownies and wrap them up by the slice. Even if I sell out, I'll hand out cards and flyers. I was thinking of decorating some cupcakes in Holiday themes and sell them for $1.25 or $1.50 and sell plain frosting swirled ones for $1 each. Don't want to do expensive stuff.

Jules, I totally understand what you meant now! Stickers are a good idea and I'll order some but is anything cheaper out there than Vista Print?

I also really need a reliable frosting that does not take too many expensive ingredients to make and tastes good. How about "mock bettercreme"? Can it stay out??

Thanks for all the helpful advice!!

scp1127 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 11:54pm
post #17 of 29

Instead of stickers, use business cards attached with double-sided tape so that they can be saved.

And please remember that when you use artificial products, they taste artificial. There is no getting around it. Is this the taste you want potential customers to associate with your baking? If I taste a product that is artificial, I don't give the baker another chance.

MimiFix Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 12:02am
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi


I have done many craft shows and find only small, individual pieces sell - not whole cakes icon_sad.gif Just a couple of yrs ago there were ladies who did 8" pies and sold them for only $3 and $4! They also had decorated 4"? sugar cookies for $1.50 How could they even break even much make any profit from those prices? And I was trying to sell mine for $5 icon_sad.gif Needless to say I didn't do well.




One of the problems with selling baked goods at crafts fairs is that they are not usually regulated so anyone can set up a booth. This entices vendors who have very little experience and lack the skills to price their goods properly. Their low-cost products compete with those from people who have priced their goods to include cost of ingredients, labor, overhead, etc.

My first year in business I did a couple of craft fairs and both times there were other vendors who sold cheap products and sold out immediately. On their way out these folks would stop by my table to complain that they'd made no money and would not do this anymore. In the meantime, I lost business to their cheap prices. So I stopped selling at craft fairs. Depending upon where you live, you might be better off trying to secure a table at the farmers' market or a greenmarket.

tbkimber Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 9:48pm
post #19 of 29

I am so glad I found this post! I am planning on a couple of craft shows this year but I am trying to get ideas and make sure I have all of my ducks in a row for our Farmers Market next year.

I went to our Farmers Market yesterday just to check out what everyone else was doing and I got a lot of great ideas of what and what not to do. There was a lady selling cupcakes and this is what she was doing. She had a table with three glass cake stands with the dome and she had 5-6 cupcakes on each one. She had different sized boxes on the table covered with cloths and the cake stands were on those. It gave the display an interesting and varied look. She had three different flavors but she also had some different toppings in squeeze bottles that she could add to change flavors like caramel, butterscotch, chocolate and strawberry sauces. The cupcakes on the stands were just decoration. She had one plastic box container full of each flavor on her side table (with the toppings) that she was serving out of. She had the rest of her cupcakes in the plastic boxes in coolers with ice packs in the bottom that way she could keep the icings cool so when she emptied the one on her table she would just grab a box out of the cooler. She was going through them fast enough that the ones on the table were only out of the cooler for 15-20 minutes. The size of her cupcakes was between a mini and a regular size and she was charging $1.50 for one and $6.00 for 6. I bought a red velvet with cream cheese icing and it was ok. The cake was just a little bit over baked. It was not burnt and it was still soft but it was a little dry. Over baked cake is a pet peeve of mine so I am really picky but it was not too dry to keep me from eating it all. icon_lol.gif She handed out the cupcakes with just a napkin and it was hard to juggle it along with the tote bag I had with my other purchases so I think the upside down cup is a fabulous idea. It would have made it easier for me to get it back to the car.

Good luck at your show!

cakestyles Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 1:14am
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mammadukes

Sorry to high jack the tread but I am also doing craft shows again this year and was looking for ideas on how to package the cupcakes ( I usually only do lollipops and candy ) and was so glad when I saw this thread and I would also like to thank Cakestyles for the cup idea and I got what you meant it was not confusing at all Lol I never thought of putting them in upside down can't wait to go to my local restuarant store to check out the cup supply now thanks again : )




Oh you're very welcome!

southerncross Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 2:07am
post #21 of 29

I'm not doing a craft fair or anything near that but I have to chime in to say what a wonderful thread this is. A perfect example of how delightfully helpful most people on this site are to one another. It reminds me of why I love all of you and your thoughtful, generous and supportive posts. ... Thank you all for being you.

MimiFix Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 2:32am
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross

... I have to chime in to say what a wonderful thread this is. A perfect example of how delightfully helpful most people on this site are to one another. It reminds me of why I love all of you and your thoughtful, generous and supportive posts. ... Thank you all for being you.




Are you trying to hijack this thread? icon_smile.gif

southerncross Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 2:41am
post #23 of 29

Who me??? (looks around sheepishly and slowly backs out of the room)

Mammadukes Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 1:10pm
post #24 of 29

LOL too funny : ) : )

LorienSkye Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 1:53pm
post #25 of 29

Hi there!
There have been SO many great ideas in this thread, but I just wanted to add my $.02 because I have a few large expos coming up in the next couple of months that I have put ALOT of prep into and I think I've learned some great things. I can't agree enough with those that have suggested individual packaging. Here is my plan:

I will have 1 table in the front of my booth and 1 along the back wall. The front table is going to have a domed glass display (very similar to the Wal-Mart one someone posted) with 1 of each type of cupcake being offered as a display only. I will also have a couple of display cakes on pretty stands as well as literature about my business. The back table will have the actual product for sale, already individually packaged in boxes and stacked attractively. I am doing it this way so people and kids can't grab the cupcake boxes and walk away with them, shake them, turn them upside down, etc. You can purchase single cuppie boxes online from efavormart very cheaply but it makes your business look very professional and will attract the clientele you want (ie: people who are willing to pay "custom" prices and as such expect top-notch quality and display). The cost for 100 boxes is $30, so you
only need to add about $.30 to the price of each cupcake to cover the cost of
very nice packaging. Make sense? I also plan to have my digital photo frame set up with a slideshow playing of some of my previous work for people to see. Also, I just hit a weekend sale with Vistaprint and ordered 1500 business cards for around $25. It's hard to make th that cheaply and they look great and professional, so you may want to check it out!

In any event, good luck and HAVE FUN! I know I'm looking forward to my shows icon_biggrin.gif

jules5000 Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 2:51pm
post #26 of 29

pj22, scp1127 has an excellent idea on the double sided tape thing so the customer can take the business card with them. scp1127, just some questions about that. Do you make the customer aware that they can take the card off the box? and also when it is taken off is the back of the double sided tape still sticky or has it grabbed some of the box with it? I know that there are probably several types of double sided tape out there, but one type that I have on hand would be strong enough that you might think it was permanently on the box. Just curious as to what type you use?

scp1127 Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 3:47pm
post #27 of 29

Jules, I had to try several different tapes to get it right. I now use the Scotch one with the yellow packaging. On samples, I put it on top of the condiment or 9 oz cup and the edges stick over the sides. It looks like it is meant to be pulled off. On the box, my box is glossy, so it comes off easily. I don't know how many save them, but I think that if someone likes the product, they make an attempt to save the information. So if they start pulling the card off and see how easy it is, they can see that the tape will come off the back of the card just as easily. I only use about an inch of tape, so it is obviously a temporary attachment. The card is not damaged at all. I buy premium glossy cards, but I have two grades. One for random samples and that can have a pile left at an event, and the other I use when I am reaching my target market.

By the way, check with your HD about an allergy warning. Samples and packaged sales to the general public can fall under different labeling rules. You may need to also add the weight and name and address of your business anyway. I do in MD and WV. Our cakes don't count as packaged when they are in a box. But put them in a container and sell them to the public, and new rules may apply. For my cups, I had address labels printed. The one line across the bottom states the allergy warning. The rest of the label is available to write the name of the product. I place this around the lower part of the cup and the business card is on top of the container.

pj22 Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 6:52pm
post #28 of 29

Omg, all you guys are so so helpful. I really appreciate all your suggestions and advice. I agree with southerncross about how helpful everyone is at cakecentral. We are lucky to be part of such a wonderful community.

I liked the efavormart boxes so I'll get either those or the transparent upside down cups to package. Thank you tbkimber.. I got your PM and this message icon_smile.gif

scp1127, by mock bettercreme, I did not mean artificially flavored frosting! I think the recipe uses butter, sugar, flour and milk. I read good reviews about it so I was asking out here if anyone used it in such a setting.

Any suggestions for a good frosting that can stay out for long? I don't exactly like crusting buttercream or anything overly sweet.

pj22 Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 6:52pm
post #29 of 29

Omg, all you guys are so so helpful. I really appreciate all your suggestions and advice. I agree with southerncross about how helpful everyone is at cakecentral. We are lucky to be part of such a wonderful community.

I liked the efavormart boxes so I'll get either those or the transparent upside down cups to package. Thank you tbkimber.. I got your PM and this message icon_smile.gif

scp1127, by mock bettercreme, I did not mean artificially flavored frosting! I think the recipe uses butter, sugar, flour and milk. I read good reviews about it so I was asking out here if anyone used it in such a setting.

Any suggestions for a good frosting that can stay out for long? I don't exactly like crusting buttercream or anything overly sweet.

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