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1  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Moreos! on: October 11, 2011 09:17:40 PM
I have made a very similar recipe except you stuff a s'more inside the cookie dough.  Yes...that's right...an entire s'more.  Quarter of a graham cracker, one marshmallow (cut it in half first so it covers the whole cracker), three pieces of Hershey's chocolate, and another graham cracker quarter.  Wrap in chocolate chip cookie dough.  Make lots of friends.

Here's the recipe:  http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2011/03/31/smores-stuffed-chocolate-chip-cookies/

But I have to say...I probably like oreos even better than s'mores, so I have got to try your recipe as well. Cheesy
2  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: New to all of this! on: October 05, 2011 09:30:22 PM
If you are in the U.S. (just noticed you said Florida...) then yes, you will need to get a tax permit.  It should not be too hard to obtain, try searching for "Florida sales tax permit" or something similar, or check at a library for reference documents, or ask the person who invited you to her show or another vendor.  If she says you don't need anything, be sure to ask her about a state sales tax permit.  If she still says you don't need one...check with someone else.  I am only really familiar with my state's laws (Texas) but as far as I know, every state requires that you obtain a sales tax permit to sell, and then to report and pay sales taxes.  I don't really want to get into how it's done here since it might be totally different in Florida and I don't want to start you off with false information.

Vending is a lot of work but, to me at least, is very rewarding.  Remember to expect the unexpected for your first show or three, and that diving in head-first is the best way to learn.  There will be bumps along the way and you will have to improvise but things will work themselves out.  Have fun and good luck!
3  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: first craft fair on: September 21, 2011 03:45:39 PM
Do you have a tent or canopy you're going to set up?  Some shows that are outside require this but others do not.  If you bring one and it doesn't have sides, you might want to bring a sheet or blanket or something to put up to block the sun.  We are getting into fall so hopefully the weather will be nice wherever you are but if it's really sunny and you are not under a tree or other shady area, it could still get warm or you could just be dealing with the sun in your eyes all day.

Also, do you have something to weigh the tent down with?  I have a set of 4 5lb weights, one for each corner pole of the tent, but even those are not enough when it's really windy out.  A good, cheap way to secure your tent is with milk jugs full of water or sand.  Start collecting them so you have enough for at least 1, preferably 2 per corner.  You could also invest in stakes but if your both is on a paved surface, or even in gravel or hard packed dirt, it could be impossible or very difficult to get stakes in the ground.

Sorry if these seem obvious but these are things I learned doing my first outdoor shows.  One of our first outdoor shows was REALLY windy and our tent literally almost blew over a few times, even with the 5lb weights on each corner.
4  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: first craft fair on: September 15, 2011 08:48:52 PM
Hi!  First, good luck on your craft fair!  Your stuff is really cute!  Your first show will be a real trial run to see how you want to set your booth up, what sells, what doesn't, etc.  Do not get discouraged or disappointed if things do not go as you hope or plan; there WILL be surprises along the way!  It is a learning experience.

Okay, a few questions:

Indoor or outdoor?
Are you renting a single table, or a space (like a 10x10ft booth space)?
If you have a booth space, are you bringing your own table and chairs?  What other display items do you have?

I do a lot of indoor conventions where I am only allowed ONE table, whatever size the convention gives me (usually 6ft long by 2-3 ft wide, which really isn't much.)  I've learned to build vertically.  I have a lot of wire cubes that I use to make pillars on my table so I can hang stuff off of them.  If you have multiple tables you will have better opportunity to spread out.

Whether you will be too cluttered, depends on how much space you have and how much inventory you have.  There are ways to have a lot of stuff without it being cluttered, you just have to be inventive about your setup.  Definitely walk around the show, and any show that you go to, whether you're a vendor or a customer, and see how other people set their booths up.  You can get a lot of good ideas by observing others.

As far as engaging the customer, be friendly and polite.  If someone is eyeing your booth from a little ways away, say hello to them.  Even if people are just walking past my booth, sometimes I say hi in passing.  Definitely if someone comes up to your booth and starts checking your stuff out, absolutely greet them, ask them how their day is, if they're having fun at the fair, etc.  Offer to answer any questions they have.  If they are looking at a particular section (like the baby clothes) start talking about them, saying what they're made out of, how they fit, why they're great, etc.  Sell yourself.  One of the most annoying things that I find about sellers are the ones who sit in their booth and watch you while you look around without saying a word to you.  Perhaps this is personal preference but I always do well when I chat people up.

Um, hm.  There's a lot I can say.  A few general tips:

Make sure you have a lockbox and starting change.  You don't want to be messing with your wallet for change.  I always bring $100 with me in starting change; $50 in $1s, $40 in $5s and one $10.  I do a lot of small items that are under $10.  If you have slightly more expensive items, you might want more $5s and less $1s.  Of course, you don't have to start with $100, when I first started vending I think I started with about $30.  Make sure you keep your lockbox with you all the time, or with someone you trust.  If you have to go to the bathroom and leave your booth unattended, ask your neighbor if they could just keep an eye on the booth for a moment, but bring your lockbox with you to the bathroom.

I hope you have someone to bring with you to help, it makes things much easier! Smiley

I like to pack snacks.  If you are doing an outdoor craft fair, chances are there will be food there, but if you get busy you may not get a chance to go looking for food.  At the very least bring some water, there's nothing worse than getting dehydrated.

Write down (or somehow keep track of) everything that sells, and for how much.  At the end of the day, determine what sold the best and what sold the worst.  Don't necessarily dismiss the items that didn't sell well, though, especially since this is your first show.  I keep a spreadsheet with all my sales in it so I can see what's always popular, what's popular at certain venues, and what just doesn't sell well in general.  After a few shows, you'll have a better idea of what to make more of.  Oh, and the reason I said to keep track of how much stuff sells for is just because I tend to give discounts to people who buy a lot of things.  Obviously you don't have to, but I like to and it encourages repeat business.  I had a lady once come to my booth and buy $300 worth of stuff.  I gave it to her for $280.  The next month she came back to the same show and bought another $100 worth of stuff.

I could go on and on but the best way to learn is to jump in feet first.  Get there early so you have plenty of time to set up and fix/change things that need to be fixed or changed (like your booth setup or whatever.)  Do not get too stressed.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun!  I love vending, I hope you have a great time and do well. Smiley
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Fried Rice w/ Peanut Butter Sauce (Super cheap meal) on: September 15, 2011 08:05:09 PM
I think it sounds great, I've added it to my menu in a couple of weeks to experiment with. Smiley I would probably add some chicken to mine and different veggies, whatever I have in the house, probably corn and bell peppers, and maybe pineapple.  Love the idea!
6  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Tasty ways to jazz up popcorn? on: September 15, 2011 07:55:26 PM
Chili powder and a sprinkle of fresh lime juice. Smiley

Have you ever tried making popcorn on the stove in a kettle?  It's a little less healthy since you have to use a little oil but it's still better than the microwave stuff (IMO.)  In a 4qt kettle or sauce pan, heat about 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil along with 3 kernels of unpopped popcorn.  Keep the lid on and as soon as you hear the 3 kernels pop, pour in 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn.  Keep the lid on tight and shake the kettle occasionally to help all the kernels pop.  Remove from heat once the popping stops, keep the lid on for an extra minute or so in case any stray kernels pop.

As a variation of the kettle popped popcorn, you can make...kettle corn!  Start the same as above, by heating the oil in your kettle with 3 kernels of popcorn.  When they pop, pour in 1 tablespoon white sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 unpopped popcorn.  Clamp the lid on and keep that kettle moving constantly!  It's best to alternate on and off the heat, too.  Usually about 5 seconds on to 3 seconds off, and keep shaking and swirling the pan so the sugar doesn't burn.  It probably will still burn a little, at least the first few times until you get the timing down, but most of it should still taste good.
7  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Re: Geeky charms! (image heavy) on: January 19, 2011 07:03:53 AM
Thank you very much. Smiley The stars are shaped by hand.  Pacman and the ghosts are made with cutters.  They're all about the size of a quarter, give or take.  I really should take some shots with quarters or a ruler or something in them for sizing purposes...
8  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Geeky charms! (image heavy) on: January 19, 2011 12:55:57 AM
Hi guys.  Newbie here.  Grin Not so new to polymer clay, though.  I've been working with it for about a year and a half now.  I primarily make little charms inspired by various video games and Japanese anime.  Here are just a few of the designs I do.

Mario power-ups!  Super mushroom, 1-up mushroom, poison mushroom, super star, fire flower, ice flower, Yoshi

Zelda-themed charms!  Triforce, ocarina, fairy, heart piece

Kirby and Prince Fluff (from Kirby's Epic Yarn)

And of course, the ever-popular Pokeball

A collection of some of my charms:

Like I said, this is just a few of my charms...I have many more...and even more ideas that I need to actually create.  Cheesy Thanks for looking!
9  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: First Craft Fair. AH! on: January 14, 2011 10:56:54 PM
Hi!  I'm new to the forums and relatively new to vending at shows, so I thought I'd share my newbie advice.  I skimmed through that first list that was posted above, and all of it is good, so I'll just highlight a couple of things or make a few other suggestions.

1)  Price your stuff ahead of time.  This sounds like a no-brainer, but at my very first show I didn't have anything priced and I ended up making pricing signs while we were setting up.  I had a general idea of what I wanted to price everything at, but it's still better to have the signs made ahead of time.  After the first show, I got a small thermal laminator and printed some nice, professional looking signs (rather than hand-made ones) and laminated them.

2)  Bring extra paper to make signs or write things down on the fly.  You never know when you'll misplace a pricing sign (if you made them in advance) or decide to re-price something, or just need to jot stuff down.

3)  As far as displays go, I've found that a pretty cheap and effect display is a couple sets of wire frame cubes set up in whatever display pattern you want.  I make jewelry and it works especially well since I can hang earrings, necklaces, and bracelets off of the wire itself.  I did find that getting some plain black fabric to tape (or somehow affix) behind the jewelry really helped make it "pop" from a distance; otherwise, the chains got lost in the wire of the display.

4)  Bring your own food.  I know it's tempting to just say, "I'll get food at the show from a vendor," but it's so nice to just be able to reach into a lunch box and grab a snack or a sandwich or whatever, rather than looking around for a food vendor.  If you have time to look around and want to grab some food from a vendor, great, but having your own stuff to rely on in case you get busy or don't want to get up and walk around is really handy.  Plus, packing your own food will be cheaper than buying from a vendor so your overall profits will be higher!

5)  Get a dolly to haul all your stuff around.  Our first show, all we had was a little scrapbooking organizer cart thingy on wheels, and trying to wheel that sucker down a block of sidewalk was a PAIN.  You think sidewalks are flat, but you'd be wrong.  Even once we got to the hotel (we were vending at a convention) every little bump, such as the frame around the door, caused issues.  We got a very small dolly for about $40 or $60 at a Home Depot and it's worked wonders for us.  Don't forget to get bungee cords to strap your stuff to the dolly, too.

6)  Try to fit all your stuff into a couple of very large boxes to make hauling faster and easier.  I can get ALL of my stuff (excluding table and chairs, if I need to bring my own) into two large boxes, both of which fit onto our dolly at the same time, so we can haul everything in one trip.

7)  Get a state sales tax ID form (assuming you're in the U.S.) and keep it somewhere with you when you go to shows.  I keep mine in my lockbox.  I lost my first form and had to have the state comptroller send me a copy of it...that's when I started keeping it in the lockbox so I know where it is at all times.  I know in my state (Texas) at any time during a show, someone from the comptroller's office can walk in and ask to see any or all of the vendor's sales tax forms, and if you don't have yours, I think they can fine you or something, so I just like to keep mine on hand in case. (I've never seen a comptroller actually come in to any of the shows I've done, but I've only done 3 so far.)  Plus, some shows require you to show yours when you check in.

Cool  Last thing...while you're at the show, consider doing deals for people who seem interested in your work.  Not for everyone, but for people who may buy a lot of stuff or are really interested but need a little push.  One girl was very interested in a pair of earrings I had; she asked if I would lower the price of them at all.  I told her if she bought the matching necklace I'd give her $5 off the set, and she got took the offer.  Sometimes I'll round to the nearest 5 if someone is buying a lot of stuff; one guy was buying $32 worth of charms, so I sold him everything for $30.  Don't discount everything for everyone, but sometimes it just "feels" right to offer a little discount or bonus to certain customers, like they might come back for more (the guy who bought $30 of charms did come back and buy more stuff later that day.)

That's all I've got for now.  I did find a list of stuff similar to the one posted above (not quite as detailed, though) before vending at my first show, and it does help to read through stuff like that, but experience is by far the best teacher.  I've done 3 shows now and each time they can easier.  Don't get discouraged if your first show doesn't go as well as you hoped.  Take pics of your displays and your pieces and try to figure out what may have drawn people in and what needs improving.
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