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    • October 30
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    Sharing Space at a Craft Show Doesn’t Have to Mean Sharing Profits When Barcodes Are Easily Available

    It’s never easy to make a living off your passions. Those who love to work with their hands often think that they’re lucky to have such a useful hobby. It’s much harder to turn watching TV into a paying pastime, after all. Still, if you can’t get over your passion for woodworking or your love of turning raw wool into dyed, spun yarn that’s then knit into caps and capes and baby blankets, then money isn’t just going to fall into your laps. Many crafters are happy if they can just get the money to cover their raw materials back. Just breaking even can be a sharp challenge for people in this situation. Craft fairs are the obvious solution. Yes, having an online shop on a platform like Shopify can keep you in sales in those lean months when you can’t get out to a craft sale, but there’s nothing like a huge gathering of people eager to buy what you have to sell to put some seed money in your pocket. The issue is that securing space at these fairs can be expensive in their own right, and sometimes you have to make compromises once you’re there.

    Sharing a Table Can Be the Only Way to Go

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    Many craft fairs make their money by selling the space that you have to set up your booth. These tables can be pretty expensive; if you have to factor in travel time (or if you have to rent a pickup truck to transport all those big wooden rocking chairs you made this winter) it can really eat into any profits that you hoped to have. Even though craft fairs can be a great time and a place to share your joy and passion for crafts, most people don’t go there intending to lose money. One of the most common ways to reduce costs and help out a friend is to share a booth. Most craft fairs offer enough space that two courteous people could share the space and both enjoy selling their products. In fact, when you go with a good friend you can take turns manning the booth so each of you can grab some food or wander the fair for a little while on your own. That seems great, right? However, even with really good friends it can become an issue (image via shutterstock).

    You see, it only makes sense for craft fairs to group like with like. If you want to share space with a friend they’re probably going to have to be selling the same crafts that you are. While good friends who have strong senses of self-esteem aren’t going to be bothered if one person sells drastically more than the other, there are accidents that can still occur. For example, if you and your friend are both knitters, then it could be easy to mistake the blue wool cap she knit for the blue wool cap that you knit. Unless you and she are working with vastly different materials, styles, and items, a mix up is practically inevitable.

    A Barcode Printer Fixes All of This

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    There is one investment that will make checkout and sharing of space at craft fairs much easier: a barcode printer. Simply print out the labels and find a good way to attach them to your product. There are many benefits to doing this (for example, just having a barcode will make people less likely to steal your product, according to Barcode Discount, and has helped retail stores cut down on in-house theft since it’s been implemented in almost every location.) If you already use tags on your products you can just put the sticker on that instead of handwriting in a price. Yes, it will look a little bit less “Arts and Crafts” like, but it will pay off in other benefits.

    Secondly, you won’t have to worry about people arguing with your price. Haggling is unheard of in a retail environment, and that’s one aspect of the big box stores that you wouldn’t mind taking with you to the price range. You don’t want to have every single person try to talk you down from your carefully selected price. You have reasons for charging what you do (image via shutterstock).

    Thirdly, you can tell with a single scan who made that item and who should be getting the profits from it. Since barcodes are made to store information for accuracy and reduce human error, according to Small Business, this is the best you could hope for. And finally, you should know that thanks to their low cost and efficiency Manatee Works lists barcode printers and scanners as having one of the highest return on investments of any new office technology.

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Khalid Janjua is a business owner and entrepreneur from Manchester, United Kingdom. Khalid is currently working on Saturn-Tec, a website which provides design & cheap web solutions. Follow Khalid on Twitter: @hybridlava. Follow the development of @saturntec.

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