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View Full Version : Has anyone done a home show?


Nolly
08-13-2004, 07:01 AM
One of my red hat friends asked me to do a home show, and since I can't imagine it's a bad thing, I agreed.

Now I have to prepare! Has anyone got a clue as to how much inventory is needed? I'm trying to be organized about it, so how many neck pieces, bracelets, pins, & earrings do I need?

Any suggestions which might make this venture a success are much appreciated.

Thanks!

Nolly

Hiway
08-13-2004, 02:20 PM
One of my red hat friends asked me to do a home show, and since I can't imagine it's a bad thing, I agreed.

Now I have to prepare! Has anyone got a clue as to how much inventory is needed? I'm trying to be organized about it, so how many neck pieces, bracelets, pins, & earrings do I need?

Any suggestions which might make this venture a success are much appreciated.

Thanks!

Nolly

Hi Nolly!

I don't want to be an alarmist, but are you allowed to sell merchandise directly from your home.... i.e., hand over items for cash from your own property.

There are many municipalities that require you to be zoned in a business area, pay business property taxes, carry a permit etc., otherwise you can be subjected to heavy fines. Being a hostess for a party is an entirely different story, as you (the hostess) do not carry stock in your home, nor do you own the business.

There is also the matter of whether your insurance will cover this as well.

Selling directly from your house is not the same as a home business in which you are web based and/or sell through galleries, shows, etc.

All my best,

Claudia

LLane
08-13-2004, 04:37 PM
Hi Nolly,
I've done these shows and agree with what Mary said in the daily thread.... take as much as you can...:D .. that way hopefully you will have something that appeals to everyone!!! Be sure and take a little notebook or something that you can take names for mailing or email for any upcoming shows. I've done very well with my customer list from these shows.

Claudia, I think the concept here is more like a tupperware party.... and I don't think those fall under the vending laws in most places. I have my vendors license, charge appropriate sales tax, file with the state and all is fine.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Peace,
Lois

Kerensamere
08-14-2004, 02:02 AM
Take what you have or what you can manage, you'll regret not having something you left at home when someone asks for it.

You don't need to display everything though. When I do craft shows I always let people know, if you see a style you like but not the color let me know or if you see the color you like but not the style. I also keep track of what is interesting them most, then I pull out my inventory box and find other pieces that are similar. I organize my inventory by color then style-- it's easier for me to put my fingers on something that way (find a system that works best for you). So if they say "I'm looking for something blue" I'll pull out my blue stock (after pointing out everything blue that's already on display of course!).

I also make a point of letting people know that I will gladly custom make something for them. By having my entire inventory with me I can really show them the diversity in my work and my flexibility and willingness to do custom work comes across through this as well.

I agree with the comment about a notebook for mailing information. I now have a mailing list of over 60 people! I collected those names in the last year and a half and that doesn't include friends, family and business associates/aquaintences. The notebook is also good to have to write down comments, suggestions, custom order notes, etc.

Don't forget to bring something to wrap your customer's purchases in. It doesn't need to be expensive, something simple like tissue paper will do but don't make them carry the pieces home in their pockets unprotected.

You should also have cards made up (kinkos, office max, etc. can print business cards pretty quickly or do them on your own computer), that way people have a way of getting in touch with you for additional sales or questions.

I always take my boxes of findings and an assortment of beads with me. This allows me the ability to make a few minor adjustments on the spot if necessary (shorten or lengthen a necklace for example, switch ear wires from french to kidney, or post to clip). Of course this means you should bring your pliers/tools too!

Yep, I'm one of those people that brings everything except the kitchen sink "just in case." But I have to say that I haven't regretted it yet! :D

As far as taxes, licenses and insurance. Every town, city, county and state is different :rolleyes: . The fines for not filing the right forms or paying the right fees can be more costly than the innitial fees. I highly reccomend calling your local municipality (inquire as if you have not started the business but are just doing your homework) and find out what their rules and regs are. Then decide how you want to proceede.

Also call your home owners insurance carrier and talk to them about what you want to do and what they have to offer. If they don't offer a plan that suits your needs they should be able to refer you to someone who does. In my case I have a $10 annual business license fee to run a business out of my home, mine is considered "low impact" since I don't sell out of my home (people aren't coming and going all day long). Now, I do have a Holiday Open House once a year, but that has no more impact on my community than if I held a big party for a day.

My state requires that I collect sales tax and that I register my business name since I'm operating under a name other than my own personal name. My business income and expenses are tracked with Quick Books software and my tax accountant helps me file appropriately with the federal govt come tax time. Due to the fact that I do so many craft shows I have decided to pick up liability insurance. This covers me if someone injures themselves in my booth or is injured by my display. This also covers me if a storm comes along and damages my inventory. AND I have made sure that my inventory and display and equipment is covered when in transit -- as in when I am travelling to and from a show, if I were in a car accident and something happened to all my stuff. Your home owners insurance and car insurance DO NOT cover this sort of thing.

Many artists know about this sort of thing but choose to take the risk and do business without. Frankly, as sue happy as people are today, I don't want to take that sort of risk, I have too much to loose.

There are lots of great books out there that you can read for tips on this sort of thing. Try looking for these to start:
Crafting as a Business by Wendy Rosen
Crafting for Dollars by Sylvia Landman
Handmade for Profit by Barbara Brabec
How to Start a Home-Based Craft Business by Kenn Oberrecht

You might also want to look up SCORE in your phone book, it's a group of retired business people that offer counseling services to new entrepenuers for FREE! Also check with your local State Univerisity and see if they have a cooperative extension service, they often have good resources there that are also FREE. I've found a great counseling service through my local community college, they are helping me write my business plan and marketing plan for FREE (gotta luv that word :clap: ) too! There are lots of resources out there, there's really no excuse for not going out there and using them. If you want to be taken seriously and do this "craft thing" for real then do it right! :)

Best of Luck!

-Jen

Nolly
08-14-2004, 07:09 AM
Thanks so much for all that great information. Here are threads that I found in the Glass Art Lobby that are also helpful ...

Do you do home shows - 4/26/04 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=184663&highlight=home+show)

Home Shows? 3/01/04 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=171402&highlight=home+show)

The jewelry party - 11/20/03 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147623&highlight=home+show)

I'm definitely doing this show, so I really appreciate all the help!

Nolly

Hiway
08-14-2004, 02:13 PM
As far as taxes, licenses and insurance. Every town, city, county and state is different :rolleyes: . The fines for not filing the right forms or paying the right fees can be more costly than the innitial fees. I highly reccomend calling your local municipality (inquire as if you have not started the business but are just doing your homework) and find out what their rules and regs are. Then decide how you want to proceede.

Also call your home owners insurance carrier and talk to them about what you want to do and what they have to offer. If they don't offer a plan that suits your needs they should be able to refer you to someone who does. In my case I have a $10 annual business license fee to run a business out of my home, mine is considered "low impact" since I don't sell out of my home (people aren't coming and going all day long). Now, I do have a Holiday Open House once a year, but that has no more impact on my community than if I held a big party for a day.

My state requires that I collect sales tax and that I register my business name since I'm operating under a name other than my own personal name.

Hi Jen,

We may live in two separate countries, let alone states, but the municipal laws seem to be identical. Ditto, insurance. It is the heavy duty fines (if they catch you :evil: ) that are worrisome.

I guess the laws can vary from area to area. I did contact my local municipality regarding doing a home show (this was around the same time last year) and all they wanted to know was whether people would be purchasing items that I had "in stock" right here on the premises. I said yes, of course, as that is the entire point of the home show. They, in turn, all but threw the kitchen sink at me, the rats. :mad:

Interesting that you mentioned the "tupperware" angle, Lois.... I know someone who handles her Mary Kay line in much the same manner (she does carry stock in her home, rather than placing all the orders as they are received and having the company deliver). No problems! For some reason, the jewellery angle - manufactured and sold from the house - falls into a different catagory here. :rolleyes:

I wanna do a home show!!!!! Especially as we get closer to Christmas! But, I can't..... maybe I could try the Holiday Open House concept.... approach this whole thing from a different angle, at least enough to confuse the issue..... I'm going to look into it.

Best from Claudia

LLane
08-14-2004, 02:41 PM
Jen...... what a great post!!! So many good ideas!!! It is people like you willing to share all the great info that makes this forum so wonderful!!! Just wanted to tell you I appreciate your generosity of time and effort to put it all down!!!

And Claudia..... good luck on doing a show.... I'm sure you will find the right way... I feel strongly about always doing things the "right" and "proper" way and you certainly are on the way since you already have acquired so much info!

Good luck Nolly!!!

Peace,
Lois

BlueBuddha
08-15-2004, 09:39 AM
I did contact my local municipality regarding doing a home show (this was around the same time last year) and all they wanted to know was whether people would be purchasing items that I had "in stock" right here on the premises. I said yes, of course, as that is the entire point of the home show. They, in turn, all but threw the kitchen sink at me, the rats. :mad:

So, wait a minute, let me get this straight: Are you guys saying it is OK to make your stuff at home, and then cart it over to someone else's place to have a "home party," but of you try to sell it out of your own home, you can't? (or at least, not without dealing with fees and licenses and such?)

I know this would vary from state to state and probably city to city...but since I live in Chicago, I'm sure the city is doing whatever they can to milk money from the small-business owners.

I had been considering doing a home-show of sorts after I move. Hadn't actually got around to making any phone calls yet, was just tossing the idea around in my head. Maybe I should toss the idea outta my head!

By the way, Nolly - good luck on your show! :)

Kerensamere
08-15-2004, 02:29 PM
Don't toss the idea out of your head yet, do your homework first!!!

I know of several people (don't know all of them personally) that hold holiday craft shows in their home. They advertise their shows in the regional craft show listing book and advertise their shows in the local papers. They have their own inventory plus then have other artists and crafts people bring some of thier inventory and they display the stuff all over thier home. When people come to shop (usually over 1 or 2 weekends) they go to one cashier to pay for what they buy -- the price tags are coded to indicate who made what. My grandmother used to hold one in her inclosed porch ever year too. I know another couple who make victorian style herbal food products, they used to do various craft shows, then they started holding a holiday open house in their victorian home for a couple of weeks during the pre holiday season. They'd sell their products and a handful of other "victorian" gift items from other artists and a few quality mass produced items -- it was a lovely show. Last time I saw their products was in a national "victorian" gift catalog! Just goes to show you how far you can go if you really want to! By the way they make an awesome lavendar sugar -- makes a lovely lavendar pound cake YUM!!!!

I think that if you just did an in home show once or twice a year you shouldn't have too much trouble, but ask!

I'd say it's worth asking questions of your local authorities as though you are "just considering the situation". Find out what the rules, fees and penalties (if any) and then make your decision. As far as I know there's no law against holding a home show here. I just need to make sure that I register my business with the township (I think I mentioned before, it's a $10.00 anual fee -- big deal!) and I need to insure that my business is a "low impact" one since I live in a residential area. If I had tons of people coming and going all day, delivery trucks, lots of noise or something there would be a problem.

I've been told that a guy that used to live up the street from me kept his fleet of vans for his flooring installation company parked on the street in front of his home. Then every morning at 7 or 8 am the crews would show up and noisily hang out on the sidewalk as they got their job orders for the day. Then they'd leave their personal vehichles parked on the street and take the fleet vans for the day. Needless to say that's considered "high impact" and the neighbors complained and the guy had to make other arraingements.

-Jen

Hiway
08-15-2004, 11:13 PM
I'd say it's worth asking questions of your local authorities as though you are "just considering the situation". Find out what the rules, fees and penalties (if any) and then make your decision. As far as I know there's no law against holding a home show here. I just need to make sure that I register my business with the township (I think I mentioned before, it's a $10.00 anual fee -- big deal!) and I need to insure that my business is a "low impact" one since I live in a residential area. If I had tons of people coming and going all day, delivery trucks, lots of noise or something there would be a problem.

Hi Jen!

Oh, I never give up without a fight! :evil:

This stretch of Main Street is actually both commercially and residentially zoned. What they are really after is the business property tax. They drool over the prospect, as it is really high in this part of Ontario. You are walking a very thin line when you attempt to sell merchandise from your home, rather than having it shipped in (Avon, "Weekenders" clothing, Tupperware.....)

But, I'll give it the old college try and I'll follow the regulations religiously. As Lois (so rightly) says, that is the only way to proceed, especially in a small town.

This topic came up on the About.com 'Jewelry Making Forum' only a few days ago. One of the posters mentioned that the municipality guys watch her like a hawk to make certain that she isn't selling out of her home. This is in a good sized city in a southwestern state.

I love the story about your grandmother - good for her!! And lavender sugar candy...... yum!!!

Best from Claudia