April 26, 2021

Business Journal Your Booth

We’re headed to Boulder City, Nevada this next weekend for a rock and gem show.  I’ve been using my business journal for the past few weeks to record getting ready for the show.

I first sat and made a “to do” list for the show.  What did I need to do, what merchandise should we take, and was all the equipment working and ready?  From that list I started prioritizing the to do list.

The first item of business was to draw up a mock-up of the booth, which will be 12’ x 24’.  Then decide where the tables will go and the jewelry racks.

Since all the infrastructure for our booth is in the trailer, the next step was to inventory those items and make sure they were there, clean and ready to set up to match the “mock-up”.  This included:

  • Check all the table cloths for rips and wash
  • Make a merchandise list to fit mock-up
  • Unload all the display items, clean and reload
  • Load identified merchandise
  • Be sure to include business cards and club rack cards
  • Check on sign forms. Reprint signs to match offerings
  • Clean plexi sign forms and reload.  Pack blank forms
  • Check pens, pencils, tape, product labels, etc.
  • Check beginning cash and record starting amount
  • Check Visa/MC system do $1.00 trial sale
  • Be sure to have cleaning brush, silver polishing cloth, paper towels and Windex

I spent two days going through all the boxes, washing and folding table cloths, and checking on each of these items.  Then I had one more task – complete the Rock Journals and hand-woven bags I special ordered for the show.

The 5x6” hand-made journals have a cabochon or charm on the front.  These items required I create and print a “Book Plate” for each to identify they were hand-made and who made the offering. Then a small card needed to be created, printed and attached identifying the stone/charm on the front and it’s healing properties (if any).

Lastly, I needed to identify the materials used in the weaving process on the bags and how they could be used. These hand-crafted items are special and deserve special labels.  Yes, it takes time to do it, but it enchances sales.  Letting people know what stone was used and the location it was found (if known) makes a huge difference in the sales story.

I still have to pack our luggage for a several night stay, but that’s an easier task.  Having a booth at an Art Show or Rock and Gem Show is work.  We’ll spend two+ days selling to the general public and other Rock club members the jewelry, rocks, cabs, slabs and specimens we’ve purchased or made.  The Rockhound Journals and Rock Bags are new, it’s always fun to bring in new items and see how they do.

When we craft our annual budget we look at sales the previous year at that event (or a like event) and plan on spending xxx amount for sales of xxx.  We set aside 90% of the projected income for our regular merchandise and 10% for new items.  Those new items are as yet unknowns as to sales and volumes – those funds are all we’re willing to risk for that season.  As sales rise from $0.00 to several hundreds or thousands, we continue to use this formula.  That’s the formula we used on our Gallery/Gift Shop in Escalante, Utah.

We started out with an empty building, brought in the inventory from our retail establishment in Oregon, then built on that.  It took several years to find the right mi of merchandise, but by the time we retired in 2014 we had established the store and made a good living. Old age and bad knees sent us a different direction.  Now we’re still retailing, but just a few weekends a year.

If you’re going to be successful in a lifestyle business, get out your business journal and start writing your “to do” list.  It gives you clarity, makes it less likely you’ll forget something, and gives your customers a sense of security that you know what you are doing.

#Journal Writing Matters. Use Your Business Journal

About the author 

Jana Hassett

Jana is at the core of Jana’s Journals – writer, editor and resident Elevator Pitch promoter – her chief responsibility is content creation. When she’s not crafting helpful content for the What Do You Do? Blog, she’s serving as an Ambassador for her local Chamber of Commerce, or (through the local Women’s Business Center) teaching small business owners how to write and give their Elevator Pitch to promote their business in order to accomplish her goal of “Passing It On”.

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