I hate to break it to you craft show newbies, but there is NO definitive amount of soaps and products to bring to a show. Most of it is guess work. Here are 4 methods of coming up with a good starting point, but realize that only trial and error and experience can give you an idea of how much to bring, and even then, it is still guess work, especially in this economy. Also, keep in mind that many larger craft shows allow more than one soapmaker (often up to 3), so you will be sharing the potential customers, therefore these formulas may end up showing on the high side of reality at some events.
Method 1: If you know the attendance numbers, you can figure that about 3% of the attendees will make a purchase, although in this economy and at shows with multiple soapmakers, this percentage may be high for some. If this is your first time, you may not know what your average sale is, but for many soapmakers the average is around 2-3 bars or $10-20 worth of product at a craft show. If the attendance is 7,000, then you would expect 210 people to make a purchase of around 2-3 bars, requiring you to bring 420-630 bars of soap.
Method 2: Typically, vendors expect to make 7-10 times the booth fee. If your booth fee is $200, then you could expect to sell $1400-2000 worth of product. If your average bar of soap is $6, then you will need to bring around 233-333 bars of soap.
Method 3: Another method is making a mock set-up of your product display. Count how many items you needed to display to make the booth look nice with plenty of product. Then multiply that number by 2-3 and bring that amount with you to the show.
Method 4: This method relies on determining sales by the number of hours you are selling at a craft fair. If you figure you will make 3 sales per hour on average, and you are at a 2 day sale for 16 hours, figuring your average sale is about 2-3 bars of soap, you would end up needing to bring 96-144 bars.
As you can see, the numbers for each of these methods differs greatly from the others. So what do you do? Try all of the methods and come up with an average. Keep good records of your sales at the first few shows and reevaluate the math for next time. Each show will be a little different. At some, you will sell a lot and others may not be so successful, but your experience will teach you which shows work for you and exactly how much product you should bring.
Would any of you experienced craft show sellers like to comment on this subject with your tips or tricks for coming up with a magic number? Please post comments.