Visibility for the Financially Challenged

I’m almost ready to open a small craft store. My location is okay, but probably not the best. I don’t have the money to advertise in the newspapers very often so I’m concerned about getting visibility.  Do you have any suggestions about getting visibility for someone who can’t put a lot of money into advertising? I just had that question from my sister in Kentucky who is opening her shop in October. It’s a small world. I will give you the same advice I gave her. First, I recommend that at least one piece of product you sell is unique. Perhaps it is something that can be custom ordered that you or one of your local artists can create. Maybe it is a product that is only sold in another part of the country, but for some reason you have access to it. There are plenty of gift and craft shops all over this country. You want to have something unique that draws people because they can’t find it anywhere else in the community. Second, take a sampling of your merchandise and be a vendor in as many craft shows as possible. You are actually entering into the heaviest season for this kind of opportunity. The holidays are almost upon us and people get tired of buying the same old socks and ties for friends and family. If they enjoy giving gifts, they are always on the lookout for something unique. You will pay a vendors fee for your spot in the craft show, but it would be unusual to not have that fee plus your gas back in the first few hours – if you have quality merchandise. Third, once the craft shows diminish over the harsh winter months, there are always churches, schools and other non-profit organizations that sponsor fundraising events.  Sign up as a vendor for some of these in and around your community. Offer to give 10 percent of your proceeds as your donation to the organization. Two years of doing these inexpensive – money making events will provide the visibility necessary to bring people to your store. Word of mouth will take care of the rest. Good luck.

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