Friday, December 14, 2012

1st Craft Fair Experience

I successful completed my first major craft show!! Through snow and cold my friend and I persevered and had a great weekend full of learning.

Our booth got lots of compliments on set up. We had great height and depth going on and I was pretty proud since we weren't able to do a practice set up beforehand.
Note to self, remember to adjust lighting and retake bad pictures.
We got the largest boot size and managed to fill it up nicely! My friend and her husband built a great display for all her handmade jewelry organizers. Between the two of us we had a nice mix of items that meshed very well display wise.
   We met a lot of amazing people, Caramel Creations was the booth right next to us! We got lots of delicious samples and were inspired by the story of this amazing company started by a mother and two daughters. The other vendors were very friendly and helpful.
   The time flies by! While we were never wall to wall people it stayed pretty busy and time at the table flew by. Between visiting, crocheting rugs, eating and bathroom runs the day was over before we knew it!
   Have a partner. I couldn't have done this without my friend, Natosha from OneBlessedMommie. We found it easier to talk about each other's products than about ourselves and ended up being saleswomen for each other. It's great to have another set of eyes and hands around to bounce ideas off of and allow you to leave the table or chat a bit. It also allows you to run out and nab a tasty gluten free lunch!

Learning Points:
  Get your rest! It makes your time a lot less overwhelming and helps you deal pleasantly with the customers.
   Bring drinks and snacks. While this may not be allowed in all venues it's really nice to have some water to sip on. With my diabetes and celiac, snacks are a must too. Make sure they are easy to eat and don't leave your hands messy.
   DIVERSIFY! We probably heard and later read this tip the most. We had mid to higher priced items so missed those customers looking for something small to pick up.
   Don't give up! Since it was our first show we were warned not to expect too much.

  It was great to get live feedback on our items and see people's reactions as they interacted with our products.
I learned I must get used to hearing, "Oh these are SO cute! But I don't have a baby."
It was great to see that my baby boots are a hit but I need to make something that has a wider target audience if I want more sales. I also need to seek a venue that caters to my boot target market.

My friend heard, "Oh what a great idea!
"That's just a board?
"I've been trying to make something for my jewelry."
We had to learn tact and patience to politely reply to people when we felt like her hard work and great product was getting the short end of the stick.

My favorite jewelry organizer
All in all we had a great time and learned a lot. We made several great connections and leads on some other great shows. We look forward to the next time.

Here's a few links I found the day before or right after our show: Handmade Jane; Etsy Article
This is an amazing pinboard with lots of great display ideas:
Do you have any great craft show tips? I'd love to hear other thoughts and ideas. 


Cation Designs said...

Oh my goodness gracious, those boots are adorable! I wonder if I could force Walnut to wear them since I don't have a baby...

So glad your first craft fair was successful! I've toyed with the idea before, but after helping a friend set up for a bridal fair I became disillusioned. Then again, that's a very different feel, so maybe I'll casually entertain the idea again. Hmm...

Carolyn said...

Your stall does look beautiful! and stocked with such lovely goodies! It is hard to hear criticism of your handmade items, but people sometimes are just trying to come up with a "reason" for not buying. It's probably not personal, and not aimed at hurting anyone's feelings :)

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks Cindy! If I could make elven cat shoes I bet Walnut would wear them... I always said if I couldn't sell them as baby shoes I'd say they were pet shoes. I think all pets would hate me then for having to prance around with shoes on. "What silly people!" they'd say.

I've never been to a bridal fair but it sounds much more high stress then a craft fair. You should think about it and do your research in finding a fair that caters to your target market. The general consensus of what I saw and read was try your best to find a mostly or all handmade show and go cheaper on booth fees so you can gain experience without breaking the bank.

EmSewCrazy said...

I never thought that it might have been people trying to talk themselves out of our amazing, irresistible stuff! Thanks, Carolyn!