Sunday, November 21, 2010

Beginner's Luck!

I survived doing my first craft fair yesterday and it was a LOT of fun ( a LOT of work, but a LOT of fun!) . I really hadn't set any goals or expectations since I had no point of reference. I thought it would be great to at least recoup the entry fee ( which was a fundraiser so I was happy to pay ) but was blown away when I exceeded that! I estimate I sold about 1/2 to a little more of what I brought which I think is pretty OK for the first time out. I don't know that my one experience qualifies me to give advice to anyone else but here are some things that I found and will pass along.
  • Variety: I think it helped to have an assortment of things to choose from so you have broader appeal. Some people had very definite things they were on the hunt for like ornaments, cards etc. Others were just intrigued by what they found which seemed like a good way to engage and start up a conversation
  • As creators, they're all "our babies" but not everyone thinks your baby is the cutest baby ( I mean what do they know?! lol) so you can't take it personally if someone doesn't "get" your item.
  • I'm never going to hear the end of this one, but appreciated Mr. Chocolate's advice on going with a lower price for higher sell thru. He helped me price, and challenged me on a few things that I can't say he was wrong about ( I am SO going to hear about this!) because they sold. He took the emotion out of it. Thanks sweetie!
  • Greet everyone! I saw a few vendors who didn't engage shoppers and the shoppers just kept walking. If no one stops to look, they certainly won't stop to buy!
  • Organizers of other shows are also shoppers and scout out vendors to invite to future shows. I got invited to two more shows which I need to decide about :)
  • Have fun and talk to other vendors. It's like blogging in person! I met some lovely people and it was so much fun to talk to them about the creative high we get from creating, and laugh and commiserate about how some of our friends and family give us that "look" when we go on too long about paper, glue, 40% off Michaels coupons etc.
The organizers of this fair did a nice job of advertising and getting the word out which is a key success factor. They were also very good to us, providing lunch for us since we were there from about 8-5.  Here's my stuff all packed up and ready to go:
Two 15 gallon bins an 6 shopping bags full. Here's the table all set up:
Sold completely out of birthday and Hanukkah cards so of course I wish I'd made more of each, and the Christmas Garland Kits were a hit. Sold 80% of those, and half of the altered candles I took to the show.

I was nervous and now I'm humbled and relieved :) Off to make turkey brine and see Harry, Hermione, and Ron later.


sugar Creek said...

That's great! I love doing craft shows as well. I only do a couple a year though. One thing I've learned is people like to buy little things. I make quilts also and they didn't do so well, so I only make them as custom orders. As much time that goes into a quilt I can't sell myself short on those at all. The last one I did a couple of weeks ago I did really great! Like you, I too love to meet the people and sometimes my things get their sparks going on some gifts for family and friends. glad you had a great day!

Chrissy said...

How great! Everythig looks so nicely put together! Love it!
Great to hear it was a fun and successful experience!!

Christine said...

You are my hero! I am very proud of you, and thrilled it went so well. Thanks for the tips too! Yay!

Netty said...

wow the table looks truly fab, interesting and inviting and I would definitely have bought some things as they look gorgeous.
So pleased you had a great time and will bear in mind all the tips if I ever get brave enough to do one myself..... Annette x

Anonymous said...

you put me to shame girlfriend
you had an awesome display
so glad you moved so many treasures

i could have used your tips last week
i know i didn't greet everybody
first time out of the gate and
i think the early part of the day
i sat there like a scared deer

i too was invited to another show
but it was this weekend and with
hubby upstate i couldn't let BEAR
alone all day

i was considering making some little extras next year {decorate little wood house shapes} since i didn't show anything but cards at my first show

i must did put a spark into my mind considering i only ever sold my cards at my office

again,'re my hero
chocolate girlfriend :)


Michele {The Scrap Shoppe} said...

Carol!! It sounds like a swinging success! Especially for your first fair. It seems you went about everything perfectly. I loved hearing about your experience.

Say hi to Harry for me. ;) I just visited with him on Friday!

Michelle L. said...

You sold half of what you brought??? Wow! That sounds huge to me. Your table looks so great, and your tips are super helpful for that someday when I gather my courage and try it. You got invited to 2 more shows??? Rousing success by any calculation. I bow before thee.

Erin said...

CLAP CLAP CLAP!!! Great job!

Unknown said...

Carol, thanks for posting about your craft fair experience. This is such good info for those of us who haven't been brave enough to try doing one yet. Someday... But your advice is great and will certainly come in handy! Sounds like you had fun and did amazingly! Way to go!

Lori said...

Yay you! So glad it went well. I have often thought of doing this, just haven't taken the leap, but good advice to have, thanks for sharing!

Erin @ Crafts and Sutch said...

Wow, Carol! You had a little bit of everything! I wish I could have been there! Congrats on surviving your first craft fair and for making some money too! That is the best part. :)

Vicki said...

Hooray! What a beautiful table you had! I am so glad to hear the good news that it was a success. Now you have one under your belt and will be ready for the next! Happy Thanksgiving, if I don't talk to you before then!

Unknown said...

Wow - That is so fantastic! Congrats! I am very happy for you. I have only done one craft fair, it was very small and I made just enough to cover my entry. But I can see by your booth I didn't have anywhere near enough stuff. Thanks for the advice! Looks Great!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This sounds wonderful, Carol! So glad you did well and sold lots!!

Sasha said...

congrats. I also was a vendor at a show this weekend. It was my first time too but didnt go nearly as well as you. That's great that you did so well!

Em {Emerging Em} said...

Congrats on your first show! I wish there was one in my area that I could do!

. said...

Congrats on your first show!!!

My friend and I just did our first one on Saturday and were SO nervous. But we had a blast and learned alot. It was a tiny show and we ended up being the only 'handmade' crafts there...everyone else were hostess/party type stuff. The other handmades didn't show up!!

So, we counted any sales a success...and we did make quite a few. :)

lindalou said...

Congrats on your first show. I'm oddly proud of you. I think you have provided some great pointers for others.

I'm off to go see Harry, Hermione and Ron in just a little while.

Denise said...

Hi Carol, just wanted to say Congrats on your first show!! Great success for the first time. Just wanted to tell you so..