Monday, March 31, 2008

My First Craft Fair!

Well, in all my readings about how to do a craft fair, no one spelled out the mixture of feelings at the end! I'm still trying to process everything--thus the 3am posting! :)
Here's our booth at The Piney Woods Arts Festival!
Like the pretty banners we have??? Thanks Husband!
This is the left side--the school desk features a BEAUTIFUL sack pack by Very Verdant! Her Personal Pouches and Wallets are on the low, wide desk behind that (my coffee table!), and there are more sack packs in the wooden crate. My Baby Blankets are hanging in the back.
This is the right side--my quilts are on the ladder. beckagator photography's photos are in the white wire basket on the right of the table. Then my Tag Blanket/Burp Cloth sets, some Burp Cloths, Some Play Blankets, and a wine crate with my Chunky Crayons below, and Sis#1's cards above (which I later put in a basket--cause they started blowing!)

We ended up moving things around as the first day went on. We noticed that few people came inside--but most looked around on the outside. So on Saturday, we turned the items to face outward, and placed several sack packs around on the ground by the low desk. On Sunday, we re-arranged some more! The right side was a major traffic area, as people parked up the hill and walked down to see us--so we moved the baby blanket display to the front, right corner, facing out--and hung several sack packs from it. We also utilized both sides of the low desk--putting baskets of Personal Pouches back-to-back, so they were available to people who came in AND people who chose not to. We hung one of Very Verdant's aprons across the back of the big crate, too.

The people we met were wonderful! I loved all the women who oohed and aahed over the sock monkey fabrics I used! :) SO many of them reminisced about THEIR sock monkeys they played with as kids, or the ones they sewed for family. :) It was sweet! I met a neat lady on Saturday, who found my blog and came to see me!--well, and the show. HI in Bonifay! I met a fellow Etsian! YAH! Joyful Abode sells gorgeous aprons, baby blankets, notecards, and pretty, pretty bias tape! She was so nice, and I was so excited to meet someone from Etsy in person--especially one who's shop I admire! The people across the way were WAY cool! I found out they are ones I've seen over the years at the grocery store--with two dogs sitting/lying on the front dashboard of their RV! They have a Rottweiler that I loved on tons--and another dog who wasn't as bold as the Rotty, and didn't come out to see me.

The neat thing about selling at the Piney Woods Arts Festival was seeing people interacting with the things I make. I was able to make TONS of observations, and that is very helpful for me! It's the first time I've seen people other than family and friends look over what I've sewn--everything else has been online, and I didn't know what people thought/couldn't gauge their reactions. Also, I saw that what is a draw for people online isn't always what draws people in person.

Some observations/things I learned: *assess traffic flow and re-adjust your booth accordingly. Move stuff around! See which side/area gets the most traffic--and figure out how to use that to your advantage. *Being one of the very first booths people come to is a curse! :) LOTS of traffic, LOTS of oohs and aahs--but people aren't ready to buy YET--there MAY be more they want to see/buy--then they are spent out by the time they pass by to go home. *Listen to people as they ask questions about your things--I had several people wonder if my blankets were two layers, then get disappointed when they were not. This is a way to figure out WHAT the public may want. I surprisingly had several people mis-judge my Burp Cloths to be dish towels, then they were disappointed to see they weren't. A possible new item to make? Also, watch for what people EXPECT things to be: Very Verdant's Personal Pouches look like wallets (to mask that they carry personal products--so teens aren't embarrassed about their "items" falling out of their bags!)--EVERYONE thought they were wallets, and were drawn to the beautiful fabrics! An idea for the future! *Having a funny/silly/catchy name is good marketing. I REALLY got tired of being asked, "What's a MonsterBug Blanket?" BUT, rarely did someone go by and not mouth or say "MonsterBug Blankets" under their breath. It caught people's eye and caught their attention!!! (And I'm ever so thankful to Husband for purchasing that sign for me--I originally saw very little need for a banner--but this weekend was proof that it is a GREAT investment!!!!) *Be aware of WHO you are marketing to--whether at an individual craft fair, or online, or other. There was a forum post on Etsy last week that made me re-think who ACTUALLY bought the baby items I make. I sew for moms, and expected new moms to buy from me. But the VAST majority of my sales are to people buying baby shower gifts. So, I put together some gift baskets and sets for this weekend, and when people were looking through and commenting on the baby items I had--I made sure to mention that they make GREAT baby shower gifts! And many people took my card to (hopefully) use in the future! :) Also, Very Verdant's items were created with the intent of selling to those in the tween/teen years and as gifts for them. But grown women were the ones attracted to her colors and fabrics (the teens were too busy flirting with boys)! They wanted to buy for THEMSELVES!!! And the women weren't very interested in waiting for a custom order to be made. They wanted to take things home with them that day! (GREAT info, huh!) *Moms with bitty babies don't buy--they've already received a million and one things for the baby. Good to know. *Moms with children older than five--and especially those with children that are all grown and gone--LOVE looking through baby items! :) *Sock Monkeys make people of all ages ooh and aah! *A GREAT tip from Horton Honey: don't say "thank you" when someone compliments your work--tell them more about the item(s)! Keep the conversation going. It was actually easier to do than I thought! *One last thing: if doing an outside craft show in the spring--take an allegra before leaving the house, and bring eye drops for the itchy eyes! :)

That's all I have in me for now! I'm tired and weary, but the weekend was gorgeous! And the people were nice. And I wouldn't mind doing another show!

MonsterBug Blankets

www.monsterbugblankets.com

PS--Looking at doing a craft fair???? Here's a GREAT blog post with lots of VERY informative links compiled by kathijane from etsy: http://sewetsy.blogspot.com/2008/03/gearing-up-for-craft-show-season.html

4 comments:

Joyful Abode said...

Congratulations on getting a fair under your belt! I agree about the allegra... I remembered to bring mine, but forgot to take it Saturday. I was MISERABLE. Being in a pine forest didn't help though, you know?

I thought your booth was great for drawing people in, with your interesting furniture and the banner and everything... not to mention your adorable things. :)

I really need to get my banner ordered too. You're right that people who walk by know who you are, and they'll remember your name. People will only remember my name if they took a business card.

The mixed feelings at the end have happened for me all three times I've done shows... you wonder if you should change direction, make different things, why some things did amazingly and others were ignored... but I think you also have to remember that every show is a different audience, and that the next one could be totally different, and the main point is that you need to be true to yourself and your passions.

Sorry for such a long comment! I really enjoyed meeting you this weekend. :) I'll be doing a post in my blog soon with a list of things to bring to craft shows, so keep an eye out for that. :)

Erin said...

Congrats on your first show. It sounds very exciting. :)

HandiCrafts said...

Your post was very informative! Thank you for sharing!

Little Moose said...

Jen,

Thank you so much for your insight!

Blessings,
Hope