craft fair recap

i wish i could write that the craft fair was a tremendous success and i am so overwhelmed with custom orders that i don’t have time to even type this. but i am typing this. and i have lots of time. i can, however, write that i had a great time and am looking forward to my next one. do those thoughts not seem to go together? let me explain more (because i do have the time) …

when i first decided i want to try out craft fairs i started looking around our area. the big craft fairs were hundreds of dollars for a booth. hundreds. i then heard about a small craft fair in the town where i grew up for significantly less. it was their first fair. it was my first fair. i thought lets go for it.

there were planning bumps along the way. i kept thinking positive. first it was a two day event. then it was changed to a one day. i didn’t think that was a big deal but after talking to other vendors, the second day is always the day you make money because word of mouth and people who came the first day usually come back on the second to make a purchase.

three days before the event i received a phone call from the organizer saying there were permit problems and the event that was going to be along a highway under a huge white tent with a live band and homemade ice cream was going to be moved inside. the band stayed outside. the ice cream was still there. the craft fair, however, was moved to the back of the antique store. hmmm. this probably should have been the moment where i asked for my money back and called it a day. but i am stubborn (see my earlier post about my fracture) and i hoped for the best.

so here i was. in the back of an old, somewhat renovated food lion, now antique store. my leg wrapped tightly and crutches in hand.

my amazingly supportive and strong husband. seriously, he stayed all day at a craft show to make sure i stayed seating. i knew it the day i met him and haven’t really doubted it along the way, but he is definitely a keeper. my mom stayed the day. she brought candy. she brought love. and she bought me some ice cream. she left to go get my granny at one point, which of course was wonderful. so many family members came by to show their support and give love. if you are reading, thank you guys so much!

things i learned. this was after all a learning experience, as is everything really.
- if the fair is more expensive and well known it is probably worth the upfront cost. the organizers know that works and what doesn’t.
- only go to fairs that are multiple days. it was a lot of work to prepare the goods. i should try to get the most bang for my buck.
- have signs for items telling what they are. for example, no one realized my hand monogram was in fact a hand monogram unless i told them. one lady actually said, “wow you must have a really night embroidery machine because this looks amazing.” i blushed.
- group like things together. i had things spread out. hair accessories everywhere. necklaces in multiple places. it was a bit overwhelming and when people were doing a walk by i don’t feel they got a good sense of what i was selling.
- i learned that my products are unique and that couldn’t have made me more proud. if i had shown up selling beaded jewelry i would have felt like i needed to be dancing on a table to make mine different. it was all beautiful, but it all looked the same.
- ask about how the guidelines are going to be enforced. there were some vendors that were selling jewelry from big companies. similar to what avon does and the many others. that is all well and good but you can’t compare something that is mass produces with something that is hand made by one person.
- the most important thing i learned is location, location, location. if you were one of the maybe sixty people that came out you know this to be true. poor signs. poor location. equals poor vendors.
- try not to end up on crutches. seriously. biggest pain. if i was standing talking to people i think i could have done a bit better.

the biggest reason i can’t wait to go to another fair … because i did well considering only sixty people walking by. some vendors left without making a single sale. i joked after 2 hours and maybe three people walking by that we weren’t going to make enough money for gas to get home. but by the end of the day we did. i was proud of myself for making enough stuff to fill up a 10×10 booth. i was proud of myself for seeing the positive, even from the back of an old food lion. people had nice things to say about the uniqueness of my stuff and the quality. my stuff was different. which is a good thing. i think.

i am planning to host a “virtual craft fair” and offer free shipping on purchases from my etsy shop. i just have to get some photographs of my new items and post them. so hopefully you all will look forward to that. now that the craft fair haze is over this blog can return to its regularly written about topics.