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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Craft Fair Report- My first show!

I did my first craft show yesterday at a Secondary School in North Vancouver. Here is my set-up before the fair started. I tweaked it a bit, but this is basically what I went with.
It was an interesting experience and I learned a few things:

1) Be more selective: In future, I think I'll do ONLY shows with other handcrafters. I actually never thought to ask this when signing up for shows. There were so many re-sellers there. I was surrounded by them, and so naturally most customers assumed I was a re-seller too. One of the most frequent questions I had all day was "did you make these?"
This was something I never expected from a CRAFT FAIR. It makes me think that many people who didn't stop at my table may have thought my items were mass-produced:-( That's kind of disheartening.
I should have paid attention that it was advertised as a "craft fair and market"

2) Make better signs: I needed bigger, full-colour signs with my store name. My little signs were okay, but I think I needed a large, main sign. I might actually make a sign saying '' instead of just the name.
Also think I will add a sign about recycling. I thought it was obvious, but several folks didn't realise the materials were recycled.

3) Offer an incentive to visit my store: I am going to add stickers to the back of my business cards with an incentive discount for my Etsy store to help bring hits there after the show.

4) Tweak my set-up: I will make a better riser for the back of the table that can be easily set-up. I was kind of winging it yesterday and nearly wasn't ready in time. I'm not sure that I need both of the grid-walls behind the table. I found that most shoppers were focused down at the table and didn't notice the stuff behind as much.
Perhaps use some props to show the bags in use, what they can be used for, etc.

5) Pack better: I need to get a few plastic crates with lids to pack everything into for the shows. I had stuff in bags and it took me 5 or 6 trips back and forth from the car for set-up and take-down. Better yet- bring hubby along for someone to help and some friendly company when things are slow.

The day started a bit slow with only a trickle of traffic. Since it was my first time, I took a long time for set-up and was still tweaking things during the morning. The tables were set very close together and the 2 sellers on my sides also set things up beside their tables. Unfortunately, this meant customers couldn't come around to see the bags I had hanging on the grids. I hung them as high as I could to try to show them off.
As I expected, my smaller items did much better than the bags. I sold quite a few little wallets.

I was surprised to see that the potato chip-bag and candy-bag pouches were very popular. I only had a few to sell because I was having some trouble sewing on the vinyl surface. I got a custom order for 2 as well, so I'll have to make more of them for the fairs next weekend. I would say it was a pretty positive experience. I borrowed my friend's van (thanks Yvette!) and I'm not used to driving something so big. I felt like a delivery driver:-)

I'm sure each show is going to be different, depending on the area and the demographic. Should be fun to see how next weekend goes.

Friday Nov 14th, 5-9 pm I'll be at Annieville Elementary School
for their Christmas Craft Fair.

Saturday and Sunday, Nov 15 + 16th, 10 am to 4 pm I'll be at
Arbourside Court in the Piano Lounge- Home for the Holidays Craft Show
13751-74th Avenue,
Surrey, B.C.


Manderly-Rose said...

congrats! How exciting for you. Your stuff is so cool. Some things a friend of mine did...get a large banner, it's a one time investment but can pack a punch. Definatly show your web address. Incentive will drive business, great idea! The grid walls are great display, you could put your backstock on them? As people turn a corner, it's good to see things at eye level. There is a special sewing machine foot for sewing on vinyl, I can't remember what it's called. I'll try to remember and get back to you. Great job!

TiLT said...

Woo Hoo! First one down.
I think it looked really good - and the ideas for improvement you mentioned are pretty much the same things I thought when looking at it. Depending on space, maybe the grids could be on one side - they did look almost "hidden" in the pic.
Though it was funny that people didn't notice the recycled concept..I'm with you on the isn't it obvious standpoint :)

Connie said...

Congratulations!!! You are so brave for even taking that first big step of being in a craft show!! I think your work is wonderful!! Plus, I love that you are supporting and educating people about recycling!! I, myself, create funky cool reusable grocery totes!!

Here's to a better world!

Peace & Love.

Helen said...

Thank you so much for your comments and tips! I am quite new at sewing so I didn't know this, but my husband was saying the same thing last night that there must be a special teflon foot or something out there- I will check it out!

SillyLittleLady said...

Congratulations on your first show! and thanks for all the cool tips :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Your table looks fantastic!!!

The Filigree Garden said...

That was a very nice recap of your show experiences. Good tips! Congrats on your first show. I hope the next one goes well.

CT said...

Congrats! You made it through the first one (it's always the hardest). I still change things up depending on the crowd. You'll get a better comfort level as you gain experience. And don't worry about those resellers. I have been at shows where everyone has handcrafted items and people still say, "Did you make this?" I take it as a compliment as most folks are amazed at what artist can do! Rest up for your next one! - CT

gitasan said...

Great set up for a newbie! It does take time to find the right shows and set up but it is worth it! Best of luck! GREAT products!
I am a reseller and it is difficult for us to do craft shows! you may have to find the ones that are REAL craft shows so that you have to send in pictures of your item and they do not let resellers in.