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Beginning of Craft Show Season

Well, it’s that time of year again. Once September hits, it’s the start of a new season – craft show time! It seems that every town around here has a show between September and December. Which is great because it means that there are many opportunities to make money. However, it also means that consumers have tons of shows to choose from – great for them, maybe not so great for vendors?

I recently did a show called the FAF – Fall Arts Festival in Woodbury, NJ. I was excited because last year, this event was my first craft show. This year, they decided to extend it to a two-day show. I excitedly applied and was devastated to learn that I had been rejected. Unsure of why, I began to tell my other crafty friends. I heard lots of theories, but nothing definitive. One of my friends spoke to someone at the FAF and the next thing I knew, I got an email that they “reconsidered” my application. However, it seemed like they were doing me a favor. I should’ve taken that as a sign to not do it.

The first day came and I went to go get my spot. I was disappointed to learn that I was on a side street because I heard the vendors that were put there last year complain. I then saw my friend and she also told me that she was on the side street. Sales were extremely slow. I was put next to an empty spot, which was nice because I had more space. However, due to lack of sales on the first day, the second day was worse. There were FOUR empty spots next to me to the right, one vendor to the left and then two more empty next to hers. Right after that was a traveling “play” that would perform every hour at the exact same time as the band at the top of the street began their set. The poorly timed music competition was distracting to customers. You couldn’t hear what they were saying and the crowd often drifted out of tents to go see what was going on.

Needless to say, this was not a good show for me. I didn’t make my booth fee back – in fact, I lost a lot of money. I think that this year they catered to the food vendors and not the crafters. I wrote to them to tell them what I thought and some suggestions and they responded with a nice enough email. However, I don’t think I will be doing that show again.

I am looking forward to doing the show at my high school next month. I did really well there last year and this year I will have my sister to help. She is making deco mesh wreaths and I did sell 4 out of the 6 she gave me at the last craft show. I am hoping that this show will make up for the disappointing show I had in September.

With so many shows coming up, I hope that consumers aren’t craft-showed out! I hope that these next two that I am doing are going to be well attended. It’s closer to the holidays and I think that’s the key. This one show is the Saturday before Thanksgiving so people are getting ready to shop!

What do you think? Are you ever tired of shopping at craft shows? Is there now a craft show overload?

Let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment or question and subscribe!

Michele

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First Show

I had my first show yesterday. It was the Woodbury, NJ Fall Arts Fest. I know that most business people wouldn’t call yesterday a success, but in my eyes it was. I did not break even (just about $10 away from it), but I am okay with that. Because I gained a wealth of knowledge, some great contacts and lots of potential customers. You can’t put a price on that!!

I started off the day alone and setup went well. I was able to get my table covered, stuff displayed and my banner hung in less than half an hour. It went really fast. There’s always room for improvement on setup and this being the first show, I did what I thought looked best. My dad and aunt had some other ideas when they came to visit, my friend Amanda also had some great ideas and even customers were offering suggestions!  My setup evolved throughout the day and I think I learned a lot from it.

Before the show even started, I made two sales. This was shocking to me and I was so grateful to have started off the day in such a positive way! It really boosted my confidence and I felt like I could really do this. Traffic was steady though out the day and I heard a lot of positive comments from people, ranging from those are so cute to you are so talented. Great things to hear!

The funniest thing I heard all day was from this adorable little boy who was being held by his mom. After saying hello to me, he stared at one of my tag lollipops and looked like he wanted to say something. When he finally did he said, is that a real lollipop or just a pretend lollipop? I told him it was pretend and that it wouldn’t taste good if you tried to eat it. His response was, then why did you put a stick on it if you can’t eat it? So innocent and so funny. His mom explained to him that it was like the ones she made as invitations for his little sister’s birthday party and then she said to me, he didn’t understand why I would do that either! He must think grown ups are so silly to make lollipops that they can’t eat!

The one thing that I think I can really take the most from is that you never know what will sell. I made this adorable (or what I thought were) gift tags and no one bought them! They were 2/$1.00, the least expensive thing I offered and they all sat. The lollipops, which were a last-minute edition, sold wonderfully! I should have made more of the Christmas ones, as they were the first to sell out. I only made 8 Christmas ones in total. I did well with my cards, selling Christmas and Birthday the most. To my surprise, no baby cards sold.

However, the one thing that I wasn’t too sure of were the gift card holders. I really wish I had more of those made because those were probably my best seller and I got the most comments on them. If I would have known I would’ve invested way more time in those than in the baby cards. And I know each show is different, so they may not sell as well at another show.

Anyway, I am glad that I did the show. It was a great experience and I had so much fun. It was great to meet other artists, especially the ones that were newbies like myself. Can’t wait to do another show – hopefully there will be one around Christmas that I can participate in!

I want to thank all the people who came up to visit me (and buy things from me – soooo sweet!!) Amanda (her blog is http://theperpetualplanner.wordpress.com/) Brian and Maddie,  Angela (her blog is http://shakebakeandparty.wordpress.com/). Jen, Pat and Allie and my family, especially my mom and dad for coming not once but twice, helping to run my booth and helping with the packing and dragging stuff around! I appreciate it so much!! Can’t thank you all enough. (Hope I didn’t miss anyone. My brain was fried!!)

Here are some pictures of the booth. Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion on improvement. Thanks for stopping by!

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