craft show report

I know you're all dying to know how it went and I have good and bad news. The good news is that my booth went together with only a minor hitch or two. The vintage folding table that I had under the window in my studio—the one that supports both of my cats who love to sleep there in the sun every morning—broke as soon as I tried to open it up. So, I hauled it home and borrowed a table from my hallway. And I was against a wall—sort of. The show was held in a gym so the wall behind me was padded and striped white and blue, but I was able to hang my flower banner across the back.

Here's the 8' back table that I rented from the school, complete with polka dot table toppers and products galore.

tea towels
I hung embroidered tea towels from a vintage quilt rack that I painted off white and stacked towels without embroidery below.

mini wallets
Mini wallets were arranged on long plastic trays that I got from Target; they matched the fabric just about perfectly.

There are lots more pictures on my Flickr page.

Now for the bad news. Attendance was way down this year and people just weren't buying. I made just three sales and two of those were to other vendors. I'm trying not to take this personally because I got lots of compliments about my things. A very nice man who made handmade jewelry heard it was my first show and stopped by to tell me to not be discouraged. He didn't have any sales either, although that may have been due to the fact that 27 of the 83 vendors were jewelry, and not all of it handmade.

So, I learned that I can make my booth look just like I'd pictured it in my head. It was a great ego boost to hear how much people liked my work. I did make back my booth fee - barely. Will I do this show again? Maybe. But, it hasn't made me give up just yet. I'm about to sign up for another show the first weekend in December so I'll have more craft show adventures to tell you about soon!


Anonymous said...

Sometimes it feels like putting pearls before swine when people don't seem to appreciate your work. But the economy is troubling several. If only people considered your lovely work as special Christmas gifts. The receiver as well as you would be very happy. Don't let one show get you down.
There's lots of different markets out there. You'll surely be a winner somewhere.

janet said...

Thank you. Being my first show, it was a little disappointing but I'm still doing well at the shops where I consign and website sales are pretty good. We do the best we can, I guess :)

arkie said...

Very cute booth! Your items are so cute!
I have a friend that does craft shows. Some shows just don't bring in the buyers. She does custom work (rugs) and sells a few at the shows (helps pay for the booth) and gives out lots of business cards. They have come to expect her at certain shows. Going back to the same shows can work to develop a following, of sort, it seems.


I used to do shows--and I learned that people just do not really buy at the show until after Thanksgiving--I don;t know why--they just don;t--and people are not buying at shows like they used to--but like I said--after turkey day it is alot better--so keep trying--and by the way you have a lovely inviting display and some really pretty gifts--so hang in there!! Hugs, Di

Carrie S. said...

Shows are way down this year, and I've added a lot of lower price point items, which does seem to help because they are moving. But, you have to keep at it, because by doing so, you'll create a following and those people will seek you out year after year and purchase from you. Every show I do, I [luckily] get repeat customers. As far as timing, it depends. Some venues do well early in the season, some later. Many people I've spoken to think that there is going to be a lot of last minute buying this year. The key is to keep going; get yourself out there and stay out there!

Also, look for events with fewer vendors if possible. Sounds like it might have been oversaturated.

Your table looked great! I hope you had fun!

Sarah said...

Janet, what a cute set-up you had! Sorry it was so slow.
I'm interested in the notebooks. Will you have those in your online shop soon?

janet said...

Sarah, I've already promised the ones you're seeing to a shop I consign with but I bought a new batch of fabrics today to make more. So, yes, they'll be on my website - sometime in the next couple of weeks.

jan said...

Your booth looks lovely! I hope the next show is a better experience!

Sioux B said...

Hi Janet!

Don't feel discouraged! Your booth looked lovely, despite the unique backdrop, and you learned some things to do differently next time. There's a lot of trial and error in this, I suspect.

By the way, the target tray of mini wallets was pure genius. What a great way to display them.

Hang in there!

Sue B

Unknown said...

I did my first 2 craft shows this year. The first (a 2-day show) I sold one pair of baby shoes. At the second show I sold a $5 ornament. I sell a lot online so I know people like my stuff. I'm having a hard time not taking it personally, too.

I think your items are beautiful and your prices are amazing!

janet said...

Old School Acres, your things are pretty amazing, too. And I checked out your booth pics on Flickr - love it! Clearly, we aren't going to the right craft shows :)

janet said...

Sioux B, the only problem with those trays is that they don't have much of a lip and have a very slick surface, so the wallets have a tendency to slip off the front edge. But, rearranging wallets gave me something to do while waiting for customers :)

Sioux B said...

OMG! What a picture! If we could only do animation there is a short film in that description. The little baby wallets go sliding from the trays and out into the big bad world...