Monday, April 22, 2013

Surviving the Craft Show

Saturday dawned bright and chilly - way chillier than I was hoping.

On the other hand, the rain had stopped and when I checked my email at 7:30 a.m., there was no message saying the show was being postponed, so the worse we could expect was cool breezes and some boggy ground underfoot.

The show is held in Woodland Cemetery, which is a beautiful old cemetery not far from where I live.  The entire front section is just open ground (so we're not actually selling our wares amongst the graves).  Behind where we were is the cemetery itself, loaded with blossoming trees and looming Victorian angel grave markers.

We loaded in at 9:00 a.m., which felt really early, but it took more time  than expected to set up, and with over 100 vendors participating they had to stagger the arrival times so we didn't all end up there at exactly the same time, clogging the narrow roads and tripping over each other.

A nice piece of luck - I ended up back to back with two other vendors I've worked with in the past, so I had someone to talk to throughout the day as the crowds came and went.

But they mostly came.  These photos were taken around 10:00 a.m., after I was mostly set up, but before people really started arriving.

After the fact, I'm not completely thrilled with my set up - the baby clothes and pillow covers on the line seemed like a cute idea and a good use of my limited 6x6 space, but with the wind the way it was, most of them spent the day flapping into the next vendor's space.  Good thing she wasn't doing anything similar!

Quite a few friends (and ex-co-workers) showed up to be supportive and frequently to make purchases.  Thrilled as I was to see them, I was even happier when complete strangers bought things!

It was a good day overall - it gave me a chance to see what sold and what didn't, what attracted people, even if they didn't make a purchase, what was ignored (not much) and pointed out to me that I'm going to have to find more tweedish fabric because apparently I'm going to need to make more bears.

Way more.  And soon.

The bears were the biggest seller of the day, by far.  And while I'm not totally surprised, I was hoping for a more even sell with some other pieces making more of a showing.

The other big seller was my discount basket, and that was full of small quilted bags and mini cosmetic size bags that I've made for years and that I'm absolutely sick of making.  I reduced the price on them to get them out of stock and, thankfully, most of them are now gone.

There's another show coming up on June 15th down at the 30th Street train station.  Because of the price and the size of the spot involved, the organizer suggests pairing up with another vendor.  I did just that with one of the sellers who was behind me (she makes really fabulous one-of-a-kind jewelry) and we'll be out there selling our souls that day.  Hoping for better weather.

I'm pretty happy with Saturday's results, though.  I went in with an optimistic number for sales and a realistic number, and I came in somewhere between but closer to optimistic.  For my first time out, selling face-to-face, that makes me really happy.

I certainly more than paid my table fee, which is the most important, and then spent part of my take on a 10x10 pop-up tent for the next show and any future ones where I might want to look a tad more like I have my act together.

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