Sunday, August 17, 2008

My First Craft Fair Experience

The weekend came and went in lighting speed. After several weeks of preparation, worry and semi-panic, it is now over.

I had finally gotten up the nerve to do an actual craft fair. I chose my home town's biggest event - the Woodsmen's Field Days. My town's population is about 2,500 and when this event is going on, there are about 20,000 visitors. The town is hopping with loggers, trucks and chopping machines and the games begin.

But for me, the weekend was all about felted pottery, cute little booties and pony tail holders.

After raining every day in August, the day started out perfect. We did have one little rain shower that lasted 5 minutes... just enough time to send people scrambling. One fellow came under my tent till it stopped and I am sure that his purchase was a 'pity buy", but hey, I'll take it! The second day started out overcast, but never did rain. So all in all, the weather cooperated.

I met alot of people, near and far. It is amazing that even in a small town how many people you don't know. I found a fellow etsian who makes fabulous stained glass and I bought a great pair of earrings. I was also asked to participate in 3 more craft fairs! One for the DodgePratt Art Center in Boonville, one for the Methodist Church and one for the Cream Cheese Days in Lowville NY (home of Kraft Cheese).

All in all, it was profitable and I made alot of connections. I even had someone take down my information and is going to contact me about teaching a class. PDC (Pretty Darn Cool) if you ask me!

I do have a list of things to do better next time.
Packaging - I had most everything packaged (except for the pottery) on day one. No one could really see what the balls were and although the booties were so cute, people couldn't get that touchy feely goodness. So, on day two, I retagged them with out packaging and sales increased.
Signs - Although the hair ponies were displayed, people didn't really know what they were. So on day two, I made a sign "Felted Hair Ponies" and again, sales increased. Next time I will have signs stating what everything is.
Tarps - Although I bought a canape, I did not get any tarps. I just used some curtains, which were for looks only. It did get windy a few times and even once while Sara was giving change, she had to chase down a few dollars. I think tarps would have helped that.
Pricing - Adding sales tax is a pain in the neck! And people really didn't like the pennies I gave back to them. Next time I will reprice, so when tax is added it will round to a whole dollar or 50 cents.
New Products - So many people asked me for catnip balls - that is on my list to do. And I have a few surprizes up my sleeve for Christmas as Sara and I just let our imagination run away during the down times!

All in all, I exceeded my initial goal. I made enough for my daughter's first semesters text books and I had a great time doing it. I made alot of connections and promoted my on-line sites.

It was alot of work, but I came home with a very satisified feeling.


Giggleberry (Amy) said...

Wow - sounds like a great day of sales, learning and fun - congrats and good luck with your future shows!

Anonymous said...

Congradulations, VAl on your first of many craft fairs...once you break the ice there is no turning there ...done do 4 - 5 at Christmas time and have started doing them through out the year! Everytime will be a learning experience!!

Melanie @ Whimsical Creations said...

Sounds like you did fantastic. Congrats!!!

=) melanie

Abby said...

Yay Val!! Sounds like it was a really good experience. You learned a lot, made some great connections, made some money and had fun! Can't wait to hear about your future shows :)
Abby - Holy Craft

BubbleGirl said...

Good for you Val, it was a great success! Congratulations!!

New England Quilter said...

It sounds like a positive experience for your first show! Thank you for sharing all of the little tips that you learned along the way. Maybe someday I'll try one myself :)

Nora said...

Awesome Val, sounds like a great time and much success! It only takes one craft fair to get you hooked! Thanks for sharing your results.

Andrea Baker said...

Your set up looks amazing. I'm so glad you made enough for your daughters books.

Great job!!!

Doreen Frost said...

Hello Valerie. I came to your booth Sunday morning..i met your daughter..who knows my two children from Paul Smiths college..what a small world!

~ Love your stuff...I bought one of your small needle felted purses for my daughter (pink with a lovely little button and a darker pink flower) is beautiful & perfectly made....and I loved the fact that you included washing instructions. I think your booth was very homey and welcoming and you would fit in very nicely with the higher more upscale folk art shows....give them a would do WONDERFUL!

We live in Vermont, stop by my blog and say hello if you would like.

Take care,
Doreen Frost
Vermont Harvest Folk Art

Valerie said...

Doreen - I am so sorry I missed you on Sunday! What a small world! Thanks for the encouraging comments ♥

Unknown said...

congrats thats awesome!

Doreen Frost said...

HI again Valerie. I would have contacted you via email but I didn't see your email addy anywhere..Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment and lovely compliments on my work.

Perhaps we could meet one of these days,..where in VT does Sara live? By the way...Anne of Green Gables is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES!!!

We loved your area by the sure do get a lot of snow ...we get a lot here in VT ....but I think you may get even more. We noticed all the sticks attached to the mail boxes and the inn keepers said it was so that everyone could find their driveways!!!! WOW!

Have a great day, chat with you soon.


off the hook handcrafted accessories said...

Thanks for sharing about your first fair! Your booth looks great!

The Colorful Bee said...

Your dispay was great! Congrats! I've officially tagged you. see the link below to what its all about!