Sunday, March 20, 2011

Craft Show Recap & New Items

Last weekend I participated in my first handmade craft show. 
I had no idea what to expect but I can tell you that I was overjoyed by the support, love, and assistance that you all gave me. 
I am not sure how I would have calmed my nerves had it not been for Chrissy at Hoot Designs and Lauren at Elephant's Trunk. Or the camaraderie from Ali at Apearantly Sew who also had a show on the same day! 
Or what I would have done without my gorgeous signs made by Lelan of Good Gravy Designs that she overnighted to me! Or the in person hug and congrats from my gal pal Melanie of Melanie's Mark
Plus, all the emails, tweets, and notes of good luck! 
You all are outstanding and so amazing; truly!
Thank you!

OK, so I learned a few things:
*My target market was not in attendance at this particular craft show. 
Luckily I was invited to participate in the craft show by a friend of D's so she told me the demographic and dollar amount that many spend per purchase.  Because of this, I knew that I needed to create items other than my bags so that I could have a variety of price points available
Had I not done this, I probably would not have sold anything! 
*Pricing: My prices were $1-$2 cheaper at the craft show because I did not have to account for listing fees, time to package and ship items, and costs associated with packaging items for shipping. 
* I did not sell one bag. Although I had many lookers and lots of compliments, people attending this particular show were not looking to shell out that kind of money. 
If you can, try to research the demographic that you are selling to at the craft show. 
Where is the show being held? Do you know the area of town?
Where is the show being advertised? Have you seen it advertised? 
 Knowing your market is so important so that you can: 
1. adjust your product line 
2. decide not to participate and wait for another show 
3. have realistic goals and expectations for the show 

*Selling your wares to a live audience can be nerve wracking and oh-so rewarding at the same time. 
I did not receive any negative "live" feedback per se but it did feel awkward when somebody would come by, look at my products, and wander on. 
I thought, "Do they not like my items? Am I priced too high?" 
But then I realized what type of market was enjoying my items and this was very eye-opening. 
What I thought my market was/could be was somewhat different than what it was in reality.
It was a great lesson to learn. 
*There are hours upon hours of work that go into prepping for a craft show. 
I had no idea how many items to make or what would sell. 
I spent a lot of time making items that were not my favorite, but took less time than a bag, and would cost the consumer less. 
{again, because I knew that price point ahead of time.}
NOTE: Sometimes the show coordinator can give you this type of information based on past shows that they have organized. 
I had no idea how much time it would take me to figure out my display (or lack there of-eek! I will work on this for next time) and all of the logistics that go into a show. 
*Tissue paper and small bags proved to be really important. 
When I sold an item, I wrapped it up and put it in a small bag. 
Buyers loved this and it really set my table apart from others. 
For future shows, I need to find a way to be more creative while being sustainable

*Setting realistic goals was important for me otherwise I would have been really disappointed with the day. I wanted to learn first and foremost. I wanted to make back my entry fee (success!), and I wanted to get the word out about my shop.

*I found that many people were hesitant to take a business card! People didn't know what a blog was or what an etsy shop was or why they should take my card. It was really interesting. 

*I will need to do other shows to really write a well-informed post. This is only the tip of the iceberg. 

What is the one tip you would not be able to live without if you were new at craft shows?

And-there are new some items in my shop

Use coupon code: SPRING25 for 25% off your order through Monday, March 21.

17 thoughts:

Whitney said...

Thanks so much for sharing your feedback on te craft show. It's good to hear that you made back your entry fee and were able to walk away with some lessons. I agree that a lot of people out there don't know about blogs and etsy. I did a bridal show this weekend and found the same thing.

Do you think you'll do another one?

Frames & Names

Collette Osuna said...

Good for you hunnie...and had you not gone, you wouldn't have learned all this awesome knowledge to share with everyone...:) Im super proud of you!!!

Stop by and say Hello:)
Enter my Free People Giveaway!!♥

Tara said...

I love hearing your feedback from the show! I've thought about doing one sometime in the future and reading this really helped!! Thanks :)
And your new item are so cute!!

Marian Hertzog said...

Sounds like you learned alot! Matching your target market to the show market is important. I have folks sign a guest book with an email address only. I have an email mailing list to let customers know when a show is coming up. It has worked well. Good luck!

Lauren said...

I tried to leave a comment earlier via phone but must not have been logged in-

Anyways you are such a talented lady and it sounds like you learned a lot at your first show! I've already learned so much from you and this post helped me to learn a bit about doing your own shoes. I can't wait to see what will happen for you in the future and thank you for sharing everything you know with us newbies!

Mama Pea said...

That half bird cage thingy you used to hang earrings on is adorable. This is a great post; thanks for sharing all that you learned about selling your handmade stuff in person vs. online. Also, I like the new stuff in your shop - particularly the green "Grow" earrings and the red with black & white polka dot pouch - so cute!

Kara @ Mine for the Making said...

Great post gina!! So many tips that I would not have even thought of. Thanks for sharing all of that helpful info.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the new earrings! I am getting ready to list some new jewelry in my shop in the next couple of weeks so you just made me SUPER excited :)

Sandy a la Mode said...

thank you soo much for sharing gina!! i am doing my first craft fair in a few weeks and i am sooo nervous! it will be a great learning experience!! btw, love your new products!!

Sarah B. said...

This was such an interesting read! You may have inspired me to try a live show - thanks for sharing your tips with us!! :) Glad you learned a lot and felt successful!

Jacky {The Sweetest Petunia} said...

Gina, thanks for sharing! I'm prepping for a craft fair in October, and I'm not really sure what the audience will be like, etc. But, I am trying to have different price points. This first show may not be a huge success, but I am hoping to learn and {hopefully} grow my shop.


Chrissy Farnan said...

For the first time participating in a show you did great! The new product, button earrings, are darling!! I'm so glad you did it and enjoyed it.

Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea said...

Wonderful advice Gina, I completely agree with you about knowing your market. The first show I did was a bomb and that was because I was selling nursery art at a place where the average age of attendee was 65. Lesson learned!

Loving your new items. Super cute earrings. Off to your shop to take a peek!

la petite coquine said...

I LOVE that this first show was a success and most importantly, a learning experience. How wonderful, darling!

Watkins35 said...

thanks gina - fantastic advice & so pleased you did it (wish I was as brave as you), congrats honey xox

Watkins35 said...

and LOVE your new earrings, gorgeous! xox

Katie P said...

Looks like you really learned a lot, how great! And I love the new earrings :)

Madigan at madiganmade said...

Great tips, Gina! My first show was a lot of work, but a great learning experience. It is hard not to feel like your stuff is being judged when people walk by. I wish I had brought cute bags/paper - that is a good idea.

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