Sunday, March 14, 2010

State Farmers Market Craft Spring Craft Fair and Tips for Your First Show

So the State Farmer's Market craft show took a lot of time to prepare for.  I made and packaged items like crazy to get ready for it.  I suppose it was worth it.  I made 8 sales, a very modest profit, and learned a lot about selling outdoors in March.  The good news is I made enough to put some money towards a new camera.  Now I just need to decide what I want so I can save the rest.

My grandparents were awesome enough to come visit me, buy me lunch, and bring me an extra table and tablecloth so I could put out all of my items.  I really have few members of my family I interact with, but the ones I do are just incredibly supportive of my business and my dreams.

For the benefit of my NC artisan friends, let me just say this.  Be prepared.  There was quite a bit of traffic from the Farmer's Market customers but virtually no one came specifically interested in buying arts and crafts.  The show is poorly organized and poorly advertised.  The upside?  It's cheap at $30/day.  I'd recommend what I did and just do Saturday.  I heard Friday traffic was dismal and Sunday is notorious for being slow especially during the morning hours due to church activities.  I made back my $30 so it's worth taking a stab if you've got a pretty original, low priced, weather appropriate craft.  If you do sign up, the organizer will tell you to make your display windproof but she doesn't emphasize this enough.  NAIL/GLUE/STAPLE EVERYTHING DOWN.  My prices kept flying away as did my tablecloth (until I taped it down).  Other people's stuff was going all over the place too.  It's a wind tunnel this time of year so ignore the weather and bring a sweater and a coat and lots of stuff to weigh your display down.

Check out some pictures of my preparation, items, and display:

Me in the mirror with a bunch of fabric flower petals draped over my shoulders

New Fabric Flowers I made for the show

A couple of items that sold

My display!

Here are the top 10 things I learned from doing this show:

1. Always dress in layers and avoid opened toed shows until it's hot outside.  It's not warm in March even when the weatherman says it's going to be in the high 60s.
2. Bring snacks.  When you're a vegetarian and the only thing you can find to eat at the show is nachos, you'll quickly find why you need them.  Did you know how awkward really cheesy nachos are to eat in front of customers by the way?
3. It's always good to have a friend with you or to make one with the person in the booth next to you so you have someone to watch your stuff while you pee. (Some lady got her purse stolen from the bathroom right across from my table during the show.  Yikes!!)
4. If you sell jewelry, you should invest in a mirror.  They're cheap and easy to find.  People want to see how the necklaces look on them and they want to hold up the earrings to their face.
5. Have variety in your price range.  I sold some earrings for $2 and a necklace set for $30.  I wouldn't have sold anything more expensive to the $2 customer and there was someone there willing to pay a good price for some of my nicer things.
6. People say they're coming back.  They really aren't.  It's okay, just don't take it personally.  You probably have done it too.
7. Bring drinks.  I can't believe I forgot water.  This is self explanatory.
8. Take a camera.  It's cool to have pictures to show later and it's a way to keep a visual record of what you've done.  It's also good so that you can look back on your old displays and improve them.
9. Bring lots and lots and lots of promotional materials.  People wanted my business cards and my business card magnets and I included some with every order.  Some that didn't buy wanted to know if they could call me for custom orders and if I did club meetings.  They may or may not turn out to be customers in the future but they definitely won't if my contact information isn't readily available in a professional format (i.e. not on the back of a receipt or piece of notebook paper).
10. Make sure to have change.  I stopped at the gas station on the way and got ones and I was really, really glad I did.  The first order I got was paid for with a $20 and so were half of the sales I made all day.  Lack of change might have cost me sales.

Have any craft show tips?  Share them in the comments!

Until next time,


gentle adornments said...

I'm currently blogging some craft show observations at You may also want to read from May 2009. Sounds like you're off to a great start! Good luck!

Elle said...

Cool I'll check it out. Thanks for reading!