Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Craft Fair version 2.0!

This was my table's set up at the beginning of the fair...
...and I mixed it up a bit in the middle of the fair when about a good third of the snowflakes were sold. 

Good morning, Readers!

I would like to apologize for the distinct lack of crochet patterns as of late; at the insistence of my husband and friends, I've put myself on a  crochet pattern "sabbatical" until after Thanksgiving. I've got a few things in the creative crock-pot stewing away though, so you guys can look forward to lots of new stuff in December!

Plus, I just got some very, VERY exciting news and an unbelievable opportunity! I'll give details when I can, but for now, it's taking every ounce of my self control to not start squealing and jumping up and down like a two year old.

Well, another annual holiday craft show has come and gone. Boy howdy, Readers, WHAT an improvement compared to last year's sad result!

I ended up selling about half, that's right, HALF of my merchandise. Friggin awesome.

Even though (compared to last year's disaster) this year was quite a success, I still learned quite a bit throughout the whole thing:

1. Presentation, presentation, presentation. As I'm sure my regular readers are aware, my "doitatthelastpossibleminute" strategy had given me disastrous results last year. This year, I took the time to scour the discount and secondhand stores for various decorative items; I found a nice chocolate brown tablecloth (that I could use for myself after the craft fair was over), a couple of FABULOUS golden poinsettia place mats, and an earring holder that rotated, all for about twenty dollars.  I commandeered our dining room table for an evening and played with different "layouts" until I was satisfied, and on the morning of the fair my booth was up and ready to go within ten minutes.

Plus, you guys, look at this price tag. Look.
I made my own price tags by cutting out tag shapes from a blank manilla folder and stamping them. So cute, fun to make, and in my humble opinion, much nicer looking than the store-bought ones.

You'd think that presentation would be obvious to a gal who sells her things at craft fairs, but making my flakes stand out and look their best is something I really struggle with. I'm sure that some of you who follow my "Lace Doodle Thursdays" have noticed my lack of photography skills; I find that white crochet snowflakes are VERY hard to take pictures of! Granted, taking pictures of my snowflakes is an entirely different animal than setting up a craft fair booth, but making things look good (in pictures AND in person) is a skill I am continuing to develop. The best way to learn these things (in my case) is to fall flat on my face a few times; but as the proverb goes, from last year's mistakes come this year's wisdom. My booth looked SO much better than it did last year, and all the effort I put into the presentation of my flakes really showed itself in the increased sales!

2. Pricing. My prices this year came down quite a bit, mostly due to the fact that I worked really hard to silence my inner yarn snob. The vast majority of my flakes were made with DMC's "Cebelia" (which goes for about five dollars per ball; I ended up using one ball to make around 40 snowflakes. On average, the cost of materials was about twelve cents per flake. Given that I paid about fifty cents per snowflake last year, this is an amazing improvement) and a few were made with some inexpensive beads. The most expensive snowflake was about five dollars (it didn't sell, but I kind of wanted to keep that one anyway).

Most of the snowflakes sold were priced between $2-$3.50 each. It was interesting; the customers gravitated toward the medium sized flakes instead of the itty-bitty ones (priced at a dollar) or the lager and more complicated ones (priced between $4-$5). I like having a variety of shapes/sizes to sell, but knowing what the customers usually buy is always good to keep in mind.

3. My attitude. The fabulous legal secretary who runs the craft fair (and who was been running it for the past ten years) gave me some really solid advice after she witnessed my little "craft sale fail" last year: to RELAX! Nobody sells all of their items, nobody gets it right the first time. Customers are able to detect desperation like a rabbit can detect a ravenous wolf, and potential buyers will high-tail it in the opposite direction as soon as they hear an over-enthusiastic "OH, HI!!! WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN SOME HANDMADE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS???"

I made it a point to avoid the craft fair as it was going on, with the exception of my noon break (where I went to re-arrange the booth and put out more merchandise). I know myself enough to anticipate my tendency to come off as a bit high-strung when I'm stressed out, so for the majority of the day, I stayed in my office. I will say that it was hard, SO hard, but the end result made it all worth it.

 Because, you know, it's a really good idea to NOT circle around potential customers like a shark.

With that, I'm out, Readers! I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

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