Sunday, April 3, 2011

My First Craft Fair, a.k.a. Tales From The Dark Side

Today was a big day, my first craft fair. As you can guess from my blog entry title, it had its ups and downs.

Jon and I got up at the butt crack of dawn to get to this thing. I figured that it would take me a while to set up my jewelry, so we got to the lot about two hours before the event. Many other vendors were there already, so there was a festive spirit in the air. Unfortunately, there was also a lot of wind, so my stuff kept blowing over. We attempted to put up a tent, but the entire thing blew away, so we didn't bother. We then tried to hold down my displays with masking tape and rocks, but even then, the strong winds would knock down my things.

Still, I was determined to make the best of things even though I was freezing my ass off, tired and annoyed that my jewelry was getting tangled by the wind. But I tried to enjoy myself. I chatted with other vendors, I ate some yummy chocolate pretzels ... I people watched. There were a few other jewelry booths there, but I seemed to be the only person selling original, handmade stuff.

At 10 a.m., the fair officially opened, but there was very little traffic. Everyone said it was because of the chilly weather and the fact that it's the beginning of the craft fair season. Either way, it was frustrating. A few people glanced at my booth, but didn't say anything. I sat and shivered because I was so cold.

Around noon, things perked up. My parents stopped by to say hello, though they didn't buy anything. Then my friend's little sister came by. She's been meaning to purchase my jewelry online and decided to see my stuff in person instead. She liked a bracelet ... but didn't have money. I put it on hold for her.

Later, people finally began to stop by. I had many potential buyers compliment my pieces and my talent, and ask for a card, but I think my prices (which honestly weren't that high) scared them off. I lowered them a bit for the next interested parties and one woman came close to buying a necklace. But then her evil friend said that the Swarovski beads looked like plastic. There went my sale.

Many more people came by to look and take a card. See, I don't get this. I'm the type of person who either buys something or doesn't, so I don't see why they have to wander around until they make up their minds. Needless to say, no one came back. I have a feeling that my business cards will end up in the garbage, but I'm hopeful. One lady asked me to hold a necklace and earring set for her granddaughter and promised to return. She didn't. Another woman asked if she could buy just one earring. I was willing to bargain it, but she decided not to.

Finally, FINALLY, the crowd began to pick up around 3:30, and a woman bought two pairs of earrings from me. That was my only sale for the day. But I did learn some things. A) I need to lower my prices, especially for the second show I have coming up. B) I need to talk to the customers more; they seem to like that C) Some vendors told me that this particular company doesn't get good crowds, which I saw today. So I need to find a company that does better advertising.

The bad news is, I didn't make much money. But the good news is that people seemed to really like my work. They called it "unique" and "so pretty" and kept saying that I was talented. Many said that they liked that it's different from the average jewelry out there. So I think that with better advertising and lower prices, I'll have a better time at the next show. Glad I got this one out of the way!

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs.

1 comment:

  1. I've been doing shows - craft shows, farmer's markets, etc - for about 6 years now, and I still have hit-n-miss days. My best show to date was at a Harvest Festival last year; this year, at the exact same event - I had Zero sales.

    It sounds like you did a lot of the right things, by talking to the people, giving out your business card, and just hanging in there. Wind is no-one's friend at outdoor events. Besides the hassle of things blowing over, the wind itself seems to just suck energy out of everyone that has to be out for any length of time.

    I hope you reconsider lowering your prices - jewelry is not a need thing, and besides the materials you use in your jewelry, your time and creativity is worth something, as well! There are a lot of formulas out there, but I'll share mine, in case it helps.

    Wholesale = Materials x 3, plus labor ($20/hour), rounded to the nearest $5.

    So.. if a pair of earrings costs me 1.40 in materials, and takes me 10 minutes to make, that's (1.4*3)+(20*0.6)=16.2. Rounded to the nearest $5, that's a $15 pair of earrings (Wholesale).

    Retail is wholesale*2.

    I hope this helps!