First Craft Fair of the Season

My Craft Fair Booth Set Up - SCC Craft Fair Fall 2011

So Saturday, November 5th 2011, was my first craft fair of the Christmas season. I came prepared. (Or so I thought.) I certainly brought enough inventory. I can’t believe I was panicking about not having enough. I don’t know how I could have been thinking I didn’t have enough earrings, enough headbands, etc., etc. I could have easily filled up 3 booth spaces with all of the inventory I brought, let alone my single 10 x 10 space. But too much inventory is a good thing, I think. It meant that I could display what would look good without over-crowding, and then when items sold I could replace them with the inventory I had stashed under my tables with me. A win-win, really.

Earrings Display

As far as being prepared, well, what I wasn’t really prepared for was going solo. I had originally planned on my husband going out there with me, at least to help me haul my tables in and set up before he had to go to work. Well, he wasn’t able to because we had a city water inspection that morning due to an overly-high water bill. Needless to say, I was completely on my own. I figured I would be okay with it, but I quickly came to the conclusion that I really should have had my sister or a friend come with me, at LEAST to help with the set up and take down. it took much longer than I expected. it took me awhile to find the right building on campus where the fair was actually taking place, and therefore I had less time to set up then I needed. Also, hauling my heavy tables one-table-atta-time across the parking lot and into the building took forever and was EXHAUSTING. (I’m thinking I need to work out more!) Who knew being a crafter could be so physically demanding?

Ring DIsplay

After hauling in all of my boxes and tables I has less than 45 minutes to set up all of my table cloths and jewelry displays. I tried to hustle, but these things take TIME. Needless to say, I was half an hour late setting up my booth, and missed a lot of traffic because of it. It took me awhile to figure out how to keep my new folding tables locked, and I ended up having to use duck tape (thank goodness I brought the miracle material!) Finally, I was able to take a seat and wait for the customers to come and sell me out. That didn’t exactly happen.

I did alright. Alright meaning, I made back my booth fee and then a little bit over. I certainly didn’t sell enough to bring out any of the additional inventory that I had tucked away though. Not really a lot of buyers.

I was selling very inexpensive items, after all. I couldn’t believe the number of people who came to my booth exclaiming, “Ooooh! I HAVE to have this ring! And look, it’s only five dollars!” they would put it on, exclaim their love, show their friends, they would all oooh and ahhh over it. And then they would put it back and walk away. What?!?! but I thought you LOVED it? Besides, it’s only 5 bucks! What’s to lose? This happened so many times, I was baffled. A lot of people seemed SO SURE that they were going to buy something, and then didn’t. Maybe they just didn’t have any money on them? Maybe I had too many options laid out and it made it too hard for them to decide WHICH ring to buy? Not sure. But it was rather perplexing for me as a seller. There also wasn’t as much traffic as I expected, there were several times with no one even walking through. I didn’t realize that there were two other major shows in the area we were competing with at the local high schools. I think next year I may switch over to a different location. Not sure yet, though. Whose to say with so many on the same weekend which ones are better than the others? Maybe some local crafters can help me out there.

Now Accepting All Major Credit Cards! In any case, this first show was a great chance for me to try out my new Square card reader. I’ve never been able to accept credit and debit cards before, so this was a pretty exciting ordeal for me. It worked GREAT! I only had to use it for 2 transactions, but they were my largest ones. I am pretty sure that these people would not have been able to buy as much if I only accepted cash. It worked really smoothly. I simply ran their card through the reader, they signed the screen with their finger, and then I entered in their e-mail addressed to e-mail them a receipt. Wah-la! Kinda like magic. Just not the Harry potter sort.

So even though this show was kind of a disappointment, I am very much looking forward to my next shows during the upcoming weekends. For starters, I’ll be doing them with my mother-in-law, so I’ll have someone there to help me set up (and someone who can watch the booth if I need to go to the bathroom or get something to drink – I started to feel pretty dehydrated and thirsty as the afternoon drug on during this last one) so that should all be a huge improvement. Plus she’s a lot better when it comes to the social aspect of it than me. I’m more of a sit-there-quietly-while-beading kind of seller. I wait for someone to talk to me first. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s hard for me to gauge people and tell if they want to chat or not. I never know if speaking to someone will scare them away (oh, gawd she’s going to try to sell me something when all I want to do is look!) Or if it will help to persuade someone to stay and look longer, becoming more likely to buy. I’m definitely not the best sales person, that’s for sure.

If you’re in the area, we’ll be doing the craft show at Mead High School the 12th and 13th, followed by the show at Loon Lake on the 19th. I’ll be posting on how these turn out afterwards, hopefully they will be improvements!!! Stay tuned.


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26 thoughts on “First Craft Fair of the Season

  1. Heather November 8, 2011 at 8:35 am Reply

    Sorry for your disappointment at your show! It really sucks when you work your butt off and have next to nothing to show for it, but win some lose some I guess! I’ve had a show earlier this spring that was so poor on attendance then I was able to chat with other vendors for over half an hour without being in my booth! I didn’t even make my booth fee that day. Come to find out they didn’t even advertise it so duh nobody knew about it! Won’t be going there again.

    I’m glad you’ve had good luck with your square, I’ve heard really good things about it! I have a BlackBerry (which of course can’t use a square and SUCKS) so I have to wait till end of Dec to get a Droid, I can’t wait to get one and try it out at fairs next year!

    Good luck on your next show this weekend! I get to lug folding tables across the parking lot by myself too Friday night (hubby works late) so I so feel for you having to do that! At least however I get to set up the night before the show, it’s sooooo nice being able to do that and I’m not all sweaty from whipping jewelry on my tables before I see customers, LOL!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 8, 2011 at 9:06 am Reply

      Aw, man! Heather that sounds much worse in comparison. but I totally agree about being able to set up beforehand! This next show I’ll be able to set up at least part of it on Friday before, so that’ll definitely be nice!!

  2. madamesaslow November 8, 2011 at 9:18 am Reply

    The being able to take cards sounds like a great thing. Even with all the occupy movements and people being mad at banks, people still want to use a debit card more often than cash. Does the machine have a per-transaction fee or what?

  3. MegansBeadedDesigns November 8, 2011 at 9:45 am Reply

    Square takes 2.75% of the sale. I think it’s awesome because it means when nothing sells… no charges like with a lot of other credit card processing services.

    So for example, I tested it when i first got it and charged $1.00 to my own credit card, Square takes their fee and sends 97 cents to my bank account. They do have a slightly higher fee, 3.75 I think, if you have to key in the credit card number rather than being able to swipe it. Still… super easy! (And I think the price is right!)

  4. artsings1946 November 8, 2011 at 9:58 am Reply

    Wow…there is no way I can do shows because of my health. I don’t know how to follow you. I have a blogger blog (love blogger) and am not very good at the tech stuff. My daughter just tried to help me but it didn’t work. So that’s that for now. Oh, and what about your water bill … I ask because I’m in Florida and my neighbors and I have gotten twice the normal water bill for the last six months. And we can’t get them to fix it…..I think they needed more revenue and somehow made the meteors go faster or something … because we are not using twice the amount of water. Good luck … I just hope my etsy shop starts taking off with my art prints.
    Peace, Happiness and Abundance to ALL !

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 8, 2011 at 10:00 am Reply

      Thanks for commenting! I’m in the completely opposite area of the country. lol, Washington state. So I’m sure my water bill being so high isn’t related to whatever is going on in Florida… at least i would hope not!

      You can follow my blog by entering your e-mail in the very top right-hand corner and clicking “follow.”

      I appreciate every new follower and hope to offer each of them the very BEST 9or at least entertaining) content in my future posts to come!

  5. Janet Blain November 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm Reply

    I, too, just did a craft show and it was my first, ever! I used to do silverwork and demonstrated at countless gem and mineral shows, but haven’t been out in the public for years. I am a lampwork artist making the glass beads that I put in my items. The jewelry was looked at, but the things that sold the most were the ceiling fan pull chains. I only sold 5 items, but like you, could pay for my space and come home with a little.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 9, 2011 at 8:02 am Reply

      At least you got your space paid for! I have done shows in which that didn’t happen… and I can’t think of anything more disappointing…

  6. Becky Kleiner November 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm Reply

    I feel ya…I did the Ozark Craft Fair in Ozark MO for the second year in a row, and like you, made up the booth cost, and almost the banner cost. The comments by people were much the same (altho my prices are higher for handmade) and it left me wondering what happened??
    I know marketing your brand is a big thing, and branding your logo…
    You are great at blogging tho!! I really need to work on being able to write more/better :)

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm Reply

      Aww… thanks Becky. I appreciate the feedback. I’m kind of addicted to blogging now. lol I probably couldn’t stop if I tried!

  7. Hilltop Hausfrau November 8, 2011 at 9:41 pm Reply

    Heya…thanks for dropping in at my hausfrau blog! Two things: yay for you for actually getting out to a craft fair AND so freaking awesome that you are using schmantzy technology for customers to pay! I need to suck it up and be more gutsy like you, get my butt to a craft fair! Keep on tryin!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 9, 2011 at 8:03 am Reply

      I just got my new smart phone, after being in the “dark ages” and only using phone that are… well… phones! lol I’m amazed by everything it can do. I’m sure I haven’t even figured out the half of it too.

  8. Michele November 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm Reply

    Hey there! Since you asked for tips from local crafters…the rumors on which show does better than another on the same weekend depends on which ones are conflicting. In this case with CV vs. Shadle, Shadle is kind of a powerhouse. You might have one slow day out of two, but the one good one usually makes up for the slow one. It’s a hard show to get into, and shows where vendor spaces are that coveted is a good thing. One bonus of doing high school shows, though, is that there are always high school students who volunteer to help vendors load and unload, sit at your booth while you go to the restroom, and often will bring a muffin/coffee cart around occasionally.

    Also, your day sounds exactly like every show I’ve ever done. Everything from “Oh, you’re WAY underpricing this” and then walking away to “$25 for a ROCK??” which by the way cost me $12 just for the geode, then add in the beads and labor that turned it from an ugly uncracked geode into a pretty paperweight. Don’t let it get you down. The right buyer always comes along eventually. Good luck with your next one, and keep your chin up! Your booth looks great…much better than mine :)

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 9, 2011 at 8:05 am Reply

      Thank you SOOOO much for the tip Michele! I’m thinking I’ll definitely try out the Shadle show next year. you get 2 days for the same booth price as the one at SCC one, so it seems like a win-win!

  9. sweetcloverstudio November 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm Reply

    Congrats on the first show of the season! I am baffled by the people who squeal with delight over an item then put it back and walk away…i call them lookellooers and i can’t stamd them. They baffle me too. good luck on the rest of your season:)

  10. Kim Wedlock November 9, 2011 at 6:19 am Reply

    Looks great! I did a fair during the summer and I too thought I didn’t have enough stock. I had -considerably- less than you, but I didn’t sell more than about 5% of it all anyway. And I also had people come over and say everything was lovely and then walk away. But I had 2 young girls come over and have a look, they looked at the wrong price tags (3 for this much sort of tags) and, bear in mind I’m sat -right there-, they said “this is crap, it’s all way too expensive, not worth it at all” And I was like :O HOW DARE YOU! I didn’t say anything though, and I was only actually selling my necklaces and rings for £3 or £4. Kids can be so mean sometimes, but part of me thinks they didn’t realise that I made it, since it was a summer fair, not a craft fair.

    Good luck on your next fairs!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 9, 2011 at 8:07 am Reply

      yeah, kids can be brutally honest with their thoughts sometimes. Haha. I had a couple of little girls who kept coming over and trying everything on, and by everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Of course, they are young, so $20 for a headband seems very expensive to them. And they weren’t afraid to voice their opinions on it either! I was still happy that they liked my stuff to keep coming back, its just too bad they didn’t have any money. lol

  11. Beth - Paper Angels Photography November 9, 2011 at 7:42 am Reply

    I have experienced almost the same thing. People will tell me how beautiful my work is and how great it would look in their home and then walk away. It is so frustrating. If it is so wonderful and great, then why don’t they buy it?!

    Just keep at it and good luck with your next show!!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 9, 2011 at 8:08 am Reply

      Thanks Beth! I’m sure I’ll get used to such statements the more shows I do. Live and learn I guess. :-)

  12. MaryFaithPeace November 9, 2011 at 8:36 am Reply

    Visiting from the Etsy Blog Team. Kudos to you for doing the HARD WORK of preparing for a craft fair. I’ve only done it once (with excellent results). Despite that, I shudder to think about preparing for another one. Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Thanks for the kind words on Book Beads.

  13. PAM RICH November 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm Reply


    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm Reply

      Wow Pam, thank you so much!

      The Mead fair is on Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

      Looking forward to seeing you there!

  14. […] idea to life. This last week I was able to make a custom headband for someone who saw me at my SCC craft show and thought I would be able to make the perfect headband for her sister. She described what she […]

  15. […] accessories Display I have to say that the show was pretty slow, as was my last one as SCC, but I did slightly better in sales. And even though the second day, Sunday, was very, veryyyyyy […]

  16. […] the show saw each and every vendor there. (My grandfather tried to come see me at the much bigger show at SCC, but left because he couldn’t find […]

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