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.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? 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.
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.
Tagged: art, chrsitmas fair, craft booth, craft fair, craft fair inventory, craft show display, credit card reader, display, earrings, etsy, fall fair, hair accessories, headbands, jewelry display, local craft show, local events, rings, scc, selling, square