Monday, June 7, 2010

wrapping up the Iowa Arts Festival

The Iowa Arts Festival was this past weekend, and it was awesome!  It rained while we were setting up on Saturday, but the weather during the rest of the festival was great.  The crowds were steady both days, as were my sales!  The only slow period that I had was the first hour on Sunday.  I barely sat down the rest of the festival because I constantly had people in my booth.  My sales way exceeded my expectations.  People who didn't buy still had positive feedback.  I got a lot of compliments about my designs, particularly my button designs.  In general, people were very friendly.  I've always said that people in Iowa are friendlier than anywhere else I've lived.  The crowds at the festival definitely lived up to that.

All in all, it was a very uplifting experience.  I have been pretty frustrated with Etsy sales during the majority of 2010.  I have done a lot this entire past school year to increase my advertising through my Facebook fan page, Twitter, and this blog.  It takes a lot of time and energy, and I don't feel like it's paid off for the most part.  I've had only one sale directly through Twitter and one directly through the Etsy forums.  It doesn't help that Etsy continues to be more competitive.  I got lots of Twitter followers who are brand new Etsy sellers with less than 10 items in their shops, already spamming people 5-10 times per day with self-promotion.  For all that Etsy is an encouraging environment, it is also a very competitive one.  If I don't list something or post something somewhere for even a couple days, I start losing followers.  I got worn out by the level of self-promotion that is necessary to stay on top.  It was great to have two days at the festival with tons of positive feedback and steady sales.

Digressing a little bit here: The best part of Etsy has been the continued support of my EBW and EtsyBlogger team mates.  I really appreciate all of you who regularly comment here.  That's been the biggest thing that's kept me going with the whole online selling process.

I am not ready to quit by any means, but I am reconsidering what I want to do with my Etsy shop.  I sold a lot of items that are listed there at the festival, so for now, I've deactivated all items that I just sold or had previously listed as "made to order."  I'm still in the process of figuring out what I want to continue to list as "made to order" and if there are any other changes that I want to make to my shop.  For now, I will list my new items that didn't sell at the festival, remake the designs that I want to, and not hurry too much with figuring out what I'm going to do with the rest of the items.  There are other projects that I want to work on this summer such as editing and posting pictures from this school year, making cards, making cork board coasters, and picking up counted cross-stitch again.  I love working on jewelry, but it is far from my only creative interest.  I don't want to get hung up on all of my Etsy stuff and not work on anything else

I am still interested in starting a mailing list this summer as well as working on writing a couple patterns for my designs, both of which I hope will also generate more interest in my Etsy shop.  I gave out lots of business cards at the festival and gave out 15% off coupons for my Etsy shop to everyone who purchased something from me.  I hope that those efforts will generate more interest, too.  If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know!  I'm always open to suggestions.

Finishing up with the festival: The person who helped me set up both days was supposed to take a couple pictures of me with my booth, but I didn't end up in either picture.  So here are some of the pictures that I took during the second day of the festival.

It was pretty windy off and on the second day so I didn't put up the tent walls and I pinned or taped everything and used all of my paperweights.

I set up my tables almost exactly like I did during my test run.  As you can see, by this point in the weekend, a lot of my button magnets and several pendants had already sold!

There are a few things that I might do differently in the future, but overall, I was pretty happy with the set up.

Green was definitely a popular color choice throughout the weekend.  I sold all of my green button earring studs.  Here are two of the pairs that I sold.

Among other items, I also sold my green leafy earrings.
I finished a new pendant today and spent about two hours with buttons, arranging new bracelets, earrings, and magnets.  I'll start listing new items again on Etsy tomorrow.


  1. Glad to hear your show was a success! I know I love the pieces you created for me so it's wonderful that so many others are enjoying your work now too! I'm feeling frustrated with online sales too but still hanging in there.

  2. Thanks Sharla! I'm so glad that you're enjoying your pieces. :)

    It was a relief to read on the EtsyBlogger forum tonight that I'm not the only one who's frustrated with my lack of Etsy sales. I'm glad that you're still hanging in there, too!

  3. I'm so happy for you, Rose, that the festival was successful for you! That's great news!
    I am currently looking at new sales avenues (well apart from my website to be launched soon)

    p.s. Sammy has an award for Angel - the happy cat award. Do stop by to pick it up :)

  4. that sounded like a great show. I'm feeling a lot like you are... etsy is slow, festivals are good, thinking about a mailing list. And I haven't giving up on etsy either, because of the bloggers! {:-D

    Duni - haven't taken the big step on selling off my blog... or should I say website!

  5. Glad you had a great show!! Etsy is kinda slow but I won't give up too.. coz I don't know what else to do.. :(

  6. Thanks for the encouragement! I know people who have taken the leap to having their own web site and have had success with that. It's a huge time commitment that I'm not quite ready to make, but I may get to that point eventually. You'll have to let us know how it goes for you, Duni!

    I'm glad that others aren't ready to give up on Etsy yet either. There are other positive aspects to it besides just the sales.

    Thank you much for the award Duni! I'll post it sometime this week. :)

  7. So glad your show went well. Your earrings and cards are so cute. On line sales is a life and I want some of mine back too! It's like having a party and no one shows up.

  8. I completely agree with you, Rose. Someone has suggested that the items listed on etsy be considered as an "online catalog." In that sense, it is relatively inexpensive. But, of course, that means one must be selling in person.
    I had higher hopes when I started on etsy a little over a year ago. Lots of stuff happened in my life in the ensuing time, and I have had little time to put into all the promotion needed. If you consider the time (and therefore cost) of all that time involved--listing, blogging, etc....
    That being said, I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with all the people I have met. I am not giving up at this point.
    I do need to start doing craft shows again, though.
    Your show set up looks great, you have wonderful items, and I'm very glad the show was a success!

  9. Thanks Karen and Margaret!

    I work full time and have been working on my master's degree since the spring of 2008 so I only have so much free time to spend on Etsy. I also want to spend some of my time creating! Things were fairly steady through Christmas, but I've felt a drop off since then. I know that I'm not the only one.

    I'm glad that you're sticking with it, too, Margaret. The EtsyBloggers is a great group. :) I just got into the craft fair scene and am glad that I did. Hopefully it will continue to pay off.

  10. Hey there.. I know this post is a little old, but I found it through google while researching for an upcoming show I was involved with. I just wanted you to know that these series of posts you did about your signage, setups and displays were enormously helpful to me. I made some price signs similar to yours and it really made me look professional compared to everybody else's hand written stuff! Anyways, thanks again for the very informative posts here. :D


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