Tuesday, November 6, 2012

halfway through fall / holiday shows for 2012

This past weekend I vended at two different shows: one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Yep, this was pretty crazy. One of the funniest parts about it is how many vendors I met at both shows who also had two shows this weekend. I guess that I'm not the only crazy one.

This was my set up for Saturday. (The lady with the scarves behind my booth to the right was also in a neighboring booth on Sunday.) I'm getting my set up routine down pretty well. I'm usually scrambling to get things set up right until the customers show up, but I was ahead of schedule at both shows this weekend. That was a good feeling.

The guy behind me was selling hand carved spoons and other kitchen utensils. How cool is that? Some of my family members will be getting some of his items for Christmas.

This was definitely the better of the two shows. It was very well run and had some of the best traffic I've seen at a show in quite a while. There were lots of student helpers who did a great job all day, plus the school had lots of carts for vendors to use. For free. I've never seen anything quite like that before, and I can't even tell you what a big difference it made. I didn't have record breaking sales, but I did well enough that I would go back again next year.

Do you see the Packers pillows in the booth next to mine? I did some more Christmas shopping at this show.

Kind of like deja vu, right? It felt like it, too. This show was not as well run, but my bigger complaint was that it wasn't all handmade. I get really upset when there is a big Scentsy booth right near one of the entrances where people will drop $100 and then barely look at most of the handmade products available. I mean no offense to anyone reading this who sells those type of products, but the more shows that I do, the more than I loathe those type of products. It doesn't make me want to participate in these "mixed" shows as much.

The other frustrations:
I had a sale goal for all of my sales this fall, and I have not met it yet. Needless to say, that is a little discouraging. I came close with my Saturday show, but I really didn't with my other two. I still have three more shows, and you never know what will happen, especially as my last show is by far my biggest. If that show is really successful, it could more than make up for the lack of sales at other shows. But that hasn't happened yet so I hate to get my hopes too high.

I have observed a number of neighboring booths who have done well because they have done a lot of shows in the area over the past five years or more and get a lot of return customers. I've only lived here a year and a half so I'm just not at that point yet. Will I really make enough in subsequent years to justify returning to shows that weren't as profitable as I'd hoped the first time around? It's hard to know.

Some more good things:
I was really fortunate at both shows to have more really nice booth neighbors. That has been such a blessing at all of my shows thus far this fall. Even when sales were slow, the company was good. That makes it much easier to stay in a good mood.

Also, on the plus side, do you see how empty my ring rack is in that final picture? That was before the show even started. I have sold a number of those little guys this fall and will be making more before my next show. I am running low on a few other smaller items and will be working on those this week as well.

What's next?
  • More rings and other small items. I wish that more higher end jewelry items were flying out of the booth, but at least something is selling. I have my work cut out for me with those projects this week.
  • More show schedules. Another success from this weekend's shows is that a lot of people took my printed version of my 2012 shows. I need to get pictures of them. Hopefully they really are driving a little more traffic to some of these shows.
  • Splitting up my magnet stocks. Since I started making glass and bottle cap magnets, I've filled a single magnet board with all of them. This means that I've been displaying less button magnets, which I think is a mistake, because they have always been a great show item. So I'm going to devote the board button magnets again and sell my other magnets in a separate display as you can see here. We'll see how that goes. In order to do this for the next show, I need to restock button magnets and make more magnet cards to accommodate all of my glass and bottle cap magnet stock.
I'm setting up for my next fall show on Friday. Needless to say, it's going to be a busy week. I'm hoping that if I can push through with these projects now, it'll mean less work before the final shows of the season.

How are your 2012 fall / holiday shows going thus far?

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  1. I'm glad your show on Saturday went well :) I've noticed a lot of the same thing with smaller items selling better than larger items. And people just not buying as much overall.
    And I agree about non-handmade items at craft shows...not a fan of that either. They have their place, but not a craft shows.
    I hope your next show rocks :)

  2. At least you are breaking down the good and the bad. That will help you is choosing shows to attend and things to display. Good work. You can't succeed if you don't know what's working and what isn't.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  3. I've only ever been a buyer at craft shows, but I would definitely hate seeing non-handmade items on display. It is true that small items usually sell well (having observed the other buyers).
    I hope you reach your sales goal at the remaining shows. Good luck!!

    p.s. I love cooking/baking with wooden spoons :)

  4. Good luck on shows to come. As I remember,I bought a number of small items at local shows. So I think that is impt., having a number of some items. Congrats! {:-D

  5. Wow, I love your booth.. looks like you have lots of cute, crafty handmade items! In the second photo down on the post, next to your cute cards there is a sort of file box.. I am curious to know what that is.. is it a card file?

    Glad you were able to sell a few things... hopefully at the next show you will sell even more :)

  6. Well I'm glad your Saturday show went well. I agree with the mixed shows. I was at a show this summer that ended up being more then half non-handmade. It's just frustrating.

    Good luck on your other shows, I'm sure you're going to do great!

  7. Your set up looks great and I'm glad you had one good show day! Sorry your Sunday show did not go as well! I had a show this past weekend as well and it was just OK, but I have four more shows to go and hopefully things will pick up. I hope your shows go well too!
    Everyday Inspired

  8. Wow. Two shows in one weekend. I'm impressed. I'm glad you had fun and met some other cool crafters even if the sales weren't what you were hoping for.

  9. Glad your show went well. The craft show we did in August had a separate section for vendors selling items that weren't had made and the show we did last year didn't allow anything that wasn't hand made.

  10. Your display always looks so great! I hope the final shows are a big success. I've been to a show where non-handmade stuff was being sold across the aisle from me by a lady who sounded like an infomercial. She was selling lots but she was so pushy most people ran by our booths. So frustrating!

  11. Back in the dark ages of long ago when I did shows - and enjoyed them very much, I might add! - There were shoppers who went from show to show to purchase from certain vendors. It was fun to meet up with other vendors, too - and compare notes about which shows were the best. Hope the rest of yours are all successful!

  12. Sorry to hear you didn't meet all of your sales goals yet. But, it looks like at least the Sat show was a success!

  13. I also find the non-handmade booths frustrating, especially when the items are the same kind of item that some of the handmade booths are trying to sell. Avon and Tupperware are one thing, but candles and jewelry? How are the handmade seller supposed to compete?

    1. I definitely agree with you. Some non-handmade products do fit in decently if no one is selling those specific products. It's extremely rare to be at a school or church craft fair without handmade candles or jewelry. Having non-handmade sellers for those items just creates unnecessary competition for everyone.


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