I had my final 2013 holiday craft fair over the weekend. It definitely hasn't sunk in yet that I'm done and am actually starting to get my life back now. In 2012, I did two open houses and seven craft fairs. In 2013, I did nine craft fairs. So you wouldn't think that it felt like that much more this year than last, but with everything going on this fall, it really did.
For my 2013 shows, I kept my two best selling high-end lines: dagger bracelets and leafy bracelets, and I devoted the rest of the booth to $25 and under items. I didn't display any of my other high-end lines. As I made very little other changes to my booth from 2012 to 2013, I'm not sure what else I can attribute to the fact that overall, I had higher earning shows in 2012 than 2013. Even though it's rare that people buy those higher end items, I think that not having them there cheapened the display. I didn't get people into the mentality to spend $20-$30 or more at my booth.
I'll be honest: it's frustrating. I was tired of having endless discussions about the hours of work that went into making the high end pieces that customers were never interested in buying. I thought that keeping the pieces that did sell well around would be enough to keep that "wow" factor in my booth. But clearly I need more.
The good news is that even if my earnings weren't as high, I still had a better show list in 2013. All of the shows that I vended had good traffic and were decently, if not very well, run. Even when you aren't making a ton of money, both of these factors play a large role in whether or not you would ever go back. For those of you who vend shows, you know how awful it is to do completely dead shows and/or very poorly run shows. All of the shows are well established and very likely, if not definitely, going to be back in 2014. It's a relief to have a great list at the start and not spend a lot of energy hunting for shows that may be a complete waste of time.
The other good news is that I still have high-end pieces that I can bring back into my display for future shows. I haven't sold or donated that inventory, which would have left me to start all over with that path.
With that being said, I'm going to focus on the following for my 2014 shows:
- Better signage. Even when every single item is tagged with a price, a lot of people still have trouble figuring out how much items cost. I did have a lot of section signs this year (i.e. "button rings $3 or 4 for $10"), but I need to overhaul the vast majority signage for my booth. Some aspects of it have worked okay, but there are a few areas that are severely lacking.
- Packaged small items. In past years, people have bought multiple different small items and/or taking advantage of deals for multiple single items (i.e. get a free button magnet when you buy 5 magnets), which meant decent cart totals. This year I had way too many people spend $1-$3. This simply isn't enough to make shows worth my time. With the exception of my button rings, which people 1) buy regularly and 2) love to try on before purchasing, I'm going to package all of my $5 and under items into $4-$12 sets.
- More high-end inventory. As I've already mentioned, I still have this inventory. I need to figure out how to incorporate it back into my display.
How did your 2013 shows go? Are you thinking about 2014 shows already?