Monday, 4 March 2013

Craft Show Recap

Yep, you read that right!  It's 3 months later but I wanted to have a recap available for my records and perhaps some of you might find something useful here as well.
My first show was early in the season, still in October.  It was the first year for this show, hosted by another artisan.  The table fee was low so I thought I would give it a shot.  There were definitely some freshman issues at this show.  The location was not fantastic and advertising was limited to facebook and a smattering of posters around town.  I definitely would have preferred to spend a little more money and have advertising on the radio and in the newspaper.  But I made a few sales and met some more local artisans.

My second show was a 3 day event in a large event arena.  I lucked out and had a little extra space that allowed me to set up my favorite display of the season.  Unfortunately, there were a lot of resellers with made in China junk at this show.  In previous years, this show had earned a reputation for being crafter unfriendly with high booth fees and lots of non-handmade product.  But this year they lowered their booth cost and promised handmade only.  However, at the last minute they had too many empty booths and invited about a dozen resellers.  The hours were long, the people through were low considering the amount of advertising done and sales were not what I had hoped. 


I knew show #3 would be my busiest by far.  It's the most well known of the school Christmas Craft Shows and can get thousands through the door Friday night alone.  The hours were short, the table fee is low and it was definitely worth my time and money.  I had hoped to have higher sales but I also received a custom twin quilt order the week following the show that nearly doubled my sales for the weekend.  I did find the space was cramped and the hardest to set up for.  I will need to do quite a bit of rethinking before this show rolls around next year.

 My final show was a Christmas Craft Fair at my daughter's elementary school.  I am told that in previous years this show was as busy as the previous one I did.  Unfortunately, the two years I have participated have been complete duds.  Hardly any people coming through and even fewer people actually interested in buying.  It didn't help that the lady next to me had added several bins under her table with flea market stuff :(  I had planned on continuing with this show to support my daughter's school but I think I would be better off making a monetary donation in some other way.

I definitely learned a lot this year doing craft shows.  Most importantly, I learned that I am not going to sell a lot of my product locally.  I am in a location that trends toward a more traditional style, while my products are definitely more modern feeling.  There are also a lot of hobbyists around here.  By hobbyists, I refer to people who enjoy crafting and just want to make enough to cover materials so they can continue crafting.  Unfortunately, that creates a situation where buyers are turned off to the prices required to support a crafting business.  I did see some signs that this may be shifting so I will continue to do the 2 shows I considered a nominal success to build up my local presence.

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