Sunday, April 20, 2008

What I've Learned From Craft Fairs

Yesterday I attended my third craft fair.
Each of the three have been completely different, and I've learned different things from each of them.
Fair #1 - Hissyfits Children's Clothing Store
Cost to participate: $0
Time spent at fair - about 4 hours
Results - Sold 5 ZadyMinis, 2 ZadyBalls - $68
I also got to meet some fantastic Etsy members and network with them.

What I learned:
  • ALWAYS bring shade if the fair is outdoors!
  • Inexpensive items tend to sell better than more expensive items. I didn't have enough of the inexpensive items.
  • Location is everything. While I didn't do super well, not nearly as well as I'd hoped for, I did better than some of the other vendors. I think this happened because we were at a children's shop, and so people were naturally more interested in children's items.
Fair #2 - 7th Avenue Street Fair
Cost to participate: $75 (I paid half)
Time spent at fair - about 9 hours
Results - Sold 11 ZadyMinis - $88
I did hand out several cards and talked with lots of people.

What I learned:
  • Sharing is not always a good thing. Because of the cost of this fair, I chose to share the space with a friend. While this may work for some people, I don't think that it worked for me. I felt like we were actually in competition with each other, not helping each other. Some people were confused by it as well.
  • Know what kind of crowd to expect. Bigger is not always better. I had huge expectations for this one. I was told that they expected 10,000 people, and that's probably about accurate. BUT, even with that many people, many of whom stopped and talked with me, very few were willing to buy my items. I think this happened for a couple of reasons:
    • There were SO many shops to choose from. There was literally 1/2 a mile of shops. With that many choices, and only limited funds, shoppers can't possibly spend money everywhere.
    • The crowd was not necessarily the "right" market for me. Very few people had kids, especially young babies. I should have guessed at this when I was filling out the form. "Children's" items was not one of the choices for types of shop. I had to select "other".
  • Candy is a good way to bring people over, but make sure it is age appropriate! You'd think this one would be a no-brainer. I had read on the Etsy forums that having a bowl of candy at your shop is a good way to draw a crowd. This actually worked, although a little too well. Most of the people that grabbed some candy were actually teenagers, and not exactly who would be interested in my product. Also, the candy I had was hard candy (the cheep stuff) and a little boy (staceyrebecca's son - how embarrassing!) almost choked on one! So, I'm not going to use that anymore!
Fair #3 - Villa de Paz Spring Carnival
Cost to participate: $15
Time spent at fair - about 4 hours
Results - Sold 6 ZadyMinis, 1 ZadyBall, 1 Zadybug - $83

This one was the most interesting. I actually went into it with VERY low expectations. After I registered, I heard from a few people that this one last year was a total bust. So, I figured I'd go since I had already signed up, but I wasn't really expecting much. And rightfully so. There were MAYBE 100 people, if you count all the kids. But, of the people that talked to me, probably half of them bought something!

What I learned
  • You never know what's going to happen. Had I decided not to go, I never would have gotten the sales that I did.
  • The type of crowd is everything. There must have been the right type of people there. It was a very family orientated event, so maybe that is why I did so well.
  • Watch what you say to other vendors - always stay positive! There was another seller there, selling non-handmade goods, who spent the entire time COMPLAINING about everything! From her job, to her house, her kids, and family. I was so tired of it by the end and determined that I would never buy from someone that negative!
This is a continual learning process, and I of course an no expert. I have another fair this coming week, and I'm sure I have plenty more from it.
Biggest lesson learned:


Happy Crafting said...

I have two craft shows coming up this summer. Thank you for giving a honest review! I hope your shows get better and better!!

bethany said...

Thanks for posting this! I am thinking about doing the Hissyfits fair and it's nice to hear someone else's opinion. I actually googled it for that very reason...
Are you going to be doing it again?
I will have to search for the Villa de Paz one-that sounds interesting and close to me, so we'll see. Thanks!