Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Storms & Craft Fairs Don't Mix

Last weekend I attended my very first craft fair ever.  I had been contemplating for awhile about weather nor not I should try to sell my crafts at a craft fair.  But the only ones here locally are huge ones on the waterfront and there is one in the fall and one in the spring but they cost at least $100 for a space.  I am very reluctant to try those out,  due to cost and time involved (two whole days outside).  So as luck would have it an email popped up in my Etsy account inviting me to a craft fair in Garner, NC.  Garner is just outside of Raleigh which is about 2 hours from here.  The booth fee was only $25 so I thought I'd give it a try!  The fair was scheduled to start at 8AM but the sellers had to be on site to set up by NO later than 6:30AM according to their directions.  Since I live 2 hours away I didn't want to be getting up at 4AM to get there so I asked my brother and sister in law who live in Raleigh if I could stay Friday night at their house so I would be closer in the morning.  They were out of town but they let me stay in their house (Thanks guys!!!!) anyway.  My good friend and neighbor Jennifer came with me to help out.  I wasn't sure I wanted to do it by myself nor did I think I could physically do it with tables, tent and bathroom/food breaks.  My hubby was going to come but then we had the kids to deal with too and that would have been more of a disaster.  So I put the word out on Facebook for help.  So thank you SOOOOO much Jennifer. 

We got to the site right at 6:30AM on dot to set up.  We managed to get the tent up (not that easy and you totally need at least 2 people to do it) and tables set up by about 7AM.  Now according to the website and all the paperwork I got, I was told they would close the site to car traffic at 7AM so if you arrived late you would have to unload across the street and bring it all over.  Well this was not the case at all they let people drive in to unload until like 8:20AM.  I was not happy about that because I would not have left so friggin early to be there AND we had an hour with nothing to do because they wanted me there so early.  They also had me next to another lady selling (wait for it ... ) FRAMES!!   Yes they did that in a craft fair with 40+ sellers.  I was not happy about that at all (I don't think she was either).  But our stuff was VERY different at least.

People really responded to this mirror and LOVED to touch it

So it was finally time for customers to start arriving.  It was slow.  I am not sure how much advertising they did but I don't think it was enough because foot traffic was minimal and sporadic at best.  It was really too bad because there were some really awesome crafts people there.  I went walking around and I was really impressed with the other booths.  The fair was supposed to last until 3PM but at about 1:30 a huge thunder storm started to roll in and roll in fast.  The wind picked up and people's tents started to blow over!!  So we all started packing it in for the day.  The wind was actually troubling the whole day.  My frames kept blowing down which was not ideal because they look a lot better standing up for people to see at a distance.  But you can't change mother nature!!  I got people coming up and looking and making comments which gave me good feed back.  I sold two things which *almost* covered the cost of the booth fee.  I lost some money in gas but it was worth the experience.  I gave away a lot of business cards and got a few emails for contacts so that's all good.  I also sat and made my origami flowers while it was slow which got people over the booth and talking to me. 

 Flower Kusudama Ball

The origami flower balls got by far the most interest and comments but I didn't sell any.  Not sure if people thought it was too early to buy Christmas ornaments (most people called them ornaments) or they thought they were too pricey.  I guess I should have asked but it didn't occur to me to while we were there.  So that was the experience in a nutshell.  I would do another one again but this time I know what questions to ask (like what marketing they will be doing) and to look for ones INSIDE during the summer if at all possible! 

The Black & White Puzzle Piece Frames got a lot of comments (I sold the 8x10 version that day)

This clock got a lot of comments too

This candle got a ton of comments (my pictures never did it justice) and it sold!

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