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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Craft Show Adventures

This is what my craft room AND my sunroom have looked liked for the last two weeks.  My husband jokingly tells me he is so glad he found me a house with TWO craft rooms :)
I have been crafting up a storm and the place has been a study in not-quite-controlled chaos and just plain messy to boot.  Why crafting and messy-ness go hand in hand, I'm never sure, but they do.  You just can't craft without a mess. And since I've been neck deep in preparations for my first foray into the craft show world...
(It wasn't just the house that got a little neglected.  I have SO many new items that I need to shoot photos of, blog about, etc.)
A friend and I have been talking about trying our hand at craft shows for months now.  We looked into what was available in our area and tried to pick a few that looked promising and I have been gradually adding to me "stock" every since.  I had hoped to avoid the whole rush to complete things at the last minute.  But in reality it's just a LOT of work and it's hard to control the creative monster until you are down to the wire and have to ruthlessly start regulating your time.  So I pretty much wore myself out the past couple of weeks trying to get things ready, on top of everything else that makes up my normal life.  And yesterday was the big day!
We rolled out of bed early and were on our way by 6.  Set up went pretty smoothly and we were happy about how things looked.  It was a beautiful day and the activities of the event pulled in a lot of people.  We talked to quite a few people, handed out plenty of cards with links to our website, and did a lot of people watching. Since we were at "Mule Days" my friend was continually amused/amazed by the number of people walking around in cowboy boots and other cowboy gear.  For me, it was a reminder of the big 4th of July Celebration back home (small town and completely Western) - something I don't feel very often in North Carolina.
Overall, a good day.  Except for the sales part of it.  Even after moving the tables to the front sides of the tent (after realizing that people would walk by but rarely venture into the tent to take a close look at anything), which did help draw more attention, we spent most of the day wondering why things weren't selling very well.  Were the items not cute enough?  No, we got plenty of compliments.  Was the audience wrong for out items?  Don't think so - there were plenty of people with strollers and most of our stuff is for babies and children, most of which were dressed adorably.  What about pricing?  Well, that is something we evaluate pretty fully and there is a line where if you don't charge a certain amount it just doesn't cover the costs and time that goes into it.  And to us it seems fairly priced.  Was the venue wrong?  Possibly - other vendors we talked to weren't making loads of sales either.  Displayed in a way that didn't show things to their best advantage?  Were people just there for a day out (or maybe just to steal ideas - we caught at least one person taking photos) and not to shop?  Were the other events too distracting?  Do we simply just not know how to talk to people in a way that will close a sale? Just the luck of the draw??....
Honestly selling on Etsy is easier in that respect, since you don't have to phyically watch how many times people look at an item before the right buyer comes along.  And it WAS our first show.  So I'm staying optimistic and still looking forward to our second show at the end of next month.  Wish us luck!  And if anyone has any suggestions or tips - please share!

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