My First Craft Show

I found out about the Lincoln Holiday Bazaar and Craft Show only three days before it took place, when a flyer was stuck to my door.  The flyer was advertising to attendees, but it said there were still a few slots available for sellers.  Hmmm, why not? Before now I’ve sold exclusively online, but at just $20 for a table (shared with a friend so it was only $10), I figured it would be a good introduction to live selling.

I hauled ass finishing a bunch of mustache neckwarmers by showtime, and fell asleep each night worried I might run out of stock at the show (ha!). On Friday night I scrounged up some stuff and put together a display, seen below.

Alas, the sell-out dreams were not to be — I only made one sale. But I did hand out a lot of cards with my Etsy store on them, so hopefully something will come of that.  I got a lot of great feedback too, including a couple of reactions that completely made my day. Also on the plus side: I’ve got a ton of stuff completely ready now to ship on Etsy, rather than having it mostly done then scrambling when a sale comes in. Most of all, I learned some valuable things about how to display at shows.

A few disjointed anecdotes, observations, and criticisms:

  • The listing said they were 8′ tables, but they were really only 6′.  Not too big a deal, but I had prepped my display for 4′ (my half of the 8′) and had to pull a couple of items off. Lesson learned: be adaptable and don’t always trust organizers.
  • There was the woman who seemed interested, then asked what they were.  “Neckwarmers,” I replied. She leapt back, extremely agitated.  “No!!  I can’t stand anything on my neck!!  I can’t even wear turtlenecks!!”   Settle down, lady!  I’m not trying to force it over your head. Sheesh. Lesson learned: some people are flat-out crazy.
  • I heard “what is it?” and “what are they?” a lot more than I was expecting.  I thought the neckwarmer modeled on the glass display head would have been a clue, but apparently not.  Lesson learned: label things clearly.
  • I tried to put things at different levels for visual appeal (like the display head mentioned above, raised on a box to get it closer to eye level), but I guess at shows like this people’s eyes don’t leave the surface of the tables as they shuffle past.  They walk in a daze, eyes cast down and to the side, never looking up. If I had hung all my stuff on a rack at the back of the table, half the people walking by would have thought the table was empty. Lesson learned: important stuff low and up front, less important stuff up high and in back. This still seems counter-intuitive to me, but it’s hard to argue with experience.
  • There was too much Holiday Bazaar and not enough Craft Show (although what was there was good). Now I know they’re totally separate markets. Elderly ladies who wear purple jackets and matching red hats are not interested in neckwarmers with mustaches. Lesson learned: choose shows carefully to target your audience.
  • We don’t need The Chipmunks Christmas piped over crappy PA speakers to remind us this is a Christmas show.  Lesson learned: Alvin, Simon, and Theodore can choke on some nuts.

One Comment on "My First Craft Show"

  1. Lindsay says:

    Nice to meet you too! Your stuff looked great and I like your blog and etsy shop. It was my first craft show too, and funny, I worried about selling out as well!

    PS, I just found this craft show that’s still (I think) accepting vendors:

    It’s in Portland, and from the website info it seems a little more craft show-y and less holiday bazaar-y.

    Hope to see you at another show sometime! Good luck!

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