Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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My First Craft Show Experience!

I just finished my very first craft show ever on September 13th,
and here’s my story. Grab a cup of coffee, because it’s long! Lol!
When I found out about the opportunity to actually sell my jewelry at a craft show, I realized I had just one month to get ready. So, I immediately started making my lists! I had an “everything needed for the show” list, a “tasks to do” list, and a “to buy” list. I’m a huge list maker, and if I was to get everything done in time, I needed all these lists! I began with my first list, by writing down all the items I needed, then I went through the list and checked off the items I already had. Such as, tables, chairs, material for table covers, bust displays, an earring display, and of course, jewelry! In order to obtain all the other items on my list, I began my 2nd list of “tasks to do.” I needed to design my own earring cards and jewelry tags, I needed a display for my bracelets, and I needed to sew my table covers. Since I only have 6 necklace bust displays, I needed something else to put the rest of my necklaces on. My husband ended up making some displays for me, and they were wonderful! And the most important thing was….they were cheap! We already had all the materials needed to make them. My 3rd list, the “to buy” list consisted of the materials I needed to buy. Such as, heavy cardstock for my earring cards and jewelry tags, photo-paper to print my business cards, earring card adapters for hanging my earrings, mirrors, bags to put purchased jewelry in, a receipt book, etc. I was able to purchase everything locally except for the earring card adapters. I bought those from “Rio Grande.” A package of 100 (2”x1/2”) for $6.67, without shipping costs. As I was completing all my tasks and checking them off the list with a huge smile on my face, I was creating more jewelry pieces too. I had around 70 pieces, but wanted to get up to at least 100. Well, I ended up with 104 pieces, and I was very proud of myself! As the show date got closer, I found myself getting more nervous. I didn’t sleep much the night before. I am so not a morning person, but when 5:30am came, I was wide awake, and more importantly, I was ready! We arrived at 7:15am, and choosing a spot was easy, since hardly anyone was there yet. It was easy getting set up, because the night before, I did a mock set up in my living room. I already knew how I wanted everything to look and be displayed. And…I left the necklaces on the bust displays, so all I had to do was pull them out of the plastic bags I had them stored in. I stored my mirrors in with my table covers, and had everything organized according to the mock set up. When people started to arrive and venture over to my space, I made sure I greeted everyone and told them to feel free to ask questions, and to not be shy and try on pieces. I had my business cards setting out and a journal for people to sign up for future business letters and holiday sale alerts. All in all, it went well, and my nerves eventually settled down. My husband helped a lot! And…he kept bringing me food samples from other venders, so I didn’t get hungry at all. I met and talked with a lot of people, and I got to meet some of my EWAET (eastern washington etsy team) members from Lots of people complimented me on my set up, and that was nice to hear. I walked away with a few sales…mostly earrings, and I got a custom order for a necklace. I was thrilled with my results! I will be doing this again for sure! Some tweeking will be done for my set up, such as, having more trays and/or fancy bowls for people to rummage through. I found that people like to pick up the piece, feel textures, hold pieces in the light, and hold them up to themselves as they look in the mirror. I don’t think I’ll use as many necklace busts, as I found that people were afraid to touch them, and that was a huge turn off. My necklace display will be tweeked to stand on the floor instead of setting on the table. It was made to look like a painter’s easel. But it took up too much room. I think knowing what type of customers a show attracts is very important. This show had sort of a laid back feel to it. There were all natural foods, bags made from trees and bark, and going green was a huge factor. I feel that if I would’ve researched more beforehand about the style of the potential customer, I would’ve made hemp jewelry, and I probably would’ve sold more. Catch my drift? Anyway…a good plan for participating in a show is key. And for me, it involved making my lists. So, how ever you plan for a show, make sure you’ve covered all bases. You don’t want to spend your time worrying over something you maybe forgot to do or bring. When you’re prepared, you can enjoy yourself and have fun. Making sales is a great thing, but the experience is much greater!

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