Spring Craft Shows

thelmaleeApril 14, 2008

Have any of you started Spring Craft Shows. I have done two and have two more scheduled. There is a big one April 25 that I am getting ready for. The two I have done have been small. Saturday's was almost rained out. It was almost lunch before the sun came out.

I have wanted to try Grandma Bonnie's potato bags but haven't decided how to do them. I am still looking for other projects to do. I am doing bags (I think they have run their course - not many sales) and hair bows - my biggest sellers.

These are some of my bags. They are much brighter than the picture shows.

Thelma

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imjustsam

I think your bags are beautiful. If I were to buy a bag that colorful, I would want a tote sized one. I wouldnt use it as an everyday bag since it would be hard for me to match. That would be my suggestion for you is to make them tote size and I would think the bag could be much more versatile. I really think yours are lovely and I would definately be purchasing one.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 4:12PM
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thelmalee

I do a lot of orange and blue because that is the color of the university near us. They have the name of the mascot and university copyrighted so I can't use them but can use the colors. Most of my bags are about 9 X 13.

Thanks for your kind remarks.

Thelma

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 5:02PM
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toomuchglass

Your bags are beautiful ! I Haven't sold at spring craft fairs - but have seen hand bags for sale and they did really good ! Good luck !

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 5:58PM
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luvstocraft

Your bags are beautiful, I really love that pink one. Also one of the posts on here was all about making bags to take to the grocery store with you--that might be a good idea for your shows too. Good luck to you, and keep us posted on how you do and any hot new items you see, okay? Luvs

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 11:23PM
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adellabedella_usa

I like the bright colors.

Since you already sew bags, how about making some sturdy totes for carrying groceries and other stuff from the stores instead of plastic. Places like Wal-Mart are starting to sell stuff this. A more up-scale crowd that is thinking 'green' may be willing to spend a little more than the WalMart crowd. You could use old jeans and clothes for your fabric. It's just a suggestion.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 2:06PM
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grandma_bonnie

Nice job, kiddo! I love the bright colors of your totes! Smart to use the colors of the school. I have a big show coming up on the 26th, Porterville Iris Festival. Praying for hot weather so I can sell a bunch of the neck coolers. I sell the potato bags as well as aprons and really simple totes too. Lots of the gag gifts too - the Redneck tank top has started to really pick up lately...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:37PM
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shysue

Your bags are great! Pretty fabric! I hope things go well for you and you can come back with a good report.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 8:29AM
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snolady

Crafts show are almost non existent in my area. Hard for people to keep up with rising inflation on gas, groceries and heating costs this past winter when the income stays the same so guess that's why craft shows are dead around here.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 8:51AM
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thelmalee

Thank you all for your kind remarks on my bags. I also have the biggest show of the year coming up on April 26. It is called Auburn City Fest and is the biggest show I do for now. Hope to expand to do more but there are not too many in our area also.

I would like to see pictures of other crafts, how you display them and what you do. Lets all post pictures!!

Thelma

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 10:53AM
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honeysuckleridge
    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 7:03PM
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foxylil_oh

I wasn't going to get in any spring shows this year but decided that I wouldn't be doing anything else so I sent my check in. I didn't make any money and the shoppers didn't show up. I hope that the fall shows are better for me. Good luck to you Grandma Bonnie on your upcoming show on the 26th. Keep us informed on how the show went and what you sold. Hope you sell a lot Thelma on the 25th and I love your bags. Did you do up any school color bags for the show?.....Di

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 12:39PM
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old-vt-crafter

Spring craft shows are difficult at best. There are a few up here but everybody waits for the "big one" in Burlington, VT in May. With the exchange rate being what it is, and the show only about 30 miles from the Canadian border we get lots of Canadians shopping. We do some other small shows but mainly flower and garden shows until the weather breaks in late April.

Your bags are very nice. There's one exhibitor around here that does similar work and she always does very well. As in thousands of dollars per show. She takes a 10x15 booth and literally fills it with bags.
Her latest creation, believe it or not, are shopping bags. Grocery bags. With more people not wanting to have those plastic bags and more stores urging prople to bring their own bags, she's making grocery bags. And doing very nicely!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 8:16AM
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grandma_bonnie

Here's a report on the Porterville show yesterday. Weather was just so-so so I only cleared $345, but that is over $40 an hour for the show. Only took a few things as I decided at the last minute to have someone else come with me to share the work and space. I sold neck coolers, the redneck tank tops, and potato bags as well as a few gag gifts. In that I sell every week at the farmers craft and farmer's market, I am glad that I only have to make more of the redneck tank tops this week. They invited me back at the end of next month to their Airport show where I will be entered for free and the city will even help with the gasoline expences - REALLY nice folks - had a ball. I hardly ever make special things for spring shows. People just expect my regular things... Try to find a niche and fill it. I am pretty crippled up this morning - I jump up when I see potential customers and can usually make a sale. Too many people bring a book or talk on the phone or visit when they need to pay attention to what is important - the customers!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 4:13PM
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thelmalee

I didn't do as well as Grandma Bonnie. I only took in about $200,00. I sold a few bags and a lot of little girl hair bows on clips for $3.00 each. It takes a lot of $3.00 items to add up. It was a beautiful sunny day and a lot of people came out but mostly were just looking. I did not see many people with sacks. The food vendors did a booming business. It was a fun day!!

Thelma

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 11:06PM
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old-vt-crafter

*****I jump up when I see potential customers and can usually make a sale. Too many people bring a book or talk on the phone or visit when they need to pay attention to what is important - the customers!******

You know the "secret" to successful selling. It would surprise you to see how many I see at shows that sit in the back of their booth reading! And that d*mn cell phone! I was across from a couple this weekend that sat all day for 2 days TEXTING!!! A customer would come up and they wouldn't even look up and just said what the prices were. Then they complained about lousy sales. I told them if they would put the phone away and concentrate on the task at hand they would have made some money.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 7:13AM
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thelmalee

I felt like a jumping bean. Everytime I sat down someone walked up. I agree that you have to meet your customers. I did not do anything when I sat but try to rest for a minute. My legs were so tired when I got home. I forgot to say that my son and dil shared my booth selling natural stone jewelry. They sold about $300.00. They said they sold more sets than at the last show but they were the less expensive sets, so didn't make any more money.

I have a show Saturday that is free to set up so will make more hairbows and go sell!! The small hairbows on alligator clips are my best sellers. I had one lady ask about buying wholesale for her shop - not sure about that.

Thelma

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 12:20PM
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grandma_bonnie

Thelma - my most expensive item I sold on Saturday was my Redneck tank top for $7. - the big seller was the neck coolers for $5 and I also sold Microwave potato Bags - both for $5.00 - I set up a rack and have the coolers ready to be used... I also brought the Redneck Wiener Washers to go along with my Redneck Tank Top. That always draws the people and when you get a few people, at your booth, others are drawn over to see what you have... I also give out a few of the coolers to the staff who help me with water and potty breaks... $$$ well spent.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 1:21PM
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old-vt-crafter

Thelmalee,

What you should look into is a tall director's chair. They are bar stool height. This way you aren't getting up and down all the time. You just slide onto your feet.

I stand at all times if possible. So another secret is correct shoes. NOT sneakers! People that work in factories wear work shows that allow them to stand in one place all day. So I went to Wally World and bought a pair. They look just like sneakers but allow this 60 year old to stand all day. Nobody can tell they are "work shoes" and they are possibly the most comfortable shoes I have worn in years! There are "walking shoes" and "standing shoes". You need "standing shoes".

You see, when I go into a store I never see the salespeople sitting. And neither should we. We should always be ready to speak with the customers and help them whenever possible. Those that sit and ignore the source of the money will not see that money.

If you're going to do shows, you must remember that selling is FIFTY PERCENT of this business. If you ignore that half you will fail.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 8:24AM
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grandma_bonnie

Right on on both points... I found a stool that is the perfect height - No more up and down for me - just put your feet underneith and you're there! I found a pair of shoes that look like sandels that have great support and are cushioned for standing. Since I also stand in grass in the early morning, I take two pairs of shoes so my feet are dry. I keep telling myself I need to consider taking it easy - but I love it too much. I may ask myself again when I'm 72, but for now... I am know as Grandma Bonnie world wide now!!!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:59AM
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thelmalee

I will certainly be getting either a stool or director's chair, probably the latter if I can find one that folds up. As for shoes, my 63 year old feet do not like to be closed up. Socks and shoes that fasten on the top of my feet worry me too much. I am so glad it is spring and I can wear my sandels. I have a pair of yellow box that ate cushioned and are very comfortable for standing. I really enjoy the fairs and meeting the people. It makes you proud when people brag on what you have made and secretly you know they could do the same thing if they tried!

Thelma

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 6:27PM
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mariend

To sellers--just suggestions
Try not to chit-chat too much to anyone, even buyers
Try to be alert to all people around the the booth.
Keep water handy and snacks on hand
Know your prices, and let people yes--YOU made the items, or your Mom did--or
Keep change handy, but put excess funds away.
If someone gives you a large bill, like a 50 or even 20 for a very small purchase.Don't be afraid to ask if they have anything smaller.
If you need to leave the booth have a good knowlegable person, trustworthy person.
Dress neat and professional.

AND
Have a good Sale!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 8:26PM
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luvstocraft

Ladies I'm so glad there are several of you still doing craft shows. I love to go to them, just the atmosphere puts a smile on my face, and if I find a new "pretty" then I'm a happy camper.

I just wanted to mention, that while I like for the crafter to acknowledge me with a hello or nod--I do NOT like for them to "hover" over me. That just makes me uncomfortable--like they don't want me to touch anything! I guess it's a fine line between enough attention and too much attention.

Luvs

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 9:02PM
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thelmalee

I agree Luvs - it is a fine line. I always greet my customers and walk up to them but try not to make them feel uncomfortable. I encourage them to pick up or even try on the hairbows. I try to point out the extra's on the bags, like fasteners or pockets.

Thelma

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:16PM
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old-vt-crafter

Mariend, those are great suggestions!

I make house numbers. We've lined up about 38 shows for '08 and will fill in the open weekends at a local farmer's market. We've done 10 shows so far this year. So, needless to say, doing shows properly is important to us.
I have always found that being friendly is very important. Not only to customers, but to fellow exhibitors as well. If a neighbor needs help with a canopy I'll be right there as they only take 30 seconds to open if done properly. I saw one exhibitor at a major show that forgot their cash register and another exhibitor lent them an extra one of theirs.

But your last statemeent about dressing neat and professional is the biggest one that is ignored by exhibitors! I can't tell you what I've seen over the years! I've seen womem exhibitors that I swear do not have a full length mirror at home! Do they think that with the low cut top when they lean foward the guys will buy? Or guys that look like they are going home after the show to clean out the basement. I've seen ratty jeans, torn shirts, SMOKING, and Ipods in the ears of exhibitors. And these are the first ones complaining about how lousy the show was.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 7:12AM
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grandma_bonnie

YEP ON ALL POINTS. Oooops - took off the caps.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:23AM
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