Good luck everone on this week end's shows! Don't se4ll any more than you can replace for next week! ...and can you report on anything new that you see? I have a show tomorrow and then one next Sunday - outdoor street faire!
Good Luck to all of you! I have a small show on Saturday!
I hope we all sell EVERYTHING! lol
Best of luck to all crafters at the shows. I have a show tomorrow too, then my next one is Dec. 1st!
I had a show in my home town today. Tables were $15, 42 tables were booked and the show ran from 10 to 3. The hall was packed with people of all ages and the weather was just snowy enough to get people in the mood for Christmas, but not snowy enough to keep people from venturing out from home.
I made $550 in sales, including some special orders. I sold a few Christmas candle centrepieces and some wooden block shelf sitters, but the majority of sales were again the poems/quotes/sayings. They just seem to be an excellent, low cost (all are under $15) item that people think will make excellent Christmas gifts. They move off the table with little effort on my part.
I saw nothing new and some tired and old. The fella selling Christmas trees made out of coat hangers didn't sell a one. Two woodworkers did some business, though - one was selling chests and shelves, amongst other things. The second fella was selling some of the most beautiful and intricate scroll saw items, regionally specific and made out of native wood. He's 80 years old and going out of business so his prices were low as he's getting rid of stock. Amazing work, a true artisan. On the flip side, two young crafters both about 14 or 15 years old had a table and there's some real up and coming talent there. Otherwise, lots of the representatives from Avon, Tupperware, etc. The reps outnumbered the crafters by far.
All in all, a very good day. Since it's my hometown (pop. 800 plus surrounding rural area) I knew a lot of those who came by so it was fun that way. A 5-minute drive from home makes it all that much better.
We're in the midst of a large show in Troy, New York. There are over 250 exhibitors selling everything from "Magic Brooms" to fine art.
Exhibitors are energetic and helpful to the customers. But there are a few that have very nice displays but the displays overpower the craft! One woman diagonally across from us keep giving us the "evil eye". We're standing up and greeting every customer and bantering with them. Even if they don't buy, they leaave our booth with a smile by either talking or reading some of our signs. One sign I have in front says
Over 30,000 satisfied customers.
And a few grouches.
It makes them smile. But the exhibitor across from us is just sitting inside her booth with no lights and is not interacting with the customers at all. I don't think she has made her $600 booth fee yet. And we have today to go.
But she thinks we're the evil ones for being friendly. All she has to do is simply stand up and smile and her sales will double.
I bring this subject up mainly because if some want to "kick it up a notch" and do some better shows, I urge you to attend the show before signing up. This is a main key to success. You'll already know what the show is like and know what to expect as far as fellow exhibitors go.
There are some at this show that are shocked to see exhibitors with 6 spaces. Yes, at $600 per space it is expensive. But they have enough stock to fill those 6 spaces a couple times over. And they'll walk out of that show with over $20,000.
As you can see, I love what I do for a living. And I don't live in a big city either. Our little town here in VT has 850 people and mostly dirt roads. So I travel to the shows. But I get to come home to my little corner of heaven every Sunday night.
Chris, I haven't done a craft show in several years but always loved it. You are so right about meeting your customers and talking with them. I had a gift shop some time ago and I felt like a booth at a show was my "gift shop" too. I don't want to be pestered when shopping but I like for someone to at least acknowledge that I am there. If not then I can only assume they do not care if I buy or not. As a customer I also try to say something nice about their craft - even if it is the crappiest stuff I have seen you can still find something nice to say.
I have a friend who did shows for about 10 years and he painted lighthouses on birdhouses. The painting wasn't the best in the world but he made $10,000 a show easily. At first I didn't really believe it but I was at a show and helped him one year and it is so true. He always greeted the customer and was always handy in case they had a question. He also treated his booth like a store with the proper bags (not the ones you save from groceries) but a bag that was strong enough to hold the merchandise. He either had a flyer to go in the bag or the bags had a tag with his information on it for future sales. He only did a few shows a year - all juried- and his sales exceeded six figures a year. But to do this you have to love what you do and love your customers.
I love a really nice displayed booth but sometimes I can't see the craft because of all the extra display stuff. What I hate about a booth is one that is hard to get in and out of - I end up passing that booth. If it is not welcoming and easily accessible, I am off to another booth.
Chris, I apologize but I can't remember what you do. Please share a few photos with us if you don't mind. With the attitude you have I know you will do well at your show.
Chris, Glad you're having a good show. I know what you mean about the "evil eye". It seems some crafters view each other with great suspicion instead of cooperation and helpfulness. I've made several friendships with other vendors just by being nice!
Paintingfool: I agree, that if possible, putting a flier or order form into each bag is a nice way to get additional sales. I bought some scroll-saw name key chains this weekend from a vendor who put his ordering information into the bag. Good thing because on the way home realized I forgot a couple of people so I now have the information I need to order them.
One thing I do for my customers is if I see them trying to juggle several small bags, I'll give them a large bag so they can put all their purchases in and makes it easier for them to carry. Large bags only cost me a few cents more and they certainly seem to appreciate it!
I had a fellow vendor tell me yesterday "what goes around - comers arpound..." It is so true. I don't make the big bucks - I don't sell items that would bring the big bucks, but I have a ball and yes, laugh alot! my back kills me the next day as I very rarely sit down, but it is a good feeling...I enjoy the banter and helping people with their gift problems... There were no commercial items sold at this event and it sure made a difference. Well, back to work in my sewing room. Christopher - always a joy to read how you do.
The show is over and we were down a bit from last year. But after being there three times a year for six years it's time to move on to a different show. We're already preparing our 2008 schedule and found some new venues.
We have three more show to go for the year. We set up Thanksgiving Day for a three day show in Wilmington, MA, just outside of Boston, so our Thanksgiving will be Wednesday. Then two small shows and then I vegetate in front of the woodstove for 4 weeks until our first show of 2008 in upstate New York.