In the past two months I've done three craft shows (which is why it has been so long since my last post - I am TIRED). Two shows were at the same venue (it's a monthly show) and the other was a one-day annual show. After sitting out in the heat for a sum total of six days, setting up and tearing down for twelve times and driving back and forth endless miles, I made a few observations.
1. It's good to have a sense of humor. This pays off especially well when no one will stop by your booth - even if you are giving away free stuff.
2. There will always be someone there selling the same stuff as you, but for some reason their stuff appears to be selling better. Who knows for sure if it really is. Maybe they paid those people to stop in the booth? I may try this technique at my next show . . .
3. People will pay $5.00 for a grease-laden corney dog that will make you sick, but won't spend $5.00 on that item they ooohed and ahhhed over in your booth for ten minutes.
4. Most of the people at the show are just there to look around/be seen/see who they see/get out of the house/because they are bored/fill in the blank. If by chance you do get someone to stop in, they probably won't buy. Heck, I gave away free samples this past weekend and those didn't even move. I mean, why would you not take a free sample of soap? Do you not bathe? (See item #1 for how to deal with this).
5. Whatever you make, their mother/father/sister/brother/son/daughter/cousin/dog make the same thing and make it better/cheaper/faster/cuter/bigger/smaller. My all time favorite variation of this is the person that acts like they don't like your stuff, but then you see them take pictures, make a quick sketch or even ask about your process. I had a few soapers grill me this past weekend. Of course, their technique was FAR superior to mine. Whatever. I make no apologies for doing something I love.
6. All vendors will chat with each other and talk about how terrible their sales are that day. The customers just aren't buying. Maybe it's the weather/economy/date/etc.
7. All vendors will chat with each other and talk about how great their sales are that day. The customers are in a buying frenzy! Maybe it's the weather/economy/date/etc.
8. Don't believe any sales figures the other vendors quote. Evaluate your own success. That may be $10 over your booth fee or $1000 over your booth fee. Only you know what makes sense for your business.
9. Any booth you are in will be too small/big/hot/cold/flat/crooked/bright/dark.
10. Any assigned space you are in will be too close or too far from the entrance/exit/food/bathrooms.
11. There will always be another vendor selling similar items as yours for a lesser price. All the "how do they do it so cheaply" thoughts will only make you crazy.
12. There will always be another vendor selling similar items as yours for a higher price. All the "how do they get that price" thoughts will only make you crazy.
13. People don't like you to yell out "come to my booth and look at my stuff." They just walk on by.
14. People like you to yell out "come to my booth and look at my stuff." They will pass you if you don't invite them in.
So, what have I learned from this? Just have a good attitude, keep creating and show pride if your product.
Happy craft show season.