Saturday, May 23, 2009

Craft Show Story

Craft show season is again upon us. I love doing craft shows because you get to meet and interact with so many great people. Plus you get a feel for your customer base. You usually sell a lot at a craft fair compared to online sales which gives you a much needed boost in income. I have had my share of low sale craft fairs either because of location or lack of advertising. Most of me experiences have been good. But one show stands out as my worse show ever.

Our town has an annual street fair that takes place in October. The year that I decided to set up a booth was the year that the festival was thrown together at the last minute. Don't know if it was a new group that took it over and that was why there was a delay. They normally have an antique car show that sets up at one end of the fair and that draws a lot of people. Well the year I did the show there wasn't enough time to plan the car show so they were not there.

I was optimistic that the show would do ok anyway because it had been run for a few years and people pretty much knew when it was. I had gone to the fair for a few years before I decided to sell there and there was a pretty good mix of crafters there.

So I go to the fair bright and early to get my spot. I find out that I am across from the food vendors. Ok I thought I could still do ok. So I went about setting up my tent and putting out my things. It was getting later and my two neighbors hadn't yet been there to set up. There fair was almost ready to open when they finally arrived. So on one side of me I have the high school bake sale fundraiser and the other side of me was a financial firm that had a money tree that was going to be raffled off just for filling out your information. Next to the financial firm was someone who set up a flea market booth and accross form them was a vendor selling candy and cheap trinkets. No other crafters in my area at all. I was still optimistic because I had been to the other shows and knew there had to be other crafters down the other side where I just couldn't see them.

So I was ready to sell. The weather was bright and sunny so I figured lots of people would be out enjoying the fair. Everything was fine until I see this motorized train come down the narrow walk area and people had to scurry out of the way. People ducked into my booth but never stopped to look at my things because they were more worried about getting run over. Plus they were far more interested in the money tree next door. I did get a few sales in the morning. The train ran all day and went by my booth about every 10 to 15 minutes which was super annoying. It became more annoying when the food vendors had longer lines because it was lunch time. I had a friend come by to watch my booth while I went out to check out the other parts of the fair. To my horror and surprise there wasn't a single other craft person there. It was all kinds of fundraiser groups, real estate people, banks and people selling flea market type items. Not at all like it had been the previous years when I had attended the fair. My heart sunk and I went back to my booth. I never even made enough money to cover the table.

It was time to break down the tent and pack up to go back home. My friend brought her car around to help load up. In the process she ran over my three tables and broke them. I was so upset. Now I was definitely out all my money because I had to replace the tables. My friend did pay for one of them because it was already brand new and this was the first time I had used it.

Needless to say I have never been a vendor at the festival again. They didn't run the train any more after that year because I am sure they got a ton of complaints about it. Also the crafters have yet to return. it is still all fundraisers, cheap junk and businesses. The antique cars have been back every year since as well. I guess I just picked the wrong time to go. I haven't done another outdoor show since but I am looking to find some to do maybe soon. I hope my experience is better than that one.

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