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Craft Show Tips for Beginners: Part 4 - Takeaways

Craft show tip, beginners, takeaways
Today I'm going to share my final installment in the Craft Show Tips for Beginners series.  Since it's been a few weeks since my first show I've had to time to think about the good, the bad, and the ugly and I want to share it all with you.   If you haven't already, I suggest you read through the first three parts of the series so you have some idea of what I'm referring all that prep paid off so you're gonna wanna know ALL my secrets :)

As you know, since you have read through three of the previous Craft Show Tips for Beginner posts, I did a lot of prep work - not only in the way of crafting, but also branding, advertising, and creating my booth's look and feel.    The good news is my set up, with the blue shutters, was a hit.  I was happy with the look of my booth and I was certainly glad I had snapped a few pictures of my mock set up at home ahead of time so my helpers (mom and MIL) could easily help set up by referring to the pictures. So much of my prep work paid off...BUT and there are few buts..

Craft show tip, beginners, takeaways

To quickly recap, my first show was on the Friday night before Thanksgiving from 6-9pm at a school in a not great area (which I failed to take into account).  The small booth area (6x5') cost me $30.

Many experienced craft show vendors will tell you that selling 10 times the booth fee is considered a successful show.  I more than did that (yay me!) BUT 90% of my sales were to people I knew (yay me again for my advertising ahead of the show; boo for very few new customers).   I walked away from the showing feeling like, "Well I could have just sold out of my home and not lugged my stuff all the way across town..." Did I hand out a few business cards? Yes!  Did I find a few new customers? Yes! Did I meet some other vendors from the area who also asked to take my card to hand out? Yes!
I count them all as wins.

Craft show tip, beginners, takeaways

But....if I'm honest, I likely won't do that same show again next year.  My biggest takeaway was that, and I'm not trying to be rude or snooty, it wasn't my target audience.  When picking a show, as I've said before you need to consider everything. While the date, the time, and the short duration were ideal for me as a busy mom who does 90% of her business in the 4th quarter of the year, I didn't consider that on a Friday night some people - even friends of mine who said they'd come - didn't feel like leaving the comfort of their homes after the kids got home from school, were shuttled to practice, fed dinner, put to bed, and the house tidied.   Traffic was slooooowwww for most of the night.  The sales that I did make were almost all custom orders that needed to be fulfilled after the show.

It's also worth noting that my biggest sellers on Etsy and locally didn't at the show.  Again, the audience was different than who normally buys from me.  I've been swamped this holiday season with orders from my Etsy site, my local branch of Etsy (set up through Facebook), and custom orders from family, friends and friends of friends.  

Craft show tip, beginners, takeaways

My best piece of advice for craft show beginners is to research your show.  If you're thinking about doing a craft show next year, shop the show this year to see how it's set up, who the vendors are and what they're selling. Check out the crowd and see what they're buying. Talk with vendors to see how they're doing sales-wise.

With all that said, I walked away feeling 100% exhausted and 100% relieved my first craft show (and all the work that went with it) was behind me.  Oh...and this note I found when I got home from the show, from my 6 year old, made all the hard work worth every second of it!

Craft show tip, beginners, takeaways

And here she is...I made her three pairs actually (all free for my favorite girl!)

Craft show tip, beginners, takeaways

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Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!

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1 comment

  1. How thoughtful of you to record your craft fair experience. What a Great job! I am a newbie to the wonderful world of silhouette. There is so much to learn. I appreciate all of your beginners' tips. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to participate in a craft fair.


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