It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday. And because it is Fall craft fair season, I thought I'd give you a brief recap of my first Fall craft fair of the season, held October 11, 2014.
The Silver Hawk Craft Fair is an annual juried craft fair that is a fundraiser for the Southwest High School Theater, Speech and Debate programs. As an old debater (I was South Dakota's Girls' Extemporaneous Speaking champ in 1971, and competed in Nationals at Stanford University), it's a program I like to support.
There were 70 vendors selling a wide variety of handcrafted items and homemade treats. The weather was perfect and there was no Husker football game -- which meant 90% of the people of Lincoln were NOT glued to their big screen TV sets or cheering at Memorial Stadium with the Sea of Red.
The HIGHLIGHT of the day was a surprise visit from my blogging buddy and Etsy teammate, Edi Royer of memoriesforlifesb. She and her mom drove over from Essex, IA to surprise me, and believe me, I was TOTALLY surprised -- and delighted! Since Edi didn't know what I looked like (I avoid cameras), they looked for a booth with oven mitts! As she walked toward my booth, I thought to myself, "That looks like Edi!" When she stopped and said, "Are you LeAnn?" and I saw her beautiful tribal wooden necklace -- I knew it really WAS Edi! Happy squeals and hugs and conversation followed. It was SUCH fun to meet a virtual friend in real life! Edi has posted a photo of us on her blog. And I added the photo of us to my Facebook page.
My booth was simple -- 1 table / no electricity. I invested in a durable table cover that is fully skirted on all four sides, and I used one of my Halloween buntings to add a touch of seasonal color:
My three little stuffed witches, made from a Precious Patterns PDF, added a whimsical touch.
I have learned that inexpensive items do well at local craft fairs, so I offered cord keepers (monetizing my scraps) for 50 cents (a BIG hit!), and felt finger puppets for $1.00. At future shows, I will make little stocking-shaped signs that say Stocking Stuffer! to post near my key fobs, card wallets, cord keepers, and other inexpensive gift items.
I used the show to test market some new items that I plan to list in my Etsy shop. I made a few foldover clutches with zipper closures and contrasting wool or pinwale corduroy trim using a PDF pattern by Vanessa Hewell of LBG Studio. I'll make some with faux suede contrasts soon. The leopard print corduroy clutch you can see in the middle of the booth photo sold quickly, so I will buy some more of that fabric! I made one in pastel houndstooth with blue wool trim:
And another in a wool blend plaid:
Another with a bright buffalo plaid design:
And my personal favorite -- colorful dots with navy blue pinwale corduroy trim:
The clutches didn't generate much interest at the craft fair, so I'm hoping for a better reception on Etsy.
I also brought several mini wallets or card wallets that I made from fabric samples purchased at the annual Friends of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery fabric and fiber sale in mid-August. These little wallets are OOAK, because I only have one small piece of each fabric.
I love these little houndstooth check wallets with coordinating solid cotton lining and capped metal snap closures:
I also made a few nubby textured wallets with stripes. They have a sort of Southwestern feel.
I only sold one of the mini wallets at the show, but it went to a good home. I'll add faux suede card wallets and wallets made from scraps of woven Guatemalan fabrics at the next show-- I have 40 cut out with coordinating lining fabrics.
On balance, it was a great day. I sold 38 items, handed out lots of business cards and 20% off coupons for my Etsy shop -- and I had some requests for custom orders, including buntings for a wedding!
One craft fair down and three to go! I have local craft fairs October 25 (this will be my fourth time at that craft fair), November 1 (new to me, and a smaller venue-by invitation only), and December 6 (venue of my very best craft fair ever - Fall of 2012).
I've made a Craft Fair and Etsy Prep TO DO LIST for October and November -- with High Priority, Medium Priority, and Lower Priority projects. I'll focus my time and energy on the High Priority projects, and hope to finish most of the Medium Priority projects as well. Fortunately, I've had an increase in Etsy sales recently after a two-month slump -- so if Etsy sales stay strong, the Lower Priority projects will be pushed to the back burner.
I'd love to hear about your experiences at craft fairs!