Today I participated in the Crestwood Christian Craft Fair here in Lincoln, Nebraska. I had moderately high hopes going into the event. Their Fall 2012 Craft Fair was my all-time best in terms of sales. The hosts go above and beyond to cater to vendors (help unloading, booth-sitting services, and free lunch). AND, with graduations and Mother's Day just around the corner, I had hoped people might be looking for little gifts for those occasions.
High Hopes = Unreasonable Expectations?
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. (With apologies to a famous author.)
Beautiful weather! It was a perfect Spring day. Perhaps a bit TOO perfect (as in, I'd rather be walking the dog, planting the garden, biking on the MoPac Trail....).
The hosts are terrific!
My table was on the main floor, with big sunny OPEN windows allowing the fresh Spring air to gently soothe the people inside.
Several shoppers admired my oven mitts --- "too pretty to use" was my favorite comment. And my key fobs had some admirers, too.
The hours were shortened to 9:00 am - 2:00 pm, and GREAT change IMHO.
And, best of all, I had a fantastic neighbor in the booth to my left: Nicole Shulde of Artology. I love Nicole's mixed media art pieces, featuring her own designs superimposed on mostly upcycled backgrounds, with a generous sprinkling of tiles. I think her tasteful and unique pieces would do well on Etsy, and I encouraged her to think about that venue.
She told me about her new PayPal smart phone payment app, with it's cute blue triangle reader (competition for The Square). She also encouraged me to think of teaching an Intro to Etsy class--and said she'd sign up! Maybe if I could team teach the class with some of my super successful Etsy pals, like Edi Royer of Memoriesforlifesb, or Susie Gainor of SmiLeStyles, who have launched hugely successful Etsy businesses. Edi's work was recently featured on the Etsy blog, and Susie's zip pouches were swag gifts for the Golden Globes and MTV awards. I feel a more than a little underqualified.
There was relatively little foot traffic, especially compared to Fall shows.
There were way more lookers than buyers.
I needed $1.50 more in sales to recoup my registration / table fees. This is the only time I've attended a craft fair and did not at least have enough sales to cover table rent. Whats's worse -- some of those sales came from my Bargain Box -- an attempt to move old inventory at cost or less. I only sold 1 of my 60+ key fobs, and none of my garden aprons sold.
Ah, well. Live and learn. I'll have lower expectations going into the next craft fair on May 31, 2014, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. And I have plenty of inventory on hand for that show, so I won't be burning the midnight oil trying to get ready. Although I'll want to add some Father's Day and patriotic / 4th of July items to the mix.
Hope you are enjoying a nice Spring weekend.