I spent last Saturday -- a beautiful, sunny day -- vending at a craft fair at Aldersgate United Methodist Church here in Lincoln, NE.
I was reluctant to sign on, because I'd had a truly miserable experience a couple of years ago. But after coaxing from my artist friend, Glenda Dietrich Moore, I decided to vend. Booth rent was affordable. Inside spaces were available. The event was well-publicized. And, I thought, even if I didn't make a lot of money, I'd be able to do some networking, test some new products, and get some feedback from shoppers who comment as they walk past.
In hindsight, I am SO glad I signed on. I had a great location, wonderful booth neighbors, and I made far more sales than I expected at a Spring craft fair.
My craft fair "neighbor," Peg Pelter of Pelterhouse, paints beautiful china pieces. She also teaches china painting classes. She was having an inventory reduction sale -- everything $5.00. I picked up this pretty egg. (I allow myself $25 to spend at other vendors' booths.) She was interested in Etsy, and she urged me to upgrade to a better table drape, and to invest in a device to allow me to accept credit card payments. I've already ordered a "real" table drape, and I am looking into credit card options with the hopes of having that in place before Fall craft fairs.
I also visited with Trish Obrist of Door Art for You. She's also thinking of joining Etsy. She makes adorable door ornaments -- and many of the items in her summer line have polka dots. I'm partial to polka dots. I wish I would have snapped a photo of her booth-- but things got busy in a hurry!
Seasonal items did well -- garden aprons sold out and the golf cart key fobs were a hit. I also test marketed children's drawstring backpacks -- great for summer reading programs, a trip to the park, or an overnight at grandma's. The pattern is from the Little Backpacks Tutorial by TamaraKate.
I spent the rest of my "allowance" on flip flop towels by Kris Boelter of Creative Sewing. These will be litttle gifts for the NH grandkids, who will be out of school in 3 weeks:
I also purchased photo note cards from my other booth neighbor:
Although this craft fair was a positive experience, I am grateful that I don't have any others on the calendar until October. I need some time to restock and regroup -- and develop new products -- and monetize scraps!
What's your experience with Spring craft fairs? Any hints or tips you'd like to share?