The Post About the Craft Fair

So…the craft fair. I knew the whole time that I was doing too much for it, and I also knew I couldn’t stop myself. I wanted to present myself well to the school community who would be seeing my work for the first time. I think I did succeed as far as that goes.

I find craft fairs very tiring. It may be partly because I am not extroverted and while I enjoy talking to people a lot actually, I do not draw my energy from it. Also it is a vulnerable experience: you work hard for days before hand, invest more time and money than you should and stand there hopeful and exposed for hours.

I am not surprised to find that I woke up sick yesterday morning actually. I do like how I set everything up and a BIG thank you to my supportive husband who built me a display stand. {I was too busy to remember to get a wide view of the whole table, duh!}

I had a couple of sales to sweet friends — a BIG thank you to M., K. and S. for your support and a special thank you to A., a high school buddy who came out to say hi. We hadn’t seen each other since 1989 I guess, but that’s FB for you!:)
What are your thoughts on craft fairs, if you’ve participated in them? Do they get easier?

shanon - I ALWAYS seem to bring too much. I tell myself each time to narrow down my images to a select number and then have multiples of them in various sizes. But each time I bring nearly all my inventory and I wonder if/think it overwhelms people.

It’s nice though, once you get the first one or two done. Then you pretty much have all the display and merchandising purchased and down to a science. So that part at least, is not stressful. I don’t even unpack once I get home. I just load it back up next time. =)

I don’t know about you, but I find photography to be especially difficult to talk to a potential customer about. I can’t tell them about the benefits of the material, etc. Either they connect with an image or they don’t. Maybe I’m overlooking something, but that is the hard part for me.November 23, 2010 – 5:16 pm

Jessica - I tried my hand at a few of them this past summer and your story sounds familiar to me! I made so many prints – I couldn’t seem to stop myself either. :) I’ve only been trying to sell my work online and offline for a little over a year now, so I don’t have a clear sense of my best-sellers yet. Because of that, I had a difficult time narrowing down what images to bring. So I made a few of LOTS of them. Needless to say, I still have a fair sized inventory left over, but I am all ready for the next fair!

I too have a hard time starting conversations with people, but I find that once I start talking about my passion – my photography – it’s not that difficult after all. The trick is to find that tidbit of information that sparks an interest in the other person. You’ve got to get good at reading a person quickly when they approach your table.

I’m planning on doing a bunch more next season. It’s a lot of work and it’s exhausting, but I also think it could be very rewarding. After doing just a few, I can tell they DO get easier – you become more confident and you quickly learn ways to improve your setup. Best thing about them: I really like being able to see how people react to my work – something I can’t get with my online shop!November 23, 2010 – 5:44 pm

shanon - Definitely, the reaction is the best and most rewarding. =)

My problem is that when I’m shopping, I REALLY like to be left alone to my thoughts and to browse, unless I have a question. So, I’m always friendly and smile at people that stop by, then I try to gauge if they want me to engage further with them. But I think I always err on the side of not saying much unless they do first.

The week leading up to a show is exhausting, I agree! I’m tired just thinking about it. ; )November 23, 2010 – 6:10 pm

Shona~ LALA dex press - Shows are so hit and miss and my strategy is to do the hits ever year, but that means having some bad weekends where you wonder what the point is too all your hard work. My first crafts show was about 8 years ago and I paid $20.00 and made $2.50 (cards were $2.50 when I started out and the guy in the booth next to me needed a card for his mother). I found out that the only place they advertised was a local Pennysaver-type paper, which is where people look for bargains, not crafts shows to spend $$ at. Ask other people in your area what shows they have success at and you’ll find that a lot of people will name the same shows.

I’m looking at your images and trying to get a feel for how you are displaying your work. Your images are definitely beautiful, but you might want to look at how other photographers package their images. Think about it from the customer’s point of view in that they look at a photo, contemplate where they will put it in their home, what kind of frame to put it in, in other words, how easy will you make it for them to continue enjoying their purchase? I’m not saying frame your images, but do other people offer a matted image so that maybe the customer can just pop their photo into a frame? These are things I think about when I was coming up with my packaging for my prints. Although people ask me why I don’t sell framed prints. I tell them that I would have to pass on framing costs to them (which can get quite expensive!) and I personally like to buy unframed so I can pick one out that works in my home.

As for the chatting people up, I’ll simply introduce myself and a lot of times that actually breaks the ice. This is hard for me, I’m not good at just starting a conversation, but I’ve invested time and $ and want to get something out of it. I also have show and tell stuff in my display, my most complex lino-cut, which is a great conversation stater! and a photo of my press because there is always someone who will inevitable geek out with me over printing presses or people who need a little educating. These are both selling tools.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is not my primary source of income, it’s extra $ and I strive to make it lots of fun, when it stops being fun I need to change my strategy. I also don’t travel so far that I need to get a hotel room for a show and whenever possible I share a booth with a friend. I do about 2 or 3 shows a year, 2 of which I have been doing for the past 5 years and look forward to seeing a lot of the same customers every year. AND the thing I always have to remind myself when I have my pre-show freak out is that I have never sold out, I always have enough!

Keep at it, it gets better!November 24, 2010 – 2:45 am

Shona~ LALA dex press - This comment has been removed by the author.November 24, 2010 – 2:47 am

Katrina LB King - These photographs look great, Jess-thank you for sharing. I really hope I can have a wooden board like that for my next show ;) I think I personally have been over cluttering my table and am working on fixing that!November 24, 2010 – 3:49 am

M and E - I just did a craft show last week! I helped plan it in addition to being a vendor, and that was super fun and super exhausting. As far as selling goes, I always always always feel like I don’t do well because I don’t sell everything I brought, or because I don’t sell much of some particular thing that I love. But after I get home, decompress, and actually figure out what I sold, I usually find that I had fun and made a decent amount of money.

Here’s a link to my post about the show:

Keep your chin up! It gets better!November 24, 2010 – 9:09 pm

custom essay - Wow!)) This is something new! How do you do it?December 8, 2011 – 12:04 pm

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