I did my first two craft shows (St. Catherine’s Craft Fair and Westford Academy Holiday Bazaar, both in Westford, MA) this past month and wanted to share my experiences. I had built up quite a good inventory over the past year, although sales have definitely picked up on Etsy with the holidays quickly approaching. I was actually a little nervous that I wouldn’t have enough to show at the WA bazaar! But that is a good thing since I do want to sell my products after all, whether it be on Etsy or locally at a show 🙂
In the months leading up to November, I spent A LOT of time online researching how other crafters display their items. This obviously varies from vendor to vendor with what they sell and how much space the fair allots to each seller. One layout suggestion that I saw over and over again in my research is that instead of setting up a table across the space and sitting behind the table, try to create an open space with table(s) at the sides and back (kind of creating a U shape). A lot of vendors said that having the vendor sitting and staring at buyers from behind a table could be intimidating to some buyers. Plus, having the booth open allows potential buyers to “enter” your booth and get out of the aisles, which might become crowded if the show is really popular. So, I took that advice to heart and this is how I set up my booth:
|Table at St. Catherine’s – Tree skirts are on this table with the placemats|
|Table at WA holiday bazaar – I sold out of the advent calendars and the tree skirts are on their own display!|
And, my husband made me a great clothes rack for my aprons and market totes that he painted glossy white. And the whole thing breaks down, which makes it easier during setup and clean up.
I had a little bar stool and my dress forms on the right side of the space. I found, though, that the space seemed more “inviting” when I wasn’t sitting on that stool. So, I spent a lot of my time (especially at the WA bazaar) loitering around in front of the booth, either to the left or right depending on the crowds in front of my neighboring booths. Where I was supposed to sit/stand was really the only drawback to the layout. I think that the display looked pretty nice 🙂
So, what did I learn during these two fairs. I have to say that both were great learning experiences, mostly to see what people seemed interested in in terms of apron styles and fabrics. I also determined that it is a really good idea to scout out a fair before you go. St. Catherine’s was really slow in the numbers of people even walking through the doors. So, if there aren’t lots of people visiting, there aren’t going to be many people even browsing, let alone buying. The WA Holiday Bazaar was very busy and I had a prime location so that fair went much better for me sales-wise. St. Catherine’s, though, was much better for me in terms of meeting other vendors (probably because there wasn’t much selling going on!!) Both fairs were great just to meet with other people who are interested in fabrics and vintage style aprons. I had a great conversation with a woman who said she collected vintage patterns and aprons at estate sales.
I got a few suggestions for other shows that other vendors have done in the past. But I have to say with the amount of time and effort that goes into a craft show, I am not sure that I would register for a show I haven’t been to before without checking it out first.
By far, the best part of each show was when my husband and two boys came to visit. It was great to see them and just get a little bit of a break. It was also nice for the boys to see all of my wares displayed at once, so they could really see what it is that I am working on all the time with my sewing machine.