I participated in the Craft Show at Needham High School this past Saturday and wanted to share some of that experience. First of all, what a GREAT show. It was very well organized, with attendants in nice yellow aprons helping crafters move their setups in and out of the gyms during setting up and breaking down times. The attendants also came around periodically with carts of drinks and food just in case you needed a little something to eat or drink and they also would “babysit” your booth to let you slip away for a quick restroom break. I was very impressed just with how helpful everyone associated with the show was. And the quality of the crafters who were showing look very good.
The organizers had my booth in a really great spot, which was right by one of the gym entrances so most people saw my booth immediately without having to wind through any aisles. The booth dimensions were 10 foot frontage with an 8 foot depth. The two shows that I did last year were about half the size, so I had a lot more space to work with which was super.
My wonderful hubby made me another display so that I could have my kid’s aprons displayed separately from the women’s aprons. These are the two vertical displays in the back which have the kid’s chef hat and apron sets on the display on the left and the little girl’s ruffle aprons and waitress aprons on the display to the right. I came up with this idea from seeing this type of display a few places in Pinterest, where the tall panels were old house shutters or garden trellis. We used pre-finished closet shelving that we found at Lowes, and cut some of the slats away so we could insert the hanging bars. I think they looked great!
Bob also shortened the length of the clothes rack he made for me last year, and I think it actually looks much nicer this way. It also felt a lot more stable because I was always a little bit nervous that the bar would come loose as people were handling the aprons last year.
I still had my placemats on the same table as before, and these were my biggest sellers (in my Etsy shop, too, for that matter). I started making multiple sets of my popular sellers, and this turned out to be useful at this show as well because some people wanted more than just four placemats and I was happy that I could get them another set.
I recently got a smart phone, so I ditched the old fashioned knuckle buster and used Paypal Here to accept credit cards. This worked out well once I figured out the right touch for swiping the card. I had to try it a few times for my first couple of transactions before I was swiping fast enough. Also, I was able to keep my Etsy shop open and the inventory up to date throughout the day since I could deactivate listings through their app. Pretty useful I have to admit. Unfortunately, this meant I was staring at my phone for quite a bit of the time, which I have always found slightly irritating when I see other people doing it (this is probably why I avoided getting a smart phone for so long!).
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The highlight for me this show (as in my first two) was when Bob and my guys visited me.
It was pretty funny. The first thing Nicolas said to me was “Mom, where is the candy bowl?” because I had had one when he visited me previously. I had to tell him there wasn’t one, and I think he was ready to leave after that! Ha!
This show was very successful for me compared to my first two, but I suppose I really don’t have very much to compare it to. My booth neighbor was a very nice lady selling “Warm Fuzzies” and she had done the show many times previously. She told me that it was very slow for this particular fair, so I am definitely going to apply again next year since I felt busy (and swamped at times). I think the more of these I do, the easier they will get (??) These craft fairs are definitely a lot of work, especially when you are doing them solo. The setting up and breaking down is very physical, but I invested in a hand truck this year, which made things a bit easier (although my thighs are STILL sore, two days later). Also, I learned to get to the venue to set up as soon as you are allowed because I got there 30 minutes after setup started and I definitely could have used those extra minutes. I felt very rushed right before the show was about to start. I even mistakenly grouped two sets of placemats in sets of five instead of sets of four! And of course I sold both of those, so now I have two odd sets of three that I need to order additional fabric for 🙁 I am just looking at these things, though, as good lessons to take with me to the next show.
And the next show will be closer to home at Westford Academy on Saturday, December 7. I am already ordering fabric to replenish my stock!