Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2013 Craft Show Lessons Learned, Part Two

It's a craft fair tradition to get a pic of Ellie reading at our tables! :)
We did our second craft fair of the season Sunday, and like all our craft fairs, there were some lessons to learn from it!

It Ain't Over Until It's Over: A lackluster show can turn in an instant because all it takes is one perfect customer. Okay, so we didn't get a perfect  customer, who would have bought one of Scott's segmented wood vessel, we did get a customer who bought a marblewood bowl just 20 minutes before the show ended. It was just enough to put us in the black, if you don't count the holiday gift shopping we did. Meanwhile, Ellie continues to win the top award for sales volume.

Good Neighbors: We were sandwiched between two jewelry makers who were awesome. It does help make the long day a little more enjoyable if you have someone else to chat with between browsers. And to top it off, one of our neighbors was super kind and introduced me to something called "cubicle clips" and loaned me a few to attach our sign to the table. Definitely going to be picking some up before our next show! Way better than using my usual packing tape! :)

The Grass Always Looks Greener: I volunteered on the committee for this craft show, so I had some pull on where we got placed. I was worried about the vendors at the opposite end of the room because at a show I'd attended in that room previously, it looked like most shoppers were bypassing that part of the room. So I suggested that the room be set up so there wasn't a real convenient path to the door without walking into that area's vendor tables, and it appeared to be successful! It seemed like that end of the room always had more customers milling about than my end. But when I chatted with a vendor from that end of the room, he said he kept looking toward my end and thinking that was where the people all were.

Do It Right, Not Just Fast: When we did our first show last December, we packed up afterward pretty willy-nilly. It was fast, but then of course I couldn't find anything when we got home. We've gotten far more organized in how we pack our stuff, which means that while we're not one of the first vendors out the door at the end of the day, we have very little re-packing that needs to be done between shows. It's so much better to take the time to do it properly, even if it takes 45-60 minutes at the end of the long day, rather than having several hours of work later.

How Do They Do It?: Many artisans are doing holiday shows multiple days per week during this time of year. Not sure I can imagine us doing that. We got home about 6pm, and I went to bed shortly after my 8-year-old daughter did at 8pm. Exhausting! I think I'm actually grateful that we weren't accepted into a juried show I applied for that would be next week.

People Say The Darnedest Things: We are not high-pressure salespeople, so why do people think they need to make excuses when they don't buy something? They're often kind of funny or make us roll our eyes. So when a woman admired Scott's work and then asked if he were Jewish before explaining that she couldn't use his bowl since he's not, we assumed it was just another excuse. I'm Jewish, but since I've never lived in a kosher home, I had no idea that very religious Jews apparently dunk their brand new utensils (including bowls) in a religious bath called a mikvah keilim. I've done a ton of googling about the custom, and although everything I've found says that wood items, even those made by non-Jews, don't have to go through the mikvah keilim to be used in a kosher home, I assume that woman follows a stricter set of rules than the ones I'm reading.

Next up on our fair schedule is the Artists Creating A Better World Holiday Craft Show, 10a-6p on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Lakewood Center For the Arts, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego, OR. If you're in the neighborhood, I hope you'll come say hello!

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