Recently I did my second craft fair ever. The YAH Craft Fair was put on by the Young At Heart senior group in Gardnerville, NV https://www.facebook.com/DouglasCountyCommunityandSeniorCenter/ and was a great event!
It also proved to be a learning opportunity for me. Though I did fairly well, and met some lovely people, I could have done far better, if only:
- I remembered that (duh!) holidays are approaching and many fair goers were shopping for gifts
- Many of those fair goers were shopping for gifts for children
- Winter in Nevada is chilly, and people are not interested in skimpy summer wear…….right?
- Good idea to have more than twenty items in your booth space
Why the oversight on the above mentions? Well, the past few months have been filled with various life distractions, and when that happens my calendar somehow gets distorted (turn the pedal OFF-ha!) and I don’t always see holidays coming. As I have no children, I forget to appreciate that many folks will buy for children before they buy for themselves. The tween jacket pictured http://bettyrockwear.com/product/back-to-school-tween-jean-jacket/ here is a piece that I donated to the fair’s raffle, and it received a lot of positive attention that day; I realized right away that I should have had more to offer like it. The jacket, incidentally, was a kick to do, and I look forward to crafting more whimsical denim wear for the smaller set.
Another realization that day was that what seemed like a great pile of inventory crammed into my tiny home work space hardly filled that booth space-I was instantly sorry I’d not spent more time sewing in the weeks prior.
What was a hit was my dummy (at right in lead photo) dressed to rock out; sneak peeks at the dummy from some of the older gentlemen was completely amusing!
Good takeaway. Good lessons learned.
My booth at the local downtown festival was a success last weekend! I was grateful to have had a loaned tent, and some assistance early the first morning setting it up. Having never dealt with an event tent, I was unaware that putting it up solo would have been nearly impossible for me. And by the time the temperature climbed to 102 that day, I was just grateful for the tent, period!
But before the heat really cranked up, I set up my space. I covered Uncle Bob’s old sway-backed folding table with gorgeous red fabric that had once served as floor length dining room curtains. On top of that went two guitar stands holding small handbags. A couple of jackets hung from my mic stand, configured into a T. The clothing rack picked up through Craigslist held most of the jackets and vests, a thrift store black metal cd tower held a couple more. At the back of the tent I hung an old black mosquito net on its round frame. Lastly, I had Marvin the Martian holding down my band’s tiny merch table near the front. My trusty old amp cart made hauling all this stuff from car to space easy.
The two days were long and very hot. Planning ahead with an ice chest full of water, some cold salads and a washcloth for bringing my body temperature down helped tremendously. The ice chest kept me about as comfortable as I could be and allowed me to schmooze with a smile. When the afternoon breeze came along, the black mosquito net flowed luxuriously. The feedback was great! Even dubious looks from passersby counted as feedback in my book! But many were jazzed with some of the items, and some even took home things-ten items sold over the two days!
I may do another such event over the summer. I’ve not decided yet whether the purchase of an event tent is worth it, or if it’s even the direction I want to go in. However, this experience made me realize how much I miss doing vis-`a-vis retail. We’ll see!
So I’m two weeks away from the craft fair, and still working on the booth props and decor. I’ve found a simple garment rack on wheels for $10 through Craigslist, and a tall, metal CD storage tower for $5 at a local thrift shop. These should serve for a hanging display for jackets and vests.
Spied a really beautiful piece (well, two pieces in fact) of green fabric for .25 that became a banner after sewing together and finishing the edges. I then used some leftover fabric paint for lettering, and twine for stringing up.
I am thinking about some of the elaborate booths I’ve seen online and off, and hope that I can somehow duplicate a bit of an element of invite into mine; I’m actually toying with the idea of bringing some of my musical gear to use purely as props.
What invites you into a craft fair booth?
After thinking it over, I’ve decided to rent a booth at an upcoming outdoor event here in Downtown Carson City. My desire to witness reactions to these first pieces of Betty Rockwear outweighs my desire to keep the cash in the bank…
And it’s not only the booth space fee! Those of you savvy in the world of craftfairdom know that that is simply the beginning-ha! Table, tent, fabric for draping, garment rack and/or grid for clothing display, and surely many things not yet thought of will have to be assembled in the very near future. I am excited by the idea of creating a vibrant display space, and on such short notice!
I’m thinking about renting a booth space for an upcoming outdoor event here in Downtown Carson City. Doing so would, hopefully, allow me to gauge reactions of so many pairs of eyes, and if I’m lucky, make a few sales. If there’s a tentative feel to this post, it’s because this would be almost a first for me. Many years ago, I accompanied an artist acquaintance to one of those huge festivals in Half Moon Bay, California. He made gorgeous glass and foil earrings, and for this particular event needed to fill a bit of booth space. At the time I was making simple beaded jewelry for gifts to friends and family, and he invited me to bring my stockpiled items along. I was pleasantly surprised when almost all of it sold. Since then, the most unusual thing I’ve sold are whole wheat peanut butter-chocolate chip muffins at our tiny merch table in a bar for a Betty Rocker show. At the time, I felt fairly silly making all those muffins, thinking I’d be bringing home way too many of those high-calorie things; again I was pleasantly surprised when the muffins-turned-cash got to go into the gas tank of the pickup truck to lug all the gear home, over an hour away.
So now I’m thinking about gambling a bit of money for booth space and participating in this event. I’m curious to see if I’m way off base with my denim mods. If you have a story about debuting something and how it went over, I’d love to hear it.