It was a partly sunny, partly windy Sunday afternoon at my first craft fair for Angel Tears. The crowd ebbed and flowed up and down the walk around my booth. I got a lot of compliments about the beauty of the crystals and colored stones, which I gratefully acknowledged. I perhaps made back 1/5 to 1/4 of my total first-year investment in sales, which surprised me for a first time outing.
It was a great day. A tiring day. A learning experience. Here’s some things I learned:
- Give yourself more time than you think you need to set up. For me, two hours wasn’t nearly enough time. I know. What is there to setting up?
- Be willing to change your layout on a whim. This spot enabled people to walk up and down both sides of the booth, and I had planned for only one side. Had to adjust so both sides could see the sparkle.
- Some customers are chatty, some come up and say “I want this one.” Some just walk by and say “pretty.” Be friendly to all.
- Know that setting up and taking down at a fair is a lot of work. I never underestimated the work that went into selling your wares, but I never experienced it, either. There’s a lot more to it than what you see.
- Learn how to use your credit card reader (if you have one). My helper and I stumbled a few times in getting the darn thing to work. Embarassing.
- Don’t take yourself so seriously. Know the day is important and stay focused, but don’t be a Debbie Downer (sorry Debbie) about everything wrong that happens. Product will blow over. Fall over. You won’t have the color or the shape or scene your customer is looking for. Oh well. It happens.
- Related to the above, offer to make a custom order. The customer loves a certain color or scene? If there is a real chance for a sale there, offer to make their request, unless it’s an intricate piece of work. Then it’s what’s there is there.
- Bring everything you think you need your first time out, then trim down your supply bucket. In my case, no one wanted a receipt (except electronically), didn’t need extra crystals or pens or, surprisingly a guest book. In my case, it was a snatch and buy business.
- Hang your price sign high enough for people to see it. Setting it on a bucket that was holding down water jugs that held down the canopy was not an ideal site.
- Have a helper. I can’t tell you how many times the moment’s rush almost got away from me. Maybe it’s just that I’m not a good multi-tasker. I can’t wrap and answer new questions and chat about where to hang Tears and replacing stock and trying to get the reader to work all at the same time. I’m a simpleton in that world.
- Don’t sit all the time, nor don’t stand all the time. The small of your back and your hips will take the brunt of the abuse, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than standing up after a long time and moaning in pain.
- And finally, have fun with your day. Observe and learn and listen. Learn where people want to put your piece, the colors they like, and which food vendor was the best. An art/craft fair is a wonderful people watching place. Don’t be afraid to make eye contact and say hello to those looking at your wares as they pass by. You never know who will come back and purchase something.
I was a nervous wreck all week, and all day before the fair started. The adrenalin kept me alert and adaptive. But when all was said and done, it was just another day.
A good day.
Be happy and thankful you were a part of it.