May 03, 2015

My First Craft Fair - The Crafts Meow



It is a couple of  weeks post fair and I'm still so thankful I made it through the crazy haze of preparing for my first craft fair!  It all started with a text from one of my brothers.  It was short and sweet.  "Do you want to be in a craft fair?" 

I'm thinking - "what?...when?...how much?..." the list went on and texting with my brother with these inquiries was like pulling teeth.  I had been mulling giving fairs a try.  So after getting in touch with the organizer and learning it was for a good cause I thought "why not this one?".  I took the plunge.


Well it was a busy couple of weeks getting ready.  I was bombarded with decisions to make. Deciding which items I wanted to feature.  Which items I needed to make.  What accessories I needed to stock up on.  I quickly started a to-do list!  Which really helped keep me on track and saved my sanity :-)


There were items I just couldn't get to and things I had to scale back, but all in all I was really impressed with what I was able to accomplish.  It never ceases to amaze me what you can achieve when you stay focused on your goals.  This experience really highlighted that!


Since I was so limited on time, I redesigned and picked up new production techniques that improved my efficiency without sacrificing on my quality standards.  Super exciting! 


I also attempted new designs that I had been dreaming of, but had been procrastinating on. My table banner featured above is one of those projects and I'm thrilled with the results. Exactly as I had envisioned. 


Here's a picture of my table:



Some of the lessons I learned:

  1. Bring your own tablecloth!  My fellow Etsy friends told me about this one, but unfortunately it fell to the bottom of my to-do list.  The plastic blue tablecloth really didn't do my items any justice.  My designs would have all looked so much better with a nice white base!  
  2. Ask lots of questions about the location, venue, number of people expected, etc.  Next time I plan on asking for more details about table size, table locations, room layout etc.  My table was part of a series of tables located at a dead end.  Plus I had my back to the room.  Really not ideal!  But a good lesson to learn.
  3. I brought a portable rack to hang my aprons; however, there simply wasn't enough room.  I had to roll my full aprons up and store them in baskets I brought and my half aprons were laid in a stack.  My aprons would have been much more eye-catching hanging up with the designs more visible. 
  4. Create a solid project plan.  My project plan really helped keep me on track.  It also motivated me to see things being marked as done.
  5. Be realistic in your expectations.  My main objective in participating was to meet customers and get their feedback.  The fact that I made sales was a total bonus. 
There were certainly challenges!  I definitely stressed over making the deadline.  And the morning set-up chaos was a great reminder of how you sometimes just need to roll with it!

Although there were some trials and tribulations along the way, I would do it all again just to get to meet and talk with everyone.  My surrounding vendors were really lovely and kind to one another.  And the visitors were really supportive and encouraging.  I just loved seeing their smiles when they picked up one of my designs.  Awesome feeling!!

Special thank you to my youngest brother for helping me throughout the day - you rock bud!

I would love to hear all about your craft fair experiences!

xo
Shannon

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