This weekend we did our first craft fair! And it was awesome. And crazy. And stressful. And tiring. And great! I’d say for our first craft fair, everything ended up going really well. It was BazaarSpark at SPARKcon. Apparently, more than 58,000 people attended SPARKcon this year. The booth came together and I met a lot of awesome customers and got a lot of great feedback on my work. I really enjoy meeting customers face to face because you get a real sense of what they’re looking for and what they like that you don’t get selling in stores or online.
Here are some pics of the booth and of the weekend:
Some things I learned:
Puppies!!! This was the highlight of my weekend! I had water bowls and milkbones at my booth so dogs dragged their owners over to stop and see me. And I loved every second of it, especially when there were adorable puppies involved!
Kids love Chocolate Chippy. I found that a lot of kids were drawn to my booth by the cute animals and bright colors. But I don’t have any kid products! This is the type of thing that is great to notice that you would never know without doing a craft show! Sooo be on the look out for some more kid friendly items! Let me know if you have any ideas.
Hang back a little. I’m used to doing trade shows where you’re selling a service, not a product. The last one I did was a wedding trade show. At these you really need to stand in the aisle and draw people in. I found at this show, people really wanted to come into the booth and shop around without feeling like someone was watching them. Since the booth wasn’t that big, if I was standing right inside, I think people felt a little weird about walking to the back of my booth where I had some products.
Prioritize. Take care of the things you absolutely need to (like having products in your booth and having a way to accept payment) and let go of the little projects that would be nice to have. I really wanted to paint paw prints on my curtains but just didn’t have to time. In the end, I didn’t even miss it and the booth looked fine without it. In fact, I think the paw prints would have ended up taking away from the overall booth.
Take time to enjoy the show. Bring helpers. I don’t know what I would do without my husband! That craft fair was a lonnnnnnng weekend. You’re working like crazy to get ready for it and then you’re working from early am to late pm selling your stuff and it is exhausting. Make sure you bring helpers so you can eat and even walk around and enjoy the show a little. It’s great to get out there and meet other vendors and people. Sometimes these connections are more important than the amount of items you sell.
Bring a cooler. I received this tip and it was one of the best. You need to eat and drink lots of water to keep your energy levels up. You’re on your feet and talking to people all day, and I know it’s happened to me before where I start to feel a little fuzzy. Usually some food and water help this!
Check the weather report. I did not do this haha. I just asked my husband if it was going to rain and he said no and that’s all I worried about. So I wore a tank top with a t-shirt over it, jeans, heavy socks and sneakers. I’d just gotten back from a trip to Buffalo so I guess I was still in the Buffalo weather mindset! And it was HOT! I was sweating like crazy. The sun was strong. I was baking. I ended up rolling up my jeans, taking off the tank top and socks and making do that way but I regretted my outfit choice. I was much more prepared for Sunday 🙂
Tina had a rough weekend. My friends at Curtis Blake Leather in the booth next to me have this quite infamous mannequin Tina. The amount of people taking a selfie with Tina was hilarious! She ended up in my booth at the end of the night…and she looked a little worse for the wear!
There are so many more tips I could give you! Just try to think through everything you need, and most of all, remember the important things! All the little things you can make due without.
And I have to thank the Visual Art Exchange (VAE) and their Launch program, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without them! They helped me start Chocolate Chippy and build it from the ground up to reach this point and helped out so much getting ready for the craft fair.