I did it! I survived my first large-scale craft fair this past weekend (a joint venture with my mom and cousin).
It was the Prospect Park Craft Fair in Brooklyn, and, I have to admit, it was pretty fun! I sold more than I expected, and I met so many great people — both sellers and customers. Aside from a very small church fair that my mom and I participated in a couple of years ago, this was my first real craft fair experience as a seller. Since I didn’t know what to expect, I reached out to some of my fellow etsians to seek their advice on what I should do to prepare. I’m happy to say, I got loads of great info. That said, there were lot’s of lessons I learned along the way. Here are just a few things I’d like to pass along:
1. Beware of the Weather – since we were expecting a rainy day, we packed out canopy to keep our stuff dry. As it turns out, the rain blew in sideways, at an angle, and totally defeated the canopy. Now, water won’t hurt most of my things, so I wasn’t that upset. That is, until I found out the hard way that the ink on my tags runs when wet. (I printed them with my color laser printer at home). There was a moment of frenzy as I ran around ripping tags of my carefully priced items to prevent the ink from staining my crocheted pieces. Nothing was ruined, but I did end up with a number of items without price tags. Then, once the rain ended, we had to deal with gale force winds which blew over canopies, blew over displays, and covered everything with dust and pollen (yuck!!!). Honestly, the wind did more damage the rain ever could have.
2. Kids Count – One of my fellow etsians gave me a heads up to include some children’s items in my inventory. Based on her advice, I whipped up a bunch of really cute amigurumi animals. These ended up being really big sellers, and next time, I will be sure to have even more on hand. What I didn’t expect was that kids would have such an impact on their parent’s purchase. Whenever a child came over to my shop, I treated him/her just like an adult customer. I chatted with them, told them about my items, and asked them to pick things up and touch them. Most importantly, it’s just nice to make them feel welcome, but I realized the adults seemed to linger more if they didn’t feel like their kids were in the way. And, the kids were definitely very vocal about making purchase recommendations to their parents. As an example, I ended up sale a very ‘grown up’ looking celtic purse to a 7 year old girl, because she convince her mom she really loved it.
3. Hagglers are Not a Necessary Evil – At the small church fair my mom and I did a couple years ago, everyone haggled over our prices (which weren’t that high to begin with). I had braced myself to face more of the same last weekend. I was so pleasantly surprised that not one person haggled over our prices. Its nice to know that given the right venue and right crowd, people actually appreciate the effort that goes into handmade goods. I know there were a few people that walked away empty handed because they didn’t want to pay that much, but it was done in a very respectful manner without questioning the value of our items.
4. Get to Know You Fellow Sellers – Like I said, we met some great people. I wanted to give a shout out to some of the other crafters we met along the way. Please check out the 2010 Park Craft website for some pictures of the day (the little felted kittens were mine!). Also, here are a few highlights:
Wooly Cat – this is my mom’s shop where you can find some amazing felted bags, hats and ballerina dolls.
Lyrical – this shop was our next door ‘neighbor’ at the fair. I really admired her beautiful jewelry made with lovely, sparkling gemstones.
Born In Brooklyn - this shop was our other ‘neighbor’ at the fair. She makes amazing handmade ceramic pendants. I used to do pottery/ceramics myself, so I know the amount of effort that went into these gorgeous pieces.
AngelRox – this shop sells the coolest wrap around convertible tops/dresses/skirts/shawls. I can’t even do them justice by trying to explain them — check out the site. My sister-in-law bought one and spent the rest of the weekend giving us a fashion show with a new look every 15 minutes!