It’s a Totally Different Skill Set

The last months of this year I tried my hand at selling my crafts.  One thing I learned is that it takes a completely different set of skills to create an inviting environment and display your crafts in a way that makes people want to buy them, and to actually sell and be your own advocate when it comes to selling the things that you worked so hard to create.

I did two shows.  One was an epic fail.  Lots of time and barely enough sales to cover my table rent.  The other, also a fail, but I learned a thing or two and met some phenomenally creative people.

One of the lessons I learned, a little late though was that 8′ tables are less useful than 6′ tables. You can not use 8′ tables in a 7′ booth. It was a rookie mistake and I should have done my homework beforehand. Table covers really should go to the floor. This I learned at the first show when I stepped back from my table and could see all of the packaging and boxes under the table.

Under table area for storage should be invisible.

There really is such a thing as too much stuff on the table.

With so much on the table it is difficult for people to focus on any one thing in the booth, so they focus on nothing.

It is important to catch people’s attention in a good way.

Hanging the quilts in a way that would peak people’s interest was a challenge.

One of the things that worked well at the second show was the use of a ladder. At least people knew I had quilts there.

Of course you need a wall for the ladder, but I loved that I could display the quilts without using up all of my table space.

 

This little ornament tree was a great find. I showcased my fabric pine cones and they were the hit of the table.

During this second show I learned several more lessons.

No one knows what is going to sell from show to show.

Some people will come in just to be inspired.

It’s a precarious dance between being overly attentive and not attentive enough.

These gals all nailed it. Not all of them made huge sales, but they all had a professional look to their booths and had quality product.

It pays to have something that no one else has, like the gals that sold Jerky! And the people that owned the farm and sold painted gourds. Everyone seemed to stop at their tables. Dawn Marie, of Dawn Marie’s Lace made the tatted jewelry as well as the beautiful white and glistening ornaments, she also encouraged children to help her while she was tatting away. Her booth was especially inviting. She shared that she has been at this for years and had curated a following. This was echoed by Mark Weaver of Natural Wood Pens who was a wealth of information, inspiration and advice. His wood turned pens kaleidoscopes and cutting boards were very handsome. Amanda Maney of So Many Crafts had some very trendy crocheted octopi! Cheryl Paulson of The Lupanare, had traditional hand tied pearls and her table glistened with sparkly jewels that looked so lovely and could adorn those your love. What Dolls Dream Of had a professional booth with handmade clothing for American Girl dolls, but did not take cards. A very special thank you to Debra and Tera from dandtshows for their kind words and keeping everyone fed and the music festive.

Will I try again? Yes. Maybe a couple more times during “the season” next year. I’ll do a little more research too. Did I enjoy the experience? Well, yes, I did meet some great people. But I must admit, my strengths are more in line with the creative process than the sales process. I have a lot to learn about merchandising and staging. That being said, I didn’t get where I am in the creative process overnight, and suspect it may take more practice and experience to be a top vendor.

 

About divadiversion

Creative procrastinator. Cock eyed optimist. Family historian - with the story being the important part. Quilt coach, lecturer and creator. Scrapbooker, card maker. Modern vintage. Wine lover. Explore new places, let's travel - let's go!
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2 Responses to It’s a Totally Different Skill Set

  1. rl2b2017 says:

    Hi again! Another interesting read. Just a reflection here, but as far as needing something eye-catching to be interested enough to come in the booth is the key to the whole process. And not everyone will be interested in the same thing! It is similar to sewing a quilt top. Less is more in some cases and your eye needs a place to rest and focus. Too many prints are just too many – and that applies to a sales booth as well. You don’t want to sell quilts and paint and toys and spices all together – there’s no common theme. I look forward to hearing about your next adventure. I planned to do one craft fair, which fell through. I have a table topper-sized tree to display ornaments. I also have a pegboard hinged tri-fold painted “wall” that can stand on its own and hooks can display additional ornaments or other hanging items. Like potholders, bowl cozies or even table runners in a pinch – folded on pants hangers. Good luck! ~smile~ Roseanne

  2. Thank you Roseanne. I’m thinking of giving it another try this fall. Maybe only a few quilts, and pillows and mostly table runners, dolly or baby quilts and ornaments. My ornaments were a hit last time, but just the fabric ones. And you have to sell a lot of them to make the table. My cork ornaments didn’t move. Another thing I need to consider is that many of the folks that walk through are not intending to make an investment in a quilt. Any purchase over a certain dollar amount takes a decision and most that are walking through are doing so out of curiosity, or to support someone they know, or stumbled in on an impulse. I don’t make a lot of “smalls” so I don’t have much in the way of impulse buying so I am taking a chance. Again, thanks for stopping by. d

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