My First Craft Fair – Review

Is it already over? The day I’ve been dedicatedly preparing for three whole months? My first craft show ever was a SMASHING SUCCESS!!!! Well, ok, maybe not that smashing. 🙂 But overall, it was a great experience builder for me. It was a 5 hour show from 10AM-3PM. We (my sister and dad – I got such great support from my family for this show! I love them so much…) arrived 2 hours earlier to set up. The weather was a blessing today, considering it had been raining on and off for three days prior. There was a little bit of wind that kept knocking down my chalkboard sign, but besides that it wasn’t much of a factor.

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With everything set up, I even had some time to spare and got some pictures taken of my beautiful booth (yes, I took a lot of pride in setting it up and designing the layout of it). Then I stood back and anxiously waited for customers to arrive. 10AM came and the place was empty… My friend Christine and I looked at each other and said, “Why isn’t there anyone coming? Is it still too early for everyone?” Christine set up a booth next to me with her awesome paper crafts and jewelry. I knew she was talented but after seeing her wonderful creations, WOW, she is GOOD and I am so proud of her! Here’s a picture of her booth next to mine.

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A whole hour passed by before my first sale (YAY!!) The nice lady bought a small makeup bag. She just walked right into my booth without hesitation. This lady knew what she wanted and came to get it! 🙂 I’ve noticed that most customers did the onlooker walk-by, as if they were afraid to come into the booth. I had read about this kind of behavior in my research before the show. So I thought maybe moving my table forward a bit more and hanging my tote bags so that they stuck out from the corner would help. Another lady came by and purchased a couple of the fabric flower ponytail holders. (Thank you!!) It was like I felt validated with every purchase made by clients… lol. And another hour passed by without any sales. 🙁 Wow, seriously, where is everyone?

So I took this opportunity to walk around and check out some other vendors (honestly to see how they were doing.) It didn’t seem like they were attracting much foot traffic either. Maybe people decided to just stay home today, not bother coming out after the rain. Well, whatever it was, I have to admit it was kind of disappointing. I put a LOT of effort into this show, albeit I am inexperienced doing craft shows and didn’t really know what to expect. From picking out the fabrics, pre-washing them, ironing out the creases, cutting them out, ironing on the interface, sewing at the sewing machine, taking product photos (which was beaucoup fun!), figuring out how to display the products, and other fun-filled logistics. No joke, a lot of man-hours were put into this first show. But ok. I didn’t sign up to do this to make lots of money, although it would’ve been nice to sell everything and achieve instant overnight success! haha. Realistically, my heart was to get my name out. I am a start-up afterall and the most important tool at this point is publicity and let people know what ZansuCreations is all about. I’m not quite sure how well I’ve achieved that goal today. But I need to start somewhere, right?

Sales didn’t start picking up until 1PM or so. I had two hours left and was determined to make every last minute count! So after some discussion with the sis, we decided to drop the price on certain items and give people discounts. 10% off one item, 20% off two or more items. And what do you know… More people were interested and more purchased. Yup! Valuable lesson learned #1: People don’t really care about free promotional products. They care more about getting a discount. I think it’s the psychology of it all. You know you’re getting a great deal when you get a certain percentage off. No one wants to pay full price. I sure don’t. That’s why I enjoy going to sales. 🙂

Valuable lesson #2: Add cheerful colors (especially the color red) and designs to attract customers. Interestingly, most items sold had the color red in it. Maybe because red is traditionally a more feminine color and that was definitely my target group. I did a half and half of shabby chic and fun, energetic prints. I think that’s kind of who I am anyway. High energy and I love most anything Parisian.

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Lesson #3: People don’t read signage with lots of words. Keep signs simple and try to minimize them. I tend to be detailed-oriented and informative on things like this so I made lots of signs. TWO price lists, “We Accept Cash & Credit Cards”, Large, Medium, Small, “You get a Free lip balm if you LIKE us on Facebook” (which was a total flop, btw.) 🙁 I think I was the most disappointed about not getting anyone like us on Facebook. Having thought about it, would I want to bust out my phone at a craft fair and type in facebook.com/ZansuCreations and LIKE the page; a business I’ve only discovered today JUST to get a free lip balm? Hmmm, maybe not. I think I made it too hard for people.

Lesson #4: Make things easy for your customers. Don’t make them type things out on their phones to get them to like your FB page! haha. My sister was right. Maybe I should’ve offered a 30% discount for those who liked my page. Maybe then, those who were serious about getting a deep discount would have done it. 🙂 Well, I was pretty ecstatic when I got home to find that one person from the fair liked my page. (THANK YOU, Heather!) She was a vendor I was chit-chatting with while I was passing out my business card. (hey, hey! Glad I walked around and networked! Yes, I get excited pretty easily.)

Overall, it was a great day. I learned important lessons and something to take to my next craft fair whenever that may be. My body’s exhausted and I feel like I came back from an all-day hike. I probably don’t want to look at a sewing machine for a long time. But I may have to as I have a custom order from a friend who wants me to make a bag for a baby shower gift… And for some of the requests I got at the fair today, like a couple of totes with certain prints on it and a brush bag. Ok fine. I will go at this again… but after a week or so of fully vegging out… 🙂

Thank you to all those who came out and supported my shop! Especially to those who drove so many miles just to see the products in person! You guys brightened up my day.

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4 Responses to "My First Craft Fair – Review"

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  1. Mark

    March 12, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Hey Susan! Just read your review of your first show, and it sounds like you learned some very valuable things for whenever you do this again. I’m glad you had the experience, and I think you sertainly earned your ceg-out time! Sorry Rachel and I couldn’t make the show, but we kept you in prayer and we will try and make any other shows that you do. Congrats on getting the first one done, making some sales, getting your face and name out there, and started the zansu ball rolling….to wherever it may lead! 🙂

    Reply
    • admin

      admin

      March 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      Thanks Mark! Great to hear from you! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Cindy Yi

    April 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Congrats on your first craft fair! Love your products and the beautiful display. Let me know when your next one will be. 🙂

    Reply
    • Susan

      Susan

      April 15, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Thank you, Cindy!! I’ll definitely let you know when my next one will be. I’m planning on having another one in December for the Christmas season. 🙂

      Reply

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