What I Learned from my First Vendor Experience!
First off, I should mention how I did! I did okay in sales, but even better in marketing. I met a few Marquette Shop Owners who wanted to whole sale my work. I handed out a ton of business cards and promotional materials. I gained some new friends on social media. I even was directed to a few upcoming shows that would better suit my work! I heard passer-buyers "Ooo!" and "Awe". I also had many people stop by and say they loved what I am doing and shocked at the materials I use! I loved the consumer interaction it was nice to meet the people who buy my work and it was also nice to just get my name out there!
I have read every Pinterest board and story about how to create a successful Craft/Art Show experience (and there are a lot of them)! I advise sticking to their Craft Show Checklist because those happen to be the most helpful. But what I've learned along the way and what I have gained for next time is:
- Small treats and business cards draw in people! Especially the ones who are staring from afar. The treats and small cards are what start conversations.
- Business cards work! Although, I didn't receive the sales I expected, the night my show ended I did receive two online orders! Wahoo! So having a tangible way that links back to your work is a game-changer!
- Having the prettiest display doesn't mean you'll make sales. People come to craft shows with an ideas of what they are looking for before they even step foot in the door. For example, my aunty came in with a list to get cookies, jerky, and anything Settle Sea Hawks. My Cousin came in with the intentions to get mittens. They both ended up buying my work though! hehe! This particular show though, the audience was looking for christmas treats, goodies, and gifts. My work does fall in one of those categories, but the quality of my work puts me on the very edge of those categories. Pick the show that hosts your audience and which leads me to my next one!
- Know your audience and who you are selling too. Who is the person, who is going to use or, in my case, wear your product. My next show in the wayyy future (cause i already need a break!) will hopefully be a Fine Art Show or be on the Powwow Trail. The "wood signage guy" insisted a few shows that would suit my work perfectly!
- Speak to other venders! Learn from those who are doing the same thing you are doing. I met an Etsy artistDusty Luck, who shared that this show was a little on the down side for her too. Could of been a slow year over all, but who knows! She had done this show 4 times so far and she actually never made the sales she did make for her first show. Her Etsy experience, on the other hand, made me think I should put my work on Etsy! So, I madea shop during my down time at the Show! I don't think I want to publicize it as much, as I do my website (which has everything on it and MORE). It is more of an experiment and I'll sure let know how it goes! Yes, I have an Etsy. Gahh! I explain my feels about Etsy later. Here are a few good reads for now, from one of my favorite sites Aeolidia!! Etsy Pros and Cons and What You Need to be a Successful Entrepreneur.
- Make enough product and give yourself enough time to do so! Most shows write on the contract that if you run out you will not be invited back, which gave me the MOST anxiety. They also mention you can not pack up early, no matter how sleep deprived you are from hosting a Gallery Opening Reception a few days before hand!
- You will have haters. It is inevitable. One person straight up, looked at my quill earrings with disgust and mutter something! And you know what, I'm okay with that. The quills I use are sanitary and clean and sourced in a respectful way. The fact is that not everyone will love, we all have opinions!
- Eating at your booth is hard! One of my helper, not naming names, may have or may not have sat on my Lo Mien! #BootyfullOfNoodles Be prepared for anything!
- Having variety helps or waiting until you have variety! I do have variety, at the moment, in earrings, but not everyone likes earrings or has pierced ears. Consider the investment: the vendor fee, the display, the promotional material, and travel. Will you break even or make more with all that you are selling? It is an easy question to consider!
- Finally, Birch Bark Candles with a remote are an instant success! I suggest someone getting into that line of business. Hehe!
Exquisite Birch coming soon!
#SealedInIce #EquisiteBirch #TLEjewelry #TashinaLeeEmery