In the interest of collecting high-level observations and notes, without being tempted to wax poetical, here’s a list of the 10 things I’ve learned from my first two craft fairs:
1. Every fair/show/event is different. Location, time of year, time of day, weather, general mood of the populace, and who organized the event, along with innumerable other variables, will determine how much stuff gets bought.
2. The weather forecast for amount and type of wind is possibly more important than temperature when you sell things made out of paper.
3. The type of substrate an outdoor event is held on makes a big difference for cleanup. A dusty parking lot is way messier than your average city block (especially on a windy day).
4. Have a succinct pitch. Be able to explain what, why, and how you do what you do in just a few words.
5. Be able to elaborate without being awkward! If someone is interested in more details, be able to expand on your pitch. My first show was awkward and I told some probably self-deprecating stories to strangers who then looked at me funny and walked away instead of buying stuff.
6. Stay engaged. Be on your feet or otherwise active so that you’re on the same level as people walking by.
7. Have something to work on. Don’t plan on getting any actual work done. This is something I wish I’d done for my first show, but then the second show was so different in terms of passer-by engagement levels that it didn’t seem to do anything positive. And things kept blowing away. This point requires more study.
8. Yes, this paper box costs as much as a (cheap) latte. I spent a significant amount of time designing it out of thin air, prototyping the design until it worked to my satisfaction, cutting out your box with my cutting machine, peeling it off of the cutting mat, trimming and correcting any imperfections by hand, cutting and applying adhesive stickers by hand so that you don’t have to get your bottle of glue out, and paying to have a booth at this craft fair so that you can pay me $4. Sounds like a deal to me!
9. My best-seller today will not be my best-seller tomorrow. (See item #1)
10. People seem to need concrete ideas for how to use my products. “Awesome gift box!” doesn’t seem to have broad enough appeal, at least to those two audiences. “Teacher gift” or “Wedding favor” or something along those lines got more people interested…though I’m still missing something, because interest doesn’t usually connect to a sale.
Not an exhaustive list, and really only the surface level of things I’ve been pondering and reflecting on, but it feels good to get these things recorded before too much more time passes.
According to item #1, I should be able to make a list like this after each show!