For one, I'm very glad I jumped in and tried the craft show experience. It's something I'd always been curious about, and now I know. Let's see, what do I know...
*that it really will be fun, even if you still have butterflies in your tummy during set up. Before the first opening, while Heather and I were grabbing dinner, I really didn't want to go back to the booth. I knew I would, but I really didn't want to. The pressure to perform and interact - the introvert in me was decidedly nervous. Thank goodness for Heather!
*people are overwhelmingly nice. There was only one lady who scoffed upon examination of my "summer weight quilts" remarking that she was a Quilter with a capital Q. No batting? The blasphemy. Otherwise, people only had nice things to say. Kind of like blogging. People are looking for something nice to say, in fact.
*even a "good" sales day feels slow. One sale per hour is a hot pace with mid to high priced goods. But in fact the sales came in waves with hours in between where I was left wondering.... when? if? I'm so glad I had friends to keep me company.
*bring handwork that you don't have to look at. So, basically, knitting or crochet. I never touched my reverse applique needlework because I needed to be ready to engage at all times. People even seemed to stop and look more often when I was standing vs. sitting.
*the item that stops everyone may never sell. I wish I had a count of how many people picked up the Typewriter iPad sleeve before it finally, eventually sold. Heather and I started chuckling with each passer buyer. The Rainbow Stitch Coin Purse was equally attention grabbing, but never did sell until it hit my Etsy shop last night (thanks, Courtney!).
Speaking of sales, I know you wanna know. I'm very glad that Indie Craft Parade is a 3-day show. That was key for me. I had invested almost $500 in special supplies, travel expenses and exhibition fees. I "broke even" (not including labor or stash fabrics used) by Saturday morning and had only made a $500 profit by Saturday night. Sunday added more sales, but not enough that I felt it was worth all the time and effort I'd put into preparing for the show. Certainly I'd made money, but definitely the hard way!
Today as I've been logging sales of leftover goods through my Etsy Shop, I'm feeling much better about the bottom line. Thanks so much for supporting my work! I'll admit I like selling to you guys the mostest. Each piece is going to such a friendly home!
What about my Inventory? That was as surprise. Baby Quilts made me the most cash! I sold a total of 3 baby quilts at $165 each. These were quilts I'd previously made for other money-making ventures. How awesome to release them and gain a good bit more! I was barely hoping to sell any, let alone three. Plus, I also sold random items I'd had in my cabinet for awhile, which felt so good. My Sashiko coasters were the first transaction!
Journal covers did sell, but not as well as I'd expected. I believe I sold 13 out of 29. I could have made less, but then again you all are enjoying buying them on Etsy. Win-win! (And there are a few left, just sayin).
iPad sleeves were a bust. I sold 2, one at full price ($40) and one at the discounted price ($30) as of Sunday morning after hearing "wish I had an iPad" from hundreds of people. I think the sleeves were most exciting to someone who doesn't have an iPad. Which makes sense. It was just hard to hear. Ok, annoying. The ideal customer was planning to buy an iPad soon.
The Summer Weight Quilts aka Picnic Quilts did fairly well. I brought 4, sold 2 and traded 1 for a very special necklace. Hey, let's talk about that!
Trading. This was the best surprise of all. I love trading! It makes everyone so happy. My booth was just beside the Yellow Elm headbands. Sweet Elizabeth was super patient about our frequent (constant?) use of the walkway beside her table that provided access to my booth. Seriously, with all the friends that came to help, we were in and out so often.
Anyways, when I realized that Aria would love Elizabeth's headbands and started shopping for one, Elizabeth suggested a trade. YES! I traded 2 headbands for one journal cover (and she picked out a Typewriter because she has such good taste). One headband ended up being for me. I wore it the next day, feeling both supportive and cute.
That got me thinking about other trades... I offered Once Again Sam a trade for a felted monster I wanted for Liam and Foundling a trade for a text necklace. No one was a bit offended. In fact, Betsy at Foundling seemed to jump at the chance.
|photo by Foundling|
She picked out a picnic quilt and I this necklace. Honestly, I was originally attracted to her necklaces just because they use Text. Eventually I understood that they actually say something. Mine says "peace be with you". It's my birthday present to myself. Yay!
In Summary (because that's how you're supposed to end an essay), I had a really good time. I sold enough, but not a huge lot. What felt like tons of people took my card to look me up later. No one was interested in buying patterns. Overall, it seemed like a medium good business venture and a super good personal experience. Right now I'm planning to do Indie Craft Parade next year. In the meantime, I'll make a journal cover or a baby quilt when the desire hits, which is really the most ideal way to build up inventory. I hope that next year is less work, less investment and as much or more sales. But, we'll see.
In the meantime, I'm going to get a quote for painting the house! Fingers crossed I made enough money to cover the bill!