My first vending experience was earlier this year at a local Earth Week Expo. I had no idea what to expect and didn't really have a concept as to how I would set up my booth even though I spent hours researching various set-up ideas. I purchased a table at Costco and figured that was a good start. The Expo graciously provided vendors with a canopy, table, and a chair so all I had to really worry about bringing was my product. But being it was my first time, I worried about way more than that! I continued to research different ideas and tried to come up with something "my own".....
|My First Craft Fair|
Surprisingly I saw some traffic, made a few sales, and got LOTS of positive feedback on my merchandise, but it didn't turn out quite as I had hoped. I mean I was grateful for the experience to have been around other vendors to learn from and it was super cool to be a part of an eco-friendly event that I'm glad I didn't scare myself out of going to, but I knew I would have to "dress it up" some more if I were to do another show.
And low and behold I was asked to attend another little festival a few months later. You'd think I would have learned from my first mistake... I mean show, and try to have a little more organization or flow in my second attempt....
|My second Craft Fair|
Although I did make a few sales, I had even less traffic than before. And I ended up spending what I earned on the other vendors that were there! Again, grateful to have participated in this little shindig and for the practice in setting up, but I just knew that if I were to do this again, I would definitely have to make some major changes if I wanted to see things pick up.
There were a few events on the horizon, but I still didn't have a plan to create a new set up nor was I prepared with enough product so I didn't apply for any of them. A few more months went by and I finally decided to attend a Fall Boutique not far from where I lived. I had a few set up designs in my head, but nothing concrete. I worked on increasing my product line and before I knew it, the event was days away!!
I think I had about 6 hours of sleep the entire week leading up to the craft show! The hardest part was constructing my set up pieces while trying to create enough product in time for the show. There just didn't seem to be enough time in each day to get it all done! I had to make new table cloths, preferably fitted ones. I also wanted to make curtains for the corners of the canopy and a backdrop along the rear of the booth. I needed a stand to display my neckties, but had no idea what to buy or make. ... Tick tock!! ...
|Tah-Dah!! ... My new and improved Craft Fair Set-up|
Third time's a charm, right?!?!?! It's like night and day!! I borrowed two tables in addition to the one I owned and decided to change the layout of the tables to create a more inviting atmosphere. My table cloths were made from two brand new shower curtains I found at the Goodwill for $8 each that retail for $25 each at Target!
I used one of the green sheets I already had and cut it into strips, hemmed it up, and made four corner curtains out of it. The other green sheet was used as a table cloth for the smaller table toward the back of my booth. I purchased another flat sheet in brown and cut pieces from it to sew along the sides of the shower curtain to make the fitted table cloths. My husband built a shelf for one of the tables which I created a slipcover for from the same sheet. The remaining pieces were used to cover the Necktie Wristlet stands my husband made from scrap wood and PVC pipes.
|Recycled Necktie Wristlets|
Ivory curtain panels and a few storage baskets were also found at the Goodwill. I somehow MacGyver'ed the curtains together to make a "backdrop" for the rear of the canopy, but once I started setting up the booth I decided to split them up and have one on each side to kind of break up the closeness of my neighboring vendors. (Guess I'll have to make some "walls" before the next show!)
Traffic was light, but this event brought in the most sales for me so far!! I received TONS of positive comments regarding the cleverness of my products, and even suggestions for new ones. And I only spent my earnings on lunch and a face painting for my daughter!!
It was exciting to go home with extra cash in my pocket and rewarding to have my merchandise appreciated by such wonderful customers. Completely renovating my set-up was a refreshing experience, one that has inspired me to attend more craft shows and has shown me that I am capable of creating anything I put my mind to. Now my booth is an organized and inviting environment that shows some personality and flair, a far cry from what my set-up was like before, and I did it all for under $50!!
If you are preparing for your first Craft Show (or attending your 90th), may I suggest you just have fun with it. Enjoy the experience and know that as your craft evolves over time, so will your products and how you display them.
✿ Have a Beautiful Day! ✿