Craft shows expectations
Posted By: daydreamer
Date: 2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

Craft shows..
Some people doing real well..others well they hardly making enough to pay for their table.

Sometimes some shows I guess that happens but are we gearing our crafts to the people that we are selling our stuff to?

What I mean is;
Like country sales..people will tend to buy food and clothing before they buy stuff to decorate their home. So are our shows a bust because people are selling the same things over and over again and really not studying their customers? This is the time of the year that Crafters do most of their sales. If people are not selling their products maybe it's time to re-think their business. What do you think? I really don't think it's all the public's fault.

But maybe the seller has to do some homework too and try to read the publics mind. If the public goes out of their homes to go to a show..they are there for a reason. If they are there just to you find out what they are looking for? Pass on lots of fliers where they can find you at the next show. Isn't that true though that you can be a craftsman but not a businessman. So in another words the two have to work together in order for sales to be successful. I am not talking about Spring and Summer but sales from now on until December. -daydreamer here...that maybe should go and clean her house instead.

Re: craft shows..some people doing real well..others
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.
I've done the first 3 shows of the year - 2 left to do.

My observations:
1st show was firemans memorial - if it isn't fire related, it won't sell. knew that from past experience. did OK

2nd show:
- this was a wonderful show for me. It was the second year here and did better than last year. Usually what I sell most of is my Christmas ornaments. Had repeat customers - and comments to make at least 3 new designs for next year. Even had people tell me what designs to make.

3rd show - was expecting a wonderful show since it was in larger city than I normally sell at.

Unfortunately, it was the first year they held the show (unknown to me) and attendance was LOW. What customers there were did purchase some, but I think they too were a little put off from the low attendance. Did not sell many of my ornaments, but did sell some larger ticket items. Don't think I covered costs though.

If we want to make money at this, we do need to be business people as well as crafters. Change your inventory each year some. I will continue to make Christmas ornaments, but each year I will have new designs. (and I guess more than one new design a year!) Listen to your customers - are they all saying "Oh, I got one of those last year" Have different price ranges for sale. Keep track of what you sell at your show. Then next year you can look back and see what sold. One location I sold mostly larger ticket items and very few ornaments. I will stock my booth differently the next time I go there. OK, I've talked enough.... any one else with suggestions?
Theresa E

Re: craft shows..some people doing real well..othe
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

I'm in total agreement with you, Theresa... I'm changing my approach quite a bit. I've been doing some of the gag gifts for a buck or two, with a decent presentation. Folks either don't like the presentation for one reason or another, or they go down the aisle and buy the typewritten poem/verse/whatever on a baggie.

One of the things I've been thinking for the last couple years is doing the Christmas legends in a nice frame/box type thing, with maybe 3 or 4 hinged together where they could take the ornie out to hang on the tree if they liked... Still in the "to do" book... Don't know if the nicer presentation would sell well or not.

Just know I won't be going overboard on that stuff at all. My friendship frames do well, though... Have "re-thunk" my approach and think I may have found my niche with "funky furniture and lamps" as well as shadow boxes folks can fill themselves... Still believe in survival kits, but they go to those looking for something special or different with an unusual presentation at this point.

Don't get me wrong, will have various price ranges from 2 bucks up, but they won't be what others have ~ unless they go home and make some overnight! A combination of becoming known for special items like Sharon and her farm, and being known for other than run of the mill stuff. If you make cup rugs, for instance, line them with teflon with plastic underneath so they don't harm a table top from the spices...that discussion was on the Homemaking bb...then folks will look for you because you put thought into it instead of whipping up something to make a quick buck!!! Does this make sense? This has progressed over a period of time... Gotta run and find chalk for the board for Issa before she tears the joint down... Karen

Re: great thoughts daydreamer and good
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

observations Theresa and Karen. I have found the same things to be the shows and the shop. My shows have been slightly lower attendance this year but the sales have been up so not sure why. But I'm sure not complaining.

Luci made a great point with knowing your buyers. I do mostly "country themed" shows because that is the part of the country I live in. The Victorian items, lacey, frilly things just don't seem to sell. Even my teacup topiaries and lamps just don't seem to sell well enough to make them worthwhile transporting to and from the shows. So those will be for the shop only. I add a new animal to my "farm" line each year too...this year it is the longhorn, hopefully next year I will find that perfect boer goat head so I can do those.

I found that the little gag gifts went great the lst year or two I did them, now you can't give them away around here...seems everyone is doing maybe Karen's idea of the nicer presentation would make a difference...remember if you found it on the internet, more than likely your fellow crafter will find it too, so try and change it to make it uniquely "you" and not the standard.

If you plan to craft for a living, then you have to do your homework: know your market, change what needs to be changed, don't go overboard until you know what you are getting into. I have only done 1 show that I wasn't familiar with and it was not one I will do again...better to research them first. Enough for tonite as I just returned from a show and vacation and need to hit the hay but will try and add more tomorrow. Sharon

Re: great thoughts daydreamer and good
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

Have you thought of making "country" tea/coffee cup lamps using the country themed/pattern on the stoneware? Wonder if that makes a difference... My teacups with the scenes in them do well and the plush, napped fabric drawstring purses do very well with the young teen girls. Both use the Victorian base, but are two things folks like. Also noticed the folks here like humorous, original, well presented items. I did a millennium TP roll where the next day of a 2 day show a fellow came up and bought 2 dozen with the comment he loved my sense of humor. His wife had purchased one the day before. He even waited while I put labels on the ones under the table because I only had 8 or 10 left on top!!! That one made me feel really good...

The other hit for me is the framed verses for friendship, apology, mother [so-so], sister. If they're not too mushy, they go well... These items have been very successful for me. All were original presentations and well received. The only time computer graphics go for me is when I use them to make something that either goes in a container with other items. I make themed groups ~ not just survival kits, but using some of the sayings ~ for special interests or occasions. Folks usually phone orders for these throughout the year as their needs arise, so the display of some makes the cartage worthwhile for advertising.

My market covers a range of ages and types of folks. I prefer country themes, but present an eclectic assortment for a cross market of age. The teens like the "fancies," while their folks like the country. The youngsters like the "action" items, which are usually 5 bucks and under. This approach seems the best for me. I hope this helps some of you reading and thinking ~ just remember that presentation is the key, as well as thought and homework for your market. karen

Expectations from Doing a Craftshow
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

I know we have some really experienced people when it comes to doing craftshows. What can a person realistically expect to make from say a two-show. What are the mitigating factors? Sue

Re: good question Sue but a hard one to answer.
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

If I can't make $1000-$1200 in a 2 day show I won't do it again. But then keep in mind that I have over half of my stock that is $25 and up.

If you have mostly $10 and under items then I would say probably $300-$400 I was just updating my craft show book to see what I did last year at the Texas show that we are going to this is a one day 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM show and I have never made less than $1100 and the booth space costs me $50 (well this year $75 because we expanded to a 3 booth space instead of 2). Also the rate of overhead differs from person to person.

Most of our crafts are done w/very little out of pocket expense...mostly just labor. So our profit ratio is probably higher than someone who has larger out of pocket expenses for their crafts Does that help you any? I think the secret is to have something that noone else does in that area...that has been our biggest asset...well that and the variety that we do. Between myself, Doug and my mom we have quite a variety for people to choose from Hope this helps a little and I'm sure others will offer their insights as well . sharon

? Re: Expectations from Doing a Craftshow
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

As Sharon said it is a hard question to answer. Here are some things to think about :
* Where is the show located? A 2 day show in a small town in Northern MI will bring in a LOT less than a 1 day show in Southern MI where people's income is significantly higher.

* How established is your following? I have done a show after Thanksgiving in the same town for a number of years. I have people coming back to my booth to see what new items I have. Since I sell a lot of personalized Christmas ornaments, I need to have new designs each year for the returning customers.

* What do you have that is NEW and DIFFERENT from everyone else? I do painted wood items. Even if there are other people with painted wooden items, mine are different than theirs.

* How established is the show?? Do they do a lot of advertising? Is it well attended with people purchasing items, or do the people just walk around and look??

(BTW Sharon, when I do a $1000 show I am ecstatic!! It takes a lot of $4 ornaments to bring in $1000.) Thats why you need a good variety of different priced items.

My show income has varied to barely making the booth fee, to $1000 throughout the 12 years or so I have been at shows. This higher amount has only come in the last couple of years. Best of luck Sue - it is always better to have more than you need than to sell out. And whatever you have left over will just go to your next show. Eventually it will sell.
Theresa E

Re: great points Theresa...thanks
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

And yes you are right, it would take a lot more $4 ornaments than $38 animals to come up to $1000 That's why I prefer doing the larger things Besides, I can't detail paint like you do for the ornaments...wish I could. It is always good to throw in some $1-$2 items as well. That way, anyone can buy if they stop by your booth. And you are right on with the items. We have done the show in Texas for 5 years and like you said, we have people look for us. This year we added the longhorn for those people that already have our donkeys, cows, horses, and roosters.

Same thing w/the painted cans. We even had a lady miss us at the show last year but remembered that my sister lived there and drove around looking for and recognized our trailer She knocked on Judy's door on Sunday morning about 9:30 and said she had to have a donkey and had missed us at the show since it was rained out early. Sure made us feel good Only thing is this year we have a new trailer and no one will recognize it so they better catch us at the show or remember . sharon

? isn't it 4 to 5 times the booth fee?
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

I don't know where or how I know that.
I knew this woman that just did Christmas ornaments..all year round. Only did shows starting September on to the end of November and only did shows that people paid an admitance fee to look. The rest of the time she collect all she could from nature and crafted.

Re: isn't it 4 to 5 times the booth fee?
2003/4/10 3:26 p.m.

I've found you need a variety in both price ranges and items so folks will stop and look. Went with 3 or 4 items in the beginning and folks didn't even stop! Also, if you don't have a backup of a popular item, and only have 2 or 3 left, the people think folks aren't buying it, NOT that the item has sold and that is all you have left...people are weird!

The cluttered look comes from ladies who do many things, but don't rent enough space to spread them out so they can be seen ~ especially the sewn items. When I look at those tables all the items run together. It's like trying to decide on a bolt of fabric at the store with so much packed against it!

Another thing I was taught by a gal doing the Harvest Festival with dolls was to have some quick selling $5.00 items ~ they at least make the booth fee and some of the expenses for the weekend. The one gal that was quite successful was selling painted bottles and personalizing them. They weren't expensive and she was busy all day long! karen

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