Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hawking My Wares

May 8, 2009

Well, the day finally arrived. I fought back the urge to skip the Continental Craft Show, and instead loaded up my van, picked up a wagon from a friends and drove to the Reservations Center. The first thing that struck me when I arrived was how small my table was. I didn't have a ton of stuff to sell, but I definitely had more than would fit on my table. So lesson number one of this experience: Find out how big your space is. Luckily my friend Becky was also coming to sell things (Becky is the real reason I didn't chicken out!), and she didn't need her whole table. So we set up next to each other and I put things on part of her table. What didn't fit ended up under the table, which in the end worked out fine.

So the big question is was the craft show successful? The answer is yes and no.

If you go by sales, the craft show was kind of a bust. I sold 4 items.

One banana holder

My mosiac stepping stone

My Texas Stepping Stone display
(which was sold to woman who planned to auction it off at a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Auction thanks to the generosity of my friend who it actually already had been sold to)
And a small Texas Stepping stone

However, if you view the craft show as a learning experience, it was very successful. I learned several important things. First of all, I learned that the best things to sell at employee craft shows are food items. These people come down for lunch and want to eat. The two food tables were busy all day long. I had lots of comments about how great my stuff was, but no one was ready to buy. Not surprising considering the economy and how little job security we have right now (layoffs were announced less than a week after this show). But I think if I had been at a real craft show where people had come prepared to spend money on things I would have sold a lot.

The second thing I learned is that I really need to sit down and figure out firm prices on everything. I had thought about pricing for most things, but not everything. And when people would ask how much something was, my brain went on auto pilot at times and I ended up quoting prices too low. In fact, I sold my mosaic stone for less than I probably should have. But the woman who bought it got a bargain, and I learned a good lesson so it's all good!

I know there are other lessons I learned, but I can't remember them. How great is that? Anyway, although I didn't make much money this experience did peak my interest enough that I will most likely do a real show in the near future. But I am going to start early making items--and I'm going to focus on mosaic stepping stones--and make a lot of them. If I do that, I think it will be a much more enjoyable and profitable experience.

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