Where I muse about just about everything...
From the weather in Texas, to my kids, pets, travel and friendships. Basically, about life. And oh yeah, about my Coquette Bath & Home™ products, too.
Originally published to my old blogger site on April 14, 2011
A few months ago, I did a blog post called ‘So you want to have a craft show.” I’ve been thrilled and blessed to find that this post is now linked to a lot of quality blogs as a reference. I’m honored, really. It is, after all, just my opinion. But I do speak from the heart and tell the truth.
And truth always wins, I think.
So, here’s another one, devoted to my fellow crafters. And this one, as you can tell, is entitled “So you wanna sell at a craft show?”.
Like the first article, this may seem a silly question. After all, if you are having a show, or selling at one, you’ve made a conscious decision. But while you’ve made that decision, sometimes, well let’s be honest, not everyone thinks everything through 1000%. And another pair of eyes is helpful. And that’s what this post, like the other, is designed to provide.
So in the same vein as before, here’s my take on this vital question.
So, the basic answer is obvious. Or so it seems to me. You want to sell at a craft show because you want to introduce folks to your products, right? Well, of course you do! You’ve spent time and money and invested a lot of effort. And now is the payoff day. Or is it?
Just because something is made doesn’t mean it will sell. And that can be a very painful learning experience. I’ve had it happen to me. I make what I think is a great product and it just sits there. Like a product I made called ‘Fizz’. Yes, it was a bath bomb, but the product came in a 3pc mini size. It gave the customer the option to use as few as one or all 3pc at a single time. Priced a bit higher than a regular bath bomb of similar weight, I was sure (based on my talking to customers ) that it would fly out of my shop. If you wanted a foot bath: use one. If you had a huge garden style bath tub: maybe 3 (definitely 3 for me) etc.
It totally flopped. I mean really. I sold some wholesale and sold a few more retail, but most sold went at a significant discount at shows as ‘discontinued items’. I still love the idea. But I no longer make that product.
And that’s the truth of selling face to face. Unlike the internet where you can ‘hide’ behind your avatar or shop, in a face to face selling venue you will hear a lot of painful things. You will have folks question whether your products are good enough (Ethel, you can make that yourself, don’t spend money here). You’ll have issues with bad debt (credit cards that don’t go through, even given by other vendors) or dishonored checks. You could even get counterfeit money.
You’ll have to schlep your items into the venue in all weather conditions. Forget the post office bringing mail come rain, sleet or shine. Hell, they’re getting paid. We don’t have a clue whether we’ll make a buck or lose a hundred. But we do it.
Because there is simply no better way, in my opinion, to really learn the nitty gritty. To see what customers like. What they do not. To polish your packaging, your image, your usp (unique selling proposition…I do have a BS in Marketing LOL). Face to face with the consumer is crunch time. It is seeing, first hand, how your items will be received.
And the huge payoff, of course, is seeing how other folks respond to them. And each event is totally different. You can tweak your message, your setup, everything between one show and the next. Try that with a retail store (trust me, I did….wasn’t fun or easy and did not end well) and you’ll know how blessed a show can be.
But it is also a lot of work. And worry. And pain. And frustration. I’ve indicated some of them above. But as each person is different, so are the expectations and the feelings and the results.
I’ll get more into those in Part 2. Thanks for reading!
Creative. Witty. And usually somewhat wise. Mom of 2. Heritage: French & German. Born in the UK and raised in the USA.