Last Friday and Saturday I participated in the Queen Bee Market. If you have been following this blog for the past few months you already know that my excitement level for this event was through the roof. I put a lot of time and energy into coming up with new displays and creating new product. I loved the experience.
This show, hosted by sisters Mique & Jessica, was adorable and very well organized. It consisted of about 50 handmade vendors and a steady flow of customers over two days. It was a shared check out which for me is great. While I like to meet people, standing in front of a booth and playing the roll of salesman is not my mode of operation (and I am realizing that is okay). I was so happy for the relaxed environment and for the opportunity to sit and chat with my parents who came into town and Michelle of Lovely Junque whom I adore.
What worked :
The overall display / it fit in but stood out just enough. That was my one main goal for this craft fair - to build something substantial that I was proud to say was mine. As always though, adapting is important and the wheels are already turning for what I could change.
The transfer & set up process / all of my risers for the books and posters were fabric covered boxes that I used to transfer all the product from my house to the market. I liked that my display was my storage - less stuff to haul in and out which made set up and take down quick and painless.
The 5x7 print display / overall, I have to say this worked well because my 5x7 prints sold better than anything else. Part of that, of course, is the price - at $5, they are the least expensive thing that I offer. For the most part, it stayed organized, even with people checking out different colors and putting them back. I loved that each color and design could be faced and it was fairly clear what was available. I only had to straighten up this board a few times but probably could have checked in on it more frequently.
The flower print display / this was an interesting one - I originally created the canvas board as a sample display piece only, but late in the game decided to turn it into product storage as well. I painted a stretched canvas teal and freehand painted six frames in white. Then I stapled a 5x7 piece of chipboard inside the frames and used binder clips to secure five of each of the six prints to the board. I didn't know how well these flower prints would sell but they did much better than I expected which means the display worked on some level.
What I'd change :
More signage / I didn't get around to labeling each "section" of the table or creating price signs for items. I would have liked to have a "5x7 prints - $5" sign and something for the flower prints & posters as well. It's hard to say if it would have helped - but I doubt it would have hurt.
Bigger tablecloth / no excuse. This was a simple case of "I got lazy." I needed something that generously covered all sides of the table.
Maybe forget about the mixed paper books / while they have done really well online, the point just doesn't seem to translate as well in real life where it's unclear how they can be used. I had a sample book this time and still sales of books were low. Part of me thinks I scrap (no pun intended) them at craft fairs and either expand the print/poster line OR think of something new to sell. Maybe something that is bigger and more difficult to ship? Something that would fit with my brand but would be unique for craft fairs? I don't know. Something to think about.
Creativity prints in a wider range of colors / by far, the creativity prints were my best sellers and oddly, I offer them in the least amount of colors. It's not a big deal to expand colors so I will definitely do that. I think the "creativity" theme is something that does well in a craft fair setting and I might have to think about having more prints of the same theme.
No car rental / Paul and I share just one car. With some planning, this usually works out great. But on the market day, he had to work and I had to work and we really needed a second car. I ended up renting a big SUV that could easily fit all of my displays and product plus me and my parents, but that cost really cut into my profit. We will not be purchasing a second car for awhile and so this was a good lesson that I need to only participate in markets/fairs where it will work for me to use our car.
In general :
Events like this help me remember that I am so not alone in this DIY/small business/handmade/get crafty land. Thanks to twitter & blogs, I never really feel alone, but there is something about being surrounded by other women who do what I do that makes the whole thing feel more legit. I am so grateful that my parents and Paul could see me in what really is my element, because more than any job I have ever had this feels like me.
It is also such a reality check in the best of ways. What am I doing? What should I be doing? What can I be doing? What is the plan? Seriously, Elise, what's the plan? How can you make this bigger and better and more real? Get to work.
Dude. Typing all of this out is so helpful. I am processing things now. Feels good. Again, I am reminded why I need this blog. Thanks for hanging with me these past few weeks. Right now, the plan is to list something new along with all of the mixed books that didn't sell on Wednesday morning. I will post here when everything is updated.
photos : 1. badges at checkout 2. my completed booth 3. the badge I wore during the show.