Sunday, 17 July 2011

Craft Fair Aftermath

So, after a VERY slow start, the third Magpies and I Altrincham Craft Fair turned out to be a success for me! And really, I can honestly say, no one was more surprised than me. We started at 11 and didn't sell anything til after 1pm. It's the third of these markets that I have participated in and whilst the first one went well, the second was a bit of a wa-wa-waaaa, if you know what I mean! And I was all prepared for today to be the same. Round about 1pm, I was seriously thinking of not signing up again - there had been loads of nice people coming round, taking cards, picking things up, but nobody buying. It's just hard to know what you are doing wrong in that situation....other people were selling this morning, just not us. But we noticed that people were picking up the couple of stamped pieces I had out, put a few more of these necklaces out and we had our first sale....and our second....and by our 3.30 finish, we'd sold eleven items. Including one of my resin rings I made this week :-) So, I'm no Lori Anderson by any means (this could NOT be my full-time job!) but I feel pretty pleased with how we've done today.

Here's how are stall was looking (before we were open to the public, I hasten to add - Helen doesn't usually look so grumpy!) You can see some bags that my sister-in-law made hanging on the sides, and some GORGEOUS silk and mohair cuffs that my Mum knitted. And yes, they are beaded too :-).  So, what do you all think of my display? I can't really afford to be buying any fancy accessories and props - I bought the three picture frames and Helen spray painted them for me and we fitted in the lace together, and the rocks and wood are salvaged from the shores of Whitby. I was pretty pleased with how it looked, I think it was the best so far, and the book you can see on the LH side was a portfolio with a wee statement about me, my jewellery and the materials I use. I'll maybe publish that here at some point so you guys can 'critique' it. 

And here's a quick collage of some of the things that sold. The blue hair clips were actually navy, but I don't have a shot of them....also, a stamped pendant saying 'We are stardust, we are golden', and a handwoven flower pendant in a shimmery, reddish copper sold too. Plus one of the small copper rings I made this week - with a sweet green butterfly inside.  Putting these items all here I see a theme of turquoise and roses.....but maybe that's just because that's what I like to work with! I thought about everybody's brilliant advice for this time, and did my best to stand up a lot (a but tricky as we're on a slope and it's quite uncomfortable to stand for long periods!) and greet and chat to people. Man, I find that HARD. I know it perhaps seems odd for one who blogs and loves to read and comment on other blogs, but I'm actually quite a shy and insular person in 'real' life....and especially when it comes to selling my jewellery! But I swallowed at least some of my shyness and chatted.

[n.b. this is extra hard for me because I actually often don't really like it when people chat to me on their stalls. I feel under pressure and often walk away because I feel under pressure.....perhaps it's a Scottish/British thing - I know sales and customer service is a very different matter in the USA....something I find interesting and will perhaps blog about another time]

So there you go. I'd love any further advice from anyone who goes to or sells at such events, and any critique on my set up (don't be too harsh!) will be much appreciated! Hope you are all having a great weekend and escaping the torrential rain we've had :-)

x x x


Judy said...

I am glad to hear the day ended up well for you. I have been doing craft and art shows for too many years to say. Your display is your one chance to get people to stop and visit your booth. You need to catch their eye in a second before they pass by. I would suggest to you to have something that stops the eye, like at the back of the table. Because if you look at your booth shots again what you see is your neighbors booth and the eye does not stop. Also to elevate your pieces a little more. Booth displays are always a work in progress...have fun with it!

Genea said...

Glad to hear your sales picked up! It's hard to know what sales will be like at shows. I think it changes all the time. I think all we can do is have a nice selection of pieces, a range of prices and just be friendly :)

I know personally I won't buy anything from someone that won't even greet me and say "hello". I don't expect anyone to totally shmooze me, but just say hi and be friendly.

I too am working on getting my first show together here after moving to Portland, OR. So I will be excited to do my post this week.

Good luck with future shows and I hope you are enjoying your summer!

xo Genea

bbonnieblue said...

I think your items are wonderful - I agree with some of the other comments...I used to do craft shows 30 some years ago. I used wooden crates that came from the grocery store(cantalopes were shipped in them) painted them red and set them on the back of the table (gives you some cover when you want to eat!)and built inside and around them using baskets, etc. to display. Even a lamp that you can hang your necklaces from the shade looks cool. I feel the same way some times when vendors over do the chattiness but I agree that even a great smile and good morning makes me feel welcomed. Love red and turquoise...paint your props those colors. Almost makes me want to do shows again but so much work. Now we do occasional sales on our farm...lots of work but we don't have to transport - just figure out how to get people to come but that's working out good!!! Good luck and most of all have fun!

Pretty Things said...

I'm so glad it was a success, and may I say your booth is SO inviting! Studies say a person has 1-3 seconds to decide whether or not to enter a booth, and you surely made people stop to look!

Cillaw said...

Hi Rebecca,
Glad to hear this one was a good one!
I think your display is lovely and I would have stopped to look for sure.

I like the log the best. Very nice prop!

Also I like when the seller is standing for some reason.

I like the seller to acknowledge me but not too chatty as I find this exhausting and It blocks the booth from potential customers.
I was just at a Art Craft Sale while I was on holiday and this woman was standing at the front of the table in the center blocking most of what was for sale and blabbing about how she has so many earrings more then there were for sale blah blah blah...(she didn't buy anything).The seller was Very nice and engaged her but she almost lost my sale as I had two little ones to chase and if they talked a minute more I was moving on. definitely is a delicate balance between friendly and chatty!

Heidi said...

Turquoise is always a theme for you, you know that! Your booth looks lovely. Your jewelry stands out quite well enough without need for a ton of props or whatever. I liked the pale blueish tall rectangular box thing, and the rocks were nice as well. Congratulations. I hope you'll do it again.

I know what you mean about the chatting though. There's a line between friendly and pushy. And I don't like when people are too pushy when I'm in their booths either. I think you just have to respond to each person's cues. Some want to chat; some want to be left alone. Congrats again!

steufel said...

Oh Rebecca, great news! And I think your booth looks fantastic. No critique here;-)

Lori @ Studio Waterstone said...

Congratulations! Great marketing on your part. You go girl.

Palimpa Lim said...

Rebecca, it's so good to hear the market was a success for you!

TesoriTrovati said...

So glad it went well! Those stalls all look cheery and festive with the red and white! I am sure that it is hard to break out of your shell but the thing that I find people buying is the story and the experience. I don't have a hard time chatting up customers, but I have found that when I don't, I don't sell nearly as much. I only do one show a year but my friend volunteered to come and do the selling so I could just talk about the jewelry. That worked so well. And I am always refining my jewelry displays. I like yours very much!
Enjoy the day.

My Life Under the Bus said...

Oh I could talk to the dead except when it's about my own work! I agree with you on that one but YEAH for success! The booth is lovely I agree with adding a hit of red here and there to catch the eye scattered through out nothing expensive - those tents are adorable!

Anonymous said...

I like your booth set up. The only suggestion I would make is to add some more jewelry in the front. More choices, more chance of a hit.

And if you want to sit down, but don't want to put off customers, set up a place for you to make jewelry. That will attract people even if you are sitting down.



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