Monday, October 13, 2014

Craft Fairs and Booth Displays...Oh My!

 My, things sure have been busy around here.  I am a full time teacher but my jewelry has been taking over more and more of my time.  Business is growing and my enthusiasm for creativity has led me into the world of craft fairs.  I got my feet wet during the summer at a BIG arts show.  I was terrified...I and no really idea what I was doing, I had no real display items and I definitely had no sales experience.
But in I went...and had a very mediocre experience.  I was surrounded by 'professionals' and my tiny table really got lost in the mix.  My nerves meant I became far to reserved to actually drum up trade, and my inexperience led me to drop prices ridiculously low (think no profit low) and it really put people off.

I think I have a stubborn streak in me, however, as I actually felt more determined than ever to make my mark at craft fairs.  I wanted to learn how to do it, how to become a major presence in the sea of artisans selling their wares.  I am not there yet, but I am definitely improving.

One of the most important things I learned was the need to start small and LEARN.  I had been invited to a small fair in Bethel while I was at the monster embarrassing show.  I knew it would be small with much less traffic but the table fee was very low and I focused more on learning about displays and selling than making more jewelry.  This paid off.  I created a nice little set-up under my white canopy and received MANY compliments on my displays.

Displaying jewelry is hard.  I didn't want to look like a 'fashion store' but I also wanted my jewelry to stand out and not be overpowered by the display props.  I opted for very basic 'naked' wood as the theme.  I like natural elements and the pale pine allowed my jewelry to really 'pop' and stand out.

Having dabbled with displays at home, I set up each fair pretty easily, albeit, with  great deal of stress about finishing before the first customers arrived.  I have made the deadline each time and then allowed myself the luxury of tweaking and making notes as the day went on...seeing what seemed to please customers and what didn't work at all.  I made a LOT of notes.

I still have a long way to go, but my displays have evolved and I am feeling a lot less like an amateur, and more like I blend in.  Not bad after four shows.  Who knows what my displays will look like in the future, but for now, I'm loving the thrill of selling my own handmade jewelry to happy customers.  Best of all, many of them return online or at the next show!