Craft fair update

OMG I am exhausted.  How do people do this every week?  It is not easy talking to all those strangers for hours on end.  🙂

However, I think it basically went well.

What I learned:

If I am going to keep on doing this, I need a better display, especially for the jewelry.

(These photos are from set up night.  I tweaked a bit, but this is basically it. It looks like a jumble sale! A made me the hat poles, and I like them.  Just need to work on the rest of it.)

.  craft booth

craft booth 2

I need to figure out a way to highlight that my things are made with really great fibers, many locally sourced. Also, the specialty touches like local stone buttons, local fiber.

I need lights, preferably true color ones.  The lights in here were very yellow, and made all my reds look rusty, and my blues lacked life.

People shopping at craft fairs want bargains.  Have a bargain basket.

People shopping at craft fairs are often buying gifts and it doesn’t matter if they love the hat and look adorable in it, if it is for a gift, they will hem and haw and often walk way.

Don’t make what I don’t like.  The hats that sold were primarily the ones that I thought “Well, if this one doesn’t sell, I will be OK with that, because I really like it and will wear it”  the ones I knit to have more universal appeal are sitting in a bag in the car right now.

Those (danged) ruffled scarves sell like hot cakes.  Sadly, the lady at the booth next to me had HUNDREDS of them for $5 a piece, and all day I listened to her extolling the virtues of them and how the price is a steal, doesn’t even cover the price of the yarn.  Well, good for her (she sold nearly all of them) and bad for me sitting beside her with $40 beautifully cabled wool/silk scarves which will actually keep you warm.  But not good present material, apparently!

My products have a demographic.  It might not be people who shop at craft fairs.

So, how did it go?  For the most part, great.  I sold 4 hats, which is not a lot, but covered my fee and some yarn, and I have lots of inventory/Christmas presents now.

The jewelry did not sell at all, although the people who did notice it really seemed to like it, they didn’t ask me the price so much as how hard was it to make them, how did I do it, etc.  That was a bummer. I won’t make more until I figure out how to sell these.  Even though I love them, I guess grandmas weren’t sure that kids would like them, and the young women going through didn’t stop and find them in my booth.  See what I learned number 1.

I had fun, my sister and I were glad the other was there (it meant we got bathroom breaks, etc) and we had a nice visit together. The show was not mobbed, but had steady traffic.  C had a good day selling her pottery, she taught me the bargain trick, which I will use in the future – she had a “Bargain shelf” and sold nearly everything she put on it.  She just kept moving things down to it.  Sometimes she would lower the price and sometimes not.  I think she picked up a few customers who understand artful pottery, and is building a following here (it is her second year).

c at craft show

C putting her booth together morning of – she is good!  Set the whole thing up in less than an hour. I wish you could really see her beautiful bowls. They are elegantly shaped, and her glazes are just beautiful.


The man who came in at 9:02 and told me he wasn’t leaving without a hat, it was going to be a cold winter.  He tried a few, and we found a slouchy beanie that made him happy, which made me happy. (He WANTED wool, and saw my hats from across the room!)

Then the woman who spent a long time with my hats, slowly moved over to my sister’s booth, and almost immediately came rushing back.  She has a daughter who is married to a hockey coach, and so sits for hours in ice arenas.  Turns out my sister had a big warm muff and scarf that matched one of my hats.  She bought the lot.

Then there was a couple looking for presents.  They tried on all the hats.  While they eventually left without buying anything (waiting for a text on colors and sizes) they made my booth fun and vibrant while they were there, and they were very appreciative of  the quality of the work, and the uniqueness of the products.

Lastly? The shy Asian woman who looked, left, came back later and shyly tried on two hats, back and forth for the last ten minutes of the show before choosing a hat.  She looked so happy with the one she chose.

It was a good day, and though I am exhausted, I will do it again.  And I will be thinking about other ways to sell my work.  It is fun to see people in my hats!

18 thoughts on “Craft fair update”

  1. So glad you had a good time. I wonder if you took the hat poles and added a polystyrene bust, if you could not only display the hats but also display the scarves/jewellery as they would be worn? Now, Re the woman with ruffled scarves. Firstly, every has been given one, but how often do you see them being worn… Secondly what the (expletive deleted) is the point of selling things below cost? All it does it perpetuate the handmade is cheap theory. Gah.
    I wonder if you should pitch yourself at the luxury end of the market? Go to craft fairs where people will pay the cash for unique pieces?
    I admire you. I don’t have the patience to make enough stuff. And I’d get cross with people wanting bargains!

    1. I agree with everything you said! That is what burned me up about the scarves. She also was selling beaded earrings, (she had hundreds) for what is not much above cost. Some of her bracelets were actually below cost, and I was tempted to buy them to take apart and use the beads! But I didn’t; want to give her my money.. I think you are right, we will have to find where the appreciative crowd shops. 🙂

  2. I’m so happy the experience went well! Kudos to you for putting yourself out there! Definitely something I would be quaking in my boots to do 🙂 At least now you have some of your gift knitting done. 🙂

  3. I’m glad you had some highlights. It was educational to read about your experience. Did not like reading about that woman and her cheap ass scarves. You put yourself out there. Good for you. That’s something to be proud of.

    1. thanks – I did not like SEEING that woman and her rack of scarves. I said to my sister “I can;t wait until those things are gone” – and then when they were, she refilled it! Ugh.

  4. Great first fair. You learned a lot. There is always someone like the lady with the scarves that has cut rate pricing. Too bad she was in your category this time. Look for the higher end craft fairs for your goods. Ask the organizers how many textile crafters they have per show and what types of things they sell. Also ask the organizers what the average price range of the the goods are. You want a show where your stuff is in the middle range. The other thing is display, display, display. Love the hat poles because it put your stuff up and above the other crafters so it caught peoples’ eyes. The shawl should have been hung to catch eyes too. The jewelry that you do so beautifully needs to be up and off the table on small display wrists, and busts and on the kind of racks your sister had for her pottery. Look on etsy or ebay for them at a good price. Don’t invest in lights. You are not always guaranteed a space near an electrical outlet. Your excellent with paper crafts, make a few pretty signs that say hand knit with Maine wool, or buttons made from Maine quartz. You did great for a first fair. Have you looked into selling your items on etsy?

  5. Well done to you. Where is the fun in getting everything right first time? Were you making during the Fair? I think the stall looks fab, the hatstands add height and the shawls laid out shoe the stitch pattern well.

    1. thanks! That means a lot to me. Yes, I was knitting on a sock in between talking to people – it helped pass the time and started some conversations. And I was wearing some earrings, necklace and socks I made. The room was so cold, I should have worn a shawl instead of the necklace!

  6. i BET THE LADY WITH $5 scrafs got her yarn on sale at Mardens, I bought loads of it for $2.50 a ball there. She still is not making anything for her time but many craft fair crafter are just trying to cover materials, shame. Was this the Orland Fair? I think my frind Cindy (wooden primitive stuff) was there!

    1. I bet you are right – or she simply doesn’t care if she makes money on things like that. 🙂

      I wasn’t in Orland – I was in Owls Head, at the Transportation Museum. It is a great venue, and many of the crafters clearly valued their time and skill, but not that one lady.

      Was the Orland fair a good one? I have not been to it in years, so don’t know the crowd.

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