Reflections from my first craft fair
Finally, the post you've all been waiting for. :)
Although this arrangement sounded fair to me, I hesitated quite a bit before sending in my vendor application form. My main worry was that I wouldn't have time to create enough items for the fair. On the other hand, I felt that if I didn't take the plunge I would never do it. After two weeks of dilly dallying and going back and forth, I sent in my application and threw myself feverishly into getting ready for the fair.
I spent hours on Ravelry and thumbing through stitch dictionaries to find easy but compelling patterns to make. I went through my yarn stash and pulled out yarns I thought would work. I went a little yarn crazy on Ravelry and bought some more yarn from my fellow Ravelrers.
I also spent a lot of time designing photobooks to use as a design portfolio, and went to pick those up from Walgreens on the Tuesday before the fair, with my poor little boy in tow.
|Photobook from Walgreens. ©LivedStories|
|Paper bags lined with lime green tissue paper. ©LivedStories|
|All done! All the paper bags with stickers and tissue paper. ©LivedStories.|
My process was a little convoluted. After the painful process of itemizing my inventory just a month ago for tax time, I wanted to make sure that I listed each item, what material went into it, what the actual costs were, and what the markup was in a Google doc. With this done, I would then calculate what the price of each item would be, and then put that in the item listing on the Square Register app. I would then put the price on a little sticker label on the hangtag, and attach the hangtag with a piece of yarn and a safety pin to the particular item. This is how they looked after this whole process was done.
|Hangtag with price sticker, attached with a piece of yarn and a safety pin. ©LivedStories|
|Scarves showing hangtags with price sticker. ©LivedStories|
I couldn't believe it. I turned the modem off and on, plugged and unplugged the router...everything I thought would work, short of waking my husband up. It didn't come back on. So, with about 1/3 of my inventory left to be labeled and included in the inventory, I finally gave up around 2am and went to bed. In hindsight, I should have called Comcast, but I'm sure you realize I wasn't thinking straight by then. :) I woke up 4.5hrs later, at 6:30am, to finish off the labeling/itemizing/packing. By the time I finished packing, got my food together, took a shower and all that jazz, it was past 9am. The fair was starting at 10:30am. Yikes! I still had to go pick up the paper bags from LivedStories, and I hadn't even mapped where the Milpitas Christian School was actually located. By the time I got there, it was 10am, and I had exactly 30 minutes to set up my stall.
It was ALMOST a nightmare! First, another vendor had mistakenly taken my spot, and I had to gently prod her to move. I was fine with taking her spot instead, but because of the screens I was using to display my scarves, I needed a wall behind me. Luckily, she was easygoing and had no problem moving. As I began to set up, I heard an announcement over the PA system that guests were starting to arrive. I was near panicking. I tried to put my banner up but the pushpins I brought weren't working. I tried to use safety pins but the pins were not strong enough and the banner was heavy enough to pull the tablecloth down or rip it (it was plastic)! Oh gosh! What to do?
Wanda, one of the organizers of the fair, came to my rescue! She brought sturdier pushpins so my awesome banner could be put up. It was touch and go there for a moment, I tell you. :)
|There's the banner!! ©LivedStories.|
|The body form from Erin in use at the fair. ©LivedStories|
I thought the lack of patrons was both good and bad. Good because for my first fair, I feared I would be overwhelmed by crowds and would lose my bearings or money or some of my inventory in the madness. As such I was grateful for the slow traffic. Bad because, (as I'm sure you've all guessed), the lack of patrons means we didn't sell much. I actually sold 3 items (2 fingerless mitts and a lace scarf), and got 2 custom order requests.
|A customer examining one of the fingerless mitts before purchasing. ©LivedStories|
|The two mitts I sold. ©NiseyKnits|
|The scarf I sold. ©LivedStories|
I have to say a big thank you to my friends Gina C., Claudine F., and LivedStories (with her little baby) who came to keep me company and encourage me during the fair. I was pleasantly surprised and very happy to see them all. And thank you to Zeina Newman, Mary B. and Josie L. These ladies wanted to be there to help but couldn't because of prior engagements.
Stay tuned for the next post, where I'll share where I got the decorative/display items for my stand, so you can also prep for your own craft fair!