As the Hubs and I set up our table, it became clear that ours was definitely a different kind of craft compared to the other booths in the "boutique." One lady sold her old house plants in white ceramic "Best Mom" mugs. Other tables titled "Collectibles," had nothing more than garage sale items. Others had soccer-printed fleece dog blankets. I approached a little old lady at her table to see that she was also selling jewelry. "This is stuff left over from when I sold Avon jewelry in the 70's!" she said proudly. Next to it were several Mudd and Jordache jeans re-cut into purses with glitter puffy paint around the seams. "Now, don't worry about not being able to fit into those, honey!" she said to me as I began to walk on. "They are one-size-fits-all, cause they are purses! I fooled ya, didn't I?" (my table was a bit too small for all that I had ready to show - reminded me of living in a dorm again!)Clearly I was in the wrong market. But we kept our spirits high and sat between the wall and our table as we watched lots of women in retirement walk in. And leave. A few friends from church happened to stop by and were a good distraction to the hours that seemed to lurk on and on. One hour, then two hours, then three hours passed with no sales. Elderly women would come by the booth and say how pretty things were and continue on to the kitchen (they also had a big soup-and-cornbread lunch at the event, which seemed to be more of an attraction than the "boutique" itself!), while elderly men wouldn't even both looking at all. Surely some of these people have grandkids, right? (I thought these "Holy Spirit Dove" necklaces with amathyst and garnet would be a bit at the church event. Not so much!) With only an hour left of the show and zero sales to boot, I was in quite the funk. While the Hubs was pretty optimistic at first, even he was beginning to think we should just pack up our things and peace out. A little seven-year-old gal wondered away from her mom and came up to our booth with her eye fixed on a Ballerina necklace and earring set I had made. She loved it and rushed to her mom for money. A few minutes later, this little gal came back with $20 - my first sale of the day! To a seven-year-old! This little gal became my saving grace - she rushed over to her little cousin who loved my emerald colored items and thus begged her mom to buy a few pairs of (very) dangley earrings. The mom then returned and had me sneak her a few more pairs for her daughter for Christmas before the lil' gal was on to her. Then the mom's sister came over to the booth and bought some thing, followed by someone else who haggled for me to reduce a price (which, by that time, I was more than happy to to!). Finally, a fellow crafter bought several items for some of her friends. Next thing I knew, I had made several sales (though none were over $10 with the exception of one $12 necklace... telling?). After 6 hours of this it was finally time to close up shop. With my $100 goal in mind, I added my sales up, subtracted the 15% I had to give to the function, in addition to subtracting the $16 worth of items I donated for the event's raffle. The total income (not considering how much it cost to make the items, just the amount of money I took home)? $101. Hilarious. Lessons learned? Just because I CAN do a show doesn't mean I should. Certain venues and crowds might not be interested in what I have to sell, and that's OK. And just because those around me are selling their items for pennies, I should not by default lesson the prices on my items (peer pressure sucks!). Patience! Oh, and a seven-year-old can be your best source of sales - and advertising! Anyone else have any other craft-shows-gone-weird stories to share? Please? :)
November 12, 2009
My first Church Christmas "Boutique" Show
After the success of my first (and so far only) jewelry party, I was ambitious and ready to take on more events! After being invited to 2 school/church shows for the first week of December, I started to think that perhaps such "craft boutique" shows would be a great way to boost my sales this and next month. While browsing through my church's monthly newsletter, I saw an advertisement for another Lutheran church's upcoming "Christmas Craft Boutique" to be held last weekend. I thought about it for a moment, and figured, what could I lose? I already have all the items, tagged and ready to go. I am not doing anything else the Saturday of the show. It would only cost me 15% of my profits for the day to rent a table, and even that money goes to the church's attempt at building a new roof. Sure, sign me up. Now, to be fair, I had a feeling going into this that it could be a COMPLETE HIT OR MISS. We are talking church craft show here. The first thing that comes to my mind is doilies and Raggedy Ann dolls. Were these ladies ready for Bead Up? The Hubs and I got up early on Saturday morning and loaded up the car with all the jewelry holders, signs, gift wrap, and tags that I had used at the jewelry party a few weeks ago. I told him as we drove to this church in a seedy neighborhood, "We could totally not make a single sale today, you do know that, right?" While I kept that in the back of my head under the mentality "Think negatively and you will be positively surprised," I also said to the Hubs that I would be entirely satisfied if I made $100, since I had just the day before sent in a check for the same amount to one of the two larger Christmas shows I am doing the first week of December (that way I also didn't have to cross contaminate my personal checking account, from which I wrote the check, and my Bead Up PayPal account, which I am using now solely on a black, not red, basis, and plan to keep it that way!). I of course would have liked to have made more than $100, but the way I saw it, even $100 was $100 more than I had when I woke up that morning. (can you see the look of enthusiasm in the Hubs' face?) We arrived at the church to find a small table waiting for me in the corner of a very tired fellowship hall. As I walked in, the coordinator of the event told me she placed me next to someone she thought I would know since she attend the same church as I do... turns out it was the grandparents of several of the kids in my youth group! The wife had several dozen of her (lovely, and very low priced) quilts on display and her husband was there to help him out. Having them next to us turned out to be a blessing in disguise as my poor Hubs needed the company and had really missed seeing this couple around church!