I participated in a small craft fair today, which I’ll call a marketing test. It was a small show at my local YMCA, with a booth fee of just $25. Foot traffic was minimal as there was not a great deal of advertising. The best part of attending, I found, was meeting other crafters and talking about our creativity. There were many other first-timers there, so the camaraderie was nice.
I traded this brown rose bag with a fellow crafter for a beautiful beaded silver necklace and earrings. You can see an example of my hangtag on the bag. I opted to use simple handwritten cardstock tags. At Target, I picked up a two-pack of punches that included both the circle and butterfly punches. It turned out to be an easy and inexpensive way to make tags.
My product inventory was not quite as planned because my machine kept failing in the weeks before the show, with major tension issues and loopy stitches on the underside of the fabric. After trying everything – new needle, rethreading, adjusting tension, rethreading bobbin, etc.-I gave up (last night at 2 AM…arghhhh) It may be time to browse for a new machine 🙂
I was really discouraged to have such a small product offering (and a lot of unfinished items at home), but felt better after I saw the foot traffic at the fair. It is all a learning experience. I took a few of my larger totes and shoulder bags, kid-sized pocket totes, zipper pouches and two pennant banners. The larger totes got attention and compliments, but most people were not looking to spend much. Next time, I might make a less labor-intensive tote still using the bright, designer fabrics, that I can offer at a reasonable price. I took notes of items that people requested.
Here is my little display. This fair was small, so no one had large constructed booths, just tables. I spent a minimal amount, purchasing only the tablecloth and rack for the small totes. The other items are from my home. The larger totes are resting against two basket cubes from IKEA that I use in my sewing room bookcase. I turned them on the side, so the front side could prop the bags and the backside could hold my supplies (bags, blackberry, pens) out of sight. You’ll never guess what I used to hang the kid totes….a free-standing toilet paper rack (Target again…and used specifically for this purchase…never placed in my bathroom!!). It worked great!
My super-crafty cousin purchased this tote along with a small zipper pouch for my first sale. Unfortunately in the stress of trying to finish product and fiddling with the machine, I didn’t take any proper pictures once my new bags were finished. This is the first more complex bag that I have designed start to finish. The side panels and bottom exterior pockets with binding trim wrap around the sides of the bag. Inside I added a panel of pockets on each side and a key fob. I will definitely make more of these.
All in all, attending the fair was a good (learning) experience. Truthfully, I am relieved it is over and am ready to catch up on my sleep!! Talking with the other crafters has me energized to keep sewing and being creative.