Friday, November 18, 2011

We Learn as We Go...

Sunday was the day of the holiday boutique where I went to try my hand at selling in a public venue and it was quite an experience...

My table of vintage goods...and a few handmade ones too!

I had some hopes that I might make some money at this event. Sadly, I did not make as much as I'd hoped for...

My grandmother's coat and her I know where my hat-wearing gene comes from!

I can say that I learned a few things at this event and here is what I learned:

Know Your Target Audience:
I began to see pretty early on that selling vintage goods was not the best idea for this particular crowd. It was mostly older women looking for gifts for their grandchildren. If I had worked on making some dolls or soft toys, I have no doubt they would have sold immediately since there was a vendor selling soft toys, though they were factory made...

Grandma Betty's tea cups, red glass, carving set and cook books...

I also began to see that many of my handmade goods, such as my hand-bound art books and affirmation cards, was not something this crowd was really interested in and believe me, I made an attempt to sell my affirmation cards which was met with "I'm looking for a gift nicer than that". I'd had an email list prepared for sign-ups, but I could see that it might not be necessary, but at least I was prepared with a sign-up list!

The Entrance Fee Theory:
There is a theory that the amount you pay for your table at a craft fair/event will dictate what you make at the end of the day. I think they might be right on this one, but it's still early to tell. I got a table for $25 and I will make just over $80 after the organization takes their commission of 20% for their fundraiser. I'm not sure if that is a good ratio or not, but I'm happy to have made SOME pocket change!

On Doing it Alone:
I went to this event by myself and loaded everything into my car myself. I called my dear boyfriend during the day to check in and see if I might need his help to reload at the end of the day, especially since we had to be out in exactly one hour! A friend who participated in this event offered to help me but I only asked her to help me with one of the boxes to get a start on the reloading since I had to figure out how to configure it all back into my car and really, I was the only person who could do that knowing my car and its dimensions...I thought of taking a picture of my crammed little car but I was too tired!

Fragile yet heavy glass that had to be re-packed to head home...

If I was selling only handmade goods, which are pretty small and lightweight, this would not be a big deal, but selling the vintage items, which were mostly fragile and had to be repacked to avoid damage, was tiring and time-consuming and eventually made my lower back ache for the rest of the evening! Though I did have my dear boyfriend to help me unload it all when I got home, I'll definitely think twice before selling vintage goods again!
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In the end, I can say that it was a fun day since my friend had a table next to mine and we were at an event that was helping out our other friends, what with the event being a fundraiser for their charity organization. It gave me a chance to brush up on some rusty retail skills and I got to engage with lots of people, something I enjoy doing. I had a story about my grandmother's things and the crafty skills she bestowed on me and many people enjoyed that.

Knowing what I know, I just might do this event again, but I'll be sure to have lots of soft toys with me! ;)

Who could resist a soft bunny like this?!?


Kathryn Hansen said...

fairs are definitely a learning experience!! Your vintage wares would do great at the Pasadena City college market once a should check it out!

humel said...

I'm sorry you didn't get a better return for your time and effort, but good for you turning it into such a positive experience and opportunity to learn :)

SueAnn said...

Such beautiful vintage items! Sorry the crowd wasn't in to them!