The experience was very rewarding and profitable! To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to make a buck at all. I was just so happy to be a part of this wonderful event, The Baguio Craft Fair 2019. Since it started four years ago, I had been dragging my husband and kids to the event and I had hoped that one day I can be a part of it all.
Since it was my first craft show, I learned some things that I would like to share with everyone planning to join craft shows. These could be useful insights to a newbie like me. Here are Things I Learned From My First Craft Show!
1. Be Prepared.
About 3 months before the event, I’ve made a list of everything that I needed to do. As I accomplished one item, I ticked it off the list. Basically, my list consisted of:
a. Inventory – Items that I would be displaying
b. Things I Would Use – tables, chairs, shelves, tent, duct tape, scissors, business cards, paper bags, change in bills and coins, etc.
Just go on ahead and list down everything that you would be needing and if you have no idea, there are downloadable lists online that some crafters have posted for people who would be joining craft shows. Just customize these lists to fit your situation and your needs. As the event draws nearer, you’ll find that your list becomes shorter and shorter. Don’t get frustrated though, when you’re at the show and find out that you’ve forgotten something. In my case, it was the paper bags. Luckily, most customers brought their own Eco-bags so that wasn’t much of a problem. Plan what you need to bring! It can be tempting to bring everything, but sometimes, it’s more effective to bring just what’s needed. (More about that in number 4! )
2. Don’t Stress.
Preparing for a craft show can be very stressful. My advice: time management! If you need to fill your inventory, make a reasonable schedule that you can follow. Give yourself allowances and never be too hard on yourself. You don’t want to get sick on the day of the show. Don’t rush creating new items, and just stick with the ones that you already have.
Be confident. Don’t feel intimidated when you see all the beautiful crafts. Don’t compare your products with the other vendors’. Like you, everyone has been working hard and you just have to bring your A-game!
3. It Pays To Befriend Other Vendors.
When the day is slow, you can keep busy by fixing your display, doing your craft, fiddling with the radio OR you can chat with your neighbor vendors! And if you brought someone else to man your booth with you, then perhaps, you can have time to go around the venue to check out the other booths. I collect business cards. so in case I’d like to order their products later on, I can always reach them via their email or social networks. From my chats with other vendors, I gained important information about this event and even future craft shows! However, what really made me happier was that I made new friends – people who are also passionate about crafting!
4. Get All The Help You Can.
I realized that participating in a 2-day fair was a very physically exhausting experience! It was partly because we brought so many stuff to the show. Our booth was quite far from the parking area and so we had to carry back and forth a LOT of stuff! After the fair, my hubby, who was my supporter and only companion in all this, got sick. At the fair, I remember looking around and noticing that most vendors brought the minimum, just the essentials. Next time, I will either bring less stuff or bring more people to help us carry all our stuff. Better planning should be put in what to actually bring to the show! It was also a big help that my sister-in-law dropped by to man our booth for a while so my husband and I can grab some lunch and coffee to keep us going all day! I think she sold more than we did!
Some vendors were alone and they needed to get food or go on a bathroom break. If you’re alone, don’t be afraid to ask your neighbor vendor to guard your booth.I had to offer this to one girl because I noticed that she’s never left her booth since morning and it was already around 1pm in the afternoon. It’s ok to ask.
Before the fair, I also asked friends who have done craft shows before for tips that could help me make this event more successful. A good friend told me to take time to chat with people passing by my booth. A friendly and accommodating vendor may help buyers decide whether to make a purchase or not.
5. You’ll Meet Wonderful (And Not-So-Wonderful!) People
Perhaps one of the best things about joining the craft fair was that I got to meet many of my online and local buyers. Some who usually bought from me online even traveled from neighboring provinces just to get a glimpse of our yarns.
I even met new buyers, both locals and tourists, who were also hard core crocheters like me! But while most of the people at the fair were super nice, a few got just a bit cheeky! I think people joining craft shows for the first time need to know about this and they need to be prepared on how to handle these situations.
I found that the best way to deal with audacious comments was to just smile politely and allow them to move on to the next booth. Some will think that your work is worth WAY less that what you’re asking for, or tell you right to your face that they’re probably more skilled than you. One lady, when she arrived at my booth, wanted me to give her my full attention while I was in the middle of a transaction. Fortunately, she moved on to the next booth when she saw I couldn’t grant her wish!
6. Have fun!
You’ve worked hard for months! Now, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Talk to your customers about your products. The people going to your booth are most probably the ones who share the same passion for your craft as you. So don’t hide behind your table or shy away from your prospective buyers. You’ll see that the moment the connection is made between you and a customer, selling your work on a craft show is quite fun after all!
The Baguio Craft Fair is on its 4th year and now that I’ve been part of it, I wish that it happens more often and not just once a year. Being part of something so wonderful is just so fulfilling. Local artists, crafters, small and big businesses have all come together to celebrate beauty, arts, and crafts. I can’t wait for my next craft show!