Monday, April 20, 2009

First Show of the Year

For several years now, I've started my craft show year with a two day fair called the Tulip Festival. It's the only outdoor show that I do and that's because they provide space in two large circus style tents so exposure to the weather is minimal. Rain and wind are not kind to my craft and Kansas springtime weather can have plenty of both. This year was no exception. Saturday dawned cloudy and damp keeping traffic to only a few brave souls. The sun finally made an appearance after lunch and brought the crowd with it, but it was too little, too late to make for a very profitable day. It's also rained in the area for most of the preceding week so even in the tents, the ground was wet and muddy. Sunday remained cloudy and the wind decided to get in the act too. Here it was the middle of April and a lot of us were running around in winter jackets! Sunday has traditionally been the slower of the two days and again, no surprises there. It wound up that I only sold about a third of what I did last year. I don't know if it was the weather, the economy, a combination of both, or if I just didn't have what the buyers were looking for this year. Craft shows can be so iffy, but I do enjoy interacting with customers and the other vendors.
I decided to take some shots of my set up this weekend. Unfortuneately, craft show spaces are never the same. They're never the same length and width. Sometimes you get lucky and snag a corner or an end space, enabling you to use both sides of a gridwall. Sometimes you get wedged into a center space. A lot of the time you don't know your location until you get there. My space set up has been a continual evolution for years now. I keep trying to make it better, more inviting, more efficient. A couple years back I happened on an old bakery rack at a yard sale and now use it to display floral arrangements. Since it has four sides, it took the place of two shelving units. My jewelry display has grown from laying things on tables to hanging them with corsage pins from a foamcore board to hanging them by handmade hang tags on gridwall. Until this show, I also used collapsible shelving for bracelets and earrings. I decided to try something different with the gridwall and ordered bracelet bars, waterfall hooks and shelves that all hang from the gridwall. I rather like the way that part of the display turned out. Hopefully, next time I will remember to purchase two spaces instead of just one and will be able to spread out my floral work a bit more. I like to create a shop-like atmosphere in my space but this time I made a mistake on my application and had to crowd things more than I like. Thank goodness, my partner didn't need all of his space and gave me about four feet of craft show real estate.
My goal is to get my display to the point where no matter what the configuration of the space, set up will be standardized. And of course, to always have in stock whatever it is the consumer is wanting on that particular day.


Marlaine said...

Wow...awesome! You have a lot of stock! At least it looks that way!

BeadsForever said...

Your display looks great! Thanks for sharing about how it came to be. Great rummage sale find!

Dawn N said...

Your setup looks great. I can't imagine having that much inventory.