My first craft show didn’t go as well as I had hoped it would, but I definitely learned a lot that will help me be more successful next time.
Lesson #1: The time of year matters . . . a lot.
I will probably stick to fall and holiday craft shows from now on. People didn’t seem to be interested in buying crocheted accessories in the spring. I got so many compliments on my headbands, and the friend I was sharing a stand with received tons of compliments on his scarves and fingerless gloves, but no one bought any. Most people were walking around with lawn ornaments and other spring-esque purchases. The only things that sold well were my friend’s amugurami octopi (he sold all five!) and flax-filled heating pads. The other problem is that no one is buying gifts right now, which is probably why I overheard a lot of other crafters commenting on lower sales.
Lesson #2: It’s impossible to predict what people will like and/or buy.
I put some things out on the table that I didn’t think were that impressive, just because we had more room than we anticipated. I got some nice compliments on them, but none on some things that I thought were really cool. I think the key is to have a variety of items, and rotate them to see what sells. You never know what will end up drawing someone in.
Lesson #3: Don’t undervalue your items.
I didn’t get to wander around much, but I saw some crocheted items being sold REALLY cheap. I don’t price my items high. In fact, I’ve been told I should up my prices sometimes, but I’d never sell something at or below cost unless I was desperate to get rid of it. When I was researching craft shows and pricing, I found some great posts about this problem with some good advice on how to price items fairly and make a profit.
- Craftsy: Tips for Pricing Your Handmade Goods
- Moogly Blog: 3 Steps to Pricing Crochet for Profit: Guest Post by Sedruola Maruska
- The Crochet Crowd: Changing the Attitude of Craft Shows (Make sure you read the comments on this one! Fantastic advice!)
- The Lavender Chair: All About Pricing Your Crochet Projects
There are plenty more posts out there, but I’ve found these to be most helpful. I think my biggest failing was not really knowing my audience, which is going to be an issue since I’m just getting started.
Lesson #4: Don’t give up!
I think I’d be more discouraged if my goal was to make money. My motivation for doing craft shows and selling my creations is to support my yarn-related obsession, make things that make people happy, and keep my house from being overrun by everything I’ve made. This is my hobby and I never want it to feel like a job, because I’ve talked to so many people who’ve had to take a break from something they used to love for that reason. I’m to the point now that I’ve already made pretty much everything I need or want for myself (except this. I NEED THIS!), but I’m not going to stop crocheting. I just need to keep working at making my future craft show endeavors more successful. I’m the kind of person who learns best from experience, so the fact that my first craft show did not live up to my expectations is probably a good thing, because now I’ll be more focused on improving. I already have a lot of cool ideas to share!