Well, we've entered the craft show game with a moderate-sized (but satisfying) bang! We just finished our day at HOMEmade MeltDOWN and we're still abuzz with excitement.
It goes without saying that I've been looking forward to the show. The other thing I've been looking forward to, though, is getting to write a "Things I Learned" blog post afterwards! I am aware that approximately every single artisan/ blogger on the planet has written one of these but I was looking forward to adding my two cents regardless.
I thought I'd have 8 million things to say. I thought that we'd forget stuff, things would go wrong, that we'd stumble through the day. Turns out I was wrong! Possibly because I read so many other peoples' "Things I Learned" posts, we had a smooth, pleasant day! That being said, there's still a few lessons we learned (and a few suspicions we confirmed) so here they are, in no particular order:
1) We learned that it's SO WORTH IT it chat up fellow vendors. We made a pile of new friends (including Laura from Mavrick's Emporium, Meaghan of Meaghan's Photography, Charlene of Byrd's Nest Papery, Carol from Shards of Time, Catherine from Kiln Me Softly, the folks from Tealee and Totally Squared and Pamela of Sweet Street Treats). We had a great time conversing with these awesome people and visiting each others' booths. We also learned (and hopefully shared) a pile of information! As an added bonus, we got some gourmet marshmallow s'mores at the end of the day because we couldn't stop gushing to people about how good they are (and because Sweet Street's Pamela is the coolest!).
So, in short, lesson one is: make friends!
2) We learned that it's important to preview the other vendor's wares as much as possible. We commited an accidental faux-pas by bringing a bunch of guitar-pick earrings to give away in the show's "Swag Bags".
We thought these would be a great, relatively cheap way to get our brand noticed. Unfortunately, it turned out that one of the other vendors was selling guitar-pick earrings.
This made us feel.... not very nice. Fortunately, we were able to explain our mistake and the other vendor (the previously mentioned Mavrick's Emporium) was cool about it. Still, as cool as she turned out to be, I feel absolutely awful that we may have cost her some sales. Come to think of it, her turning out to be cool makes me feel worse!
So, rule number two, in short: investigate your fellow vendors and try to respect their turf!
3) We learned that it's vital to stay open right until the end. This is actually one that I have read on several "Things I Learned" posts and I couldn't agree more. Packing up before the end of the show makes those shoppers who are still there feel unwelcome and that's not cool.
Luckily, there weren't many vendors at HOMEmade MeltDOWN who didn't respect this rule. That being said, most (including us!) starting packing up right at 3:00. Fortunately for us, our lack of experience made our pack-up a little slower than others' because it turned out that there were still shoppers and, since we were one of a few tables who still had most of our wares out, they gravitated towards us. We ended up meeting two cool people and making two sales after the close of the show!
Rule number three in short: never mind the time! The show is over when the last shopper leaves!
So there it is: my two cents. All things considered, we couldn't have asked for a more positive first-craft-show experience and we know we have our afore-mentioned new friends, along with the tremendous ladies from Creative Creations (Shannon and Crysanthe) to thank for it!