Sunday, November 20, 2011

Santa's Craft Castle Wrap Up

I know, I know! Did you forget I even existed? It's been so long since I've been able to post anything. Sorry my friendly bloggy folks. :( I miss you too. But the show is over, and I'm back, and I want to share some pics and my thoughts!

So my first craft show was yesterday. We got up bright and early. Well, it was early anyway - the sun is not out anymore in the morning. Don't you hate that this time of the year? I like it to be shiny & happy when I get up. *sigh* I digress...

We had everything packed up and ready to go the night before so all I had to do was get up, get cleaned, dressed and in the car. Made it to the show only 15 minutes after our assigned time. (Not bad!  Me and early mornings do not mix.) Set up in about an hour (also not bad considering I tweaked my booth design a little bit last minute, and also had no idea if we'd be able to actually hang my banner as we'd not seen the booth spot to see if it'd be possible. But it was! And we did!). And we were ready to go and open for business on time!

Isn't it cute!  (Don't get me started on how I realized, after the show was over, looking at the pictures, that the tablecloths aren't even...geesh!)  But overall - cute, right?? :)

My most wonderful, supportive, awesome helper for the day in the background there. <3
Overall, I learned a lot about the process of craft shows.  I learned how it felt to be in one (I was a nervous wreck for about the first three hours - felt like I was going to be sick...couldn't eat breakfast or lunch - for no reason - I just get really anxious in new environments sometimes.  Wish I didn't, but we all have our problems, right?  But after that - I was totally in the groove.).

I loved getting the feedback from customers.  A LOT of people LOVED the owls.  Almost every single person who stopped, picked up the red guy on the end or the blue guy next to the tree. I heard the words "sooo cute!" and "very different" quite frequently.  I got very good feedback on my products and booth in general.

Alas, and I know a lot of crafters have encountered this problem, I don't think this was the venue for me.  I feel like the crowd was looking for deals.  Or were used to seeing all the other cutsie items that were in the show that had a purpose.  Plush don't have a purpose.  (Do they need to?  I guess with our economy the way it is - trying to be a plush maker right now might not be the best idea...)  A lot of people wondered if they were doorstops.  I had to say many times - "Nope.  They're just for fun and for loving.  If you can get them to hold your door for you too then I guess that's a little bonus!"

And when people asked the prices (I only had one sign with all the pricing on it...) I feel almost all of them were sticker-shocked.  :(  Ugh. Stupid big-box, mass-produced, commercial, made-in-China culture we live in!  I curse you!!!!  Not really.  But it is a bummer.  And a huge hindrance to those of us trying to do what we love and who put so much time into these things... (Crafters! Stop under-selling your work!!!  It just adds to the problem!!) *sigh*

But again, overall, it was a good time.  I ended up really enjoying myself.  I loved talking to the customers and getting real, live feedback.  So many people loved my stuff - it felt really good.  :)  I didn't do badly either.  I mean, I didn't do great - but I did make my booth fees back plus some.  So it wasn't bad for a first show.

Couple of shots of "my view" during the show:

So in summary - nothing fell over, got broken, stolen, I didn't get sick ;) , I made some decent sales, got great feedback, learned a lot and had fun.  :)

But on a personal level, I'm glad it's over because now I feel like I can finally take a breather and actually get into the holiday season.  Lately, I've been so rushed and busy, I haven't had any time for personal "for fun" crafting or felt that "warm fuzzy" that I love so much about this time of year.

And on a business level - I'm now going to be working on getting alllll my plush inventory (as well as some Christmas gift tags and some brooches) into the shop!  (If you see anything in the pictures you like - call dibs now!  Email me or leave a message in the comments and I'll contact you back with if it's still available as well as pricing, shipping, etc.)

I also decided that I'm going to be having a little giveaway for my blog readers to show my appreciation for your patience with me during these last couple weeks. <3  So stay tuned for that!


Celtic Cat said...

Very nice article on your craft show. Your display is great.

Cassandra of Pooknflip said...

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed. :)

Paige (Final Clothes-Out) said...

I just discovered you and your blog today, and your little plushy friends are so cute!

One thing I've learned doing craft shows is to bring a variety of price points with me. Some people who wander through will appreciate the more expensive handmade items for the quality, but others are just looking for an impulse purchase. And believe me, people still get sticker shock about $20 earrings, so it happens to all of us. :-)

tom | tall clover farm said...

Yep I feel your retail pain. Even at the farmers market I attend, folks have no idea what it takes to produce a beautiful, delicious apple, and while they would happily pay $3.50 for a cafe latte, they would balk at that price for a pound of heirloom apples. Good luck!

Cassandra of Pooknflip said...

Welcome, Paige! And that's great advice - thank you! I did, last minute, bring a couple of lower-priced items (some gift tags and brooches - 3/$10 and $10 respectively) and my birdie ornaments are $20 or $18. The birdies did sell best, but a lot of people put them back when I told them the price. I was kinda surprised by that as I think those are very reasonably priced. ($20 for a one of a kind, handmade Christmas ornament...sounds great to me!)

But you're right. And Tom too. A lot (the majority) of people don't have any idea what goes into the work we do. It's a shame because the quality is so much better whether we're talking about heirloom apples, handmade birdies or whatever! I'd take your apples over store-bought ones any day, Tom. :) Thanks for chiming in guys!

Shawna said...

I loved the look of the booth girl.... it turned out wonderful, and the banner is very eye-catching and draws you in!

You're right in that some people come to these things hoping to find "cheap deals", but do not feel like you need to mark your work down... having purchased a couple of your plushies I can honestly say they are worth what you are asking for them. There are those who just have no idea how much work it really is to create beautiful things... but there are people who do understand it and are willing to pay for it... you just need to find the proper venues.

Remember, you're getting out there and giving your company good exposure. You never know when one of those walk-bys may become a future customer.

While we can't all be overnight successes, you have the courage to take a chance with what you love...which is further than a lot of other "crafters" ever get. And kuddos for listening to the feedback you were given at the show instead of ignoring or disregarding it...

Cassandra of Pooknflip said...

Thanks so much for your (always!) smart, thoughtful, helpful comments, Shawna! I always love when you come by b/c you have great input and I value your opinion.

Thanks for saying that - about my work being worth what I'm asking. It was so hard, at the end of the show, not to start discounting or making huge deals on my stuff. (I did make some deals - but I can't justify going crazy pricing stuff down like that!) I'm glad I stuck to my guns on it though. I feel pretty comfortable with where my prices are at - and you're (and everyone else is) totally right about finding the right venue and market. The right customers are out there!

Thank you again for all your kind words, insight and encouragement!