Summer Craft Show Shenanigans #2

by scoobygirlYesterday I set up shop at the Summer Art & Craft Show in Alsip, IL. I filled my table with fabulous product, met my neighbors, and even had time to make a quick Starbuck’s run for some caffeinated happy. Finally it was noon and we were ready for crowds of shoppers to spill into the room. 

(Cue crickets chirping in the corner.)

12:00 – Where are all the people? Relax, it’s still early. They’re probably having lunch then planning to stop by for a little shopping. Right?

1:30 – Maybe since it’s Sunday they’re having a late, leisurely lunch. Then they’ll be here. Yeah, that’s it.

3:00 – Seriously?

4:00 – The show closes in an hour and I’ve sold five cards, four of them to another show vendor. WTF?

It’s generally around this time that I start grasping at straws, trying to find something positive to gain from a less than positive experience. Some call it desperation, I prefer the term optimism.
To-may-to, to-mau-to. Here’s what I came up with.

1. Inspiration: There was a vendor set up in the corner who obviously does much, much, much bigger shows than this. Instead of using a table, she created a mini retail store, complete with a check-out counter. (Wish I remembered to snap a pic.) I spent some time talking with her and walked away with a Venti size cup of ideas, knowledge, and inspiration for my own product.  

2. Contacts: I also spent a lot of time talking to my neighbors, asking their opinion about my set-up and my product. They gave me so many great ideas. One even offered to connect me with a friend of hers who might carry my lines.

3. Mystery man: A professionally dressed gentleman stopped to look at my cards. This is worth noting because I don’t carry anything geared toward men. I explained the product to him and waited for him to walk away the way men usually do. Instead it went like this:
MM: Have you ever considered using a national distributor?
Yes and I’ve also considered making love to Johnny Depp but neither one is happening just yet. 
Me: I would like to but my line is so small that I haven’t been able to make much progress in that direction.
MM: Would you mind if I gave your e-mail to someone who might be interested?
Would you mind if I kissed you on your lips right now?
Me: Not at all. Here’s my card. I look forward to hearing from you.

4. I’m cool: It was 100 degrees outside and I was inside a luxurious, air-conditioned hotel. Ahhhhh.

5. Fun. I had so much frickin fun. The ladies next to me were from a company that schedules sex toy parties. You know, like Pampered Chef or Party Lite but for the bedroom. We laughed so much. There were people there that I had met at previous shows and we had a chance to catch up. And of course, I did a little shopping. That helps make any day better.

Bottom line – I didn’t sell a boat-load of cards but it was still a good day. That’s enough for me. For now.

 

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6 thoughts on “Summer Craft Show Shenanigans #2

  1. I look at events like this in an odd way. I don’t think about how much I will sell at all, I look at how many people I can engage in conversation. I even said at another event, “I’m not here to sell stuff, I’m here to create experiences!” and it totally helps shift me from “What will people buy from me?” to “How will I get to know people better?” Oh, it makes it more fun and then when I sell stuff it is soooo exciting!!

    I am grateful you dropped by my blog last night and commented there. Ooodles of thanks… and hope to get to know you better!

    • What a great perspective! I have a show in August and I’m going to try your approach. Thanks for sharing. BTW, if a Borders store is closing near you make sure you check in for display fixtures. I scored a great tabletop slatwall at mine and painted it out for craft/trade shows. Works great.

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