back to life...in the cloud

Fresh from my first craft fair, I wanted to share a few images and thoughts.  I've been hesitant to participate in craft fairs until now primarily because, taking custom orders exclusively online until now, inventory has always been a bit of an issue.  But I hunkered down this past week and produced enough Android phone cases and paper goodies to fill out the smallish table I was given. 

There was a lot of editing throughout this last week of preparation - I went from nearly a dozen or so items to focusing primarily on the phone cases, a few Mother's Cookies items, and a couple of other note card sets ready to sell. 

I incorporated a few tips I picked up from a number of different craft fair checklists, including the height variations in my display, the free and edible offering of actual Mother's Cookies Circus Animals, and bringing my craft with me to work on during the six hours of the fair, something that didn't really work out too well in the end.  With the presence of the Mother's Cookies goodies, both edible and easy on the waistline, I decided to go with a pastry shop inspired display, using a silver charger and a couple of different cake stands.  While I liked how these worked visually and for display purposes, they weren't that practical when visitors wanted to peruse, for example, the 65 or so different chick flick notecards I had to offer yesterday.  Additionally, the phone cases, displayed more or less flat, sort of disappeared, prompting the venue's owner and organizer to offer me a little decorative suitcase to use to sort of prop them up.  I actually had an entirely different idea for displaying these that I didn't get around to but will definitely get together for my next event in a few weeks.

I used the elements of my Etsy shop banner for my table sign and thought, how clever would it be to carry this over into my individual product displays using an actual Dymo embossed label maker?  Clever, perhaps, but again, not so practical since the signs proved a bit hard to read.  I think I'll do something similar to my sign name, only smaller, next time around.

Other thoughts...While I'm still looking forward to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire later this month, I'm just not sure the craft fair/sale is for me.  For starters, it feels too close to my experiences in retail, experiences I'm not particularly fond of reliving.  Not to be all complain-y, but it's exhausting having to stand for hours on end with little or no break and repeatedly explain and pitch your products. Much easier to put it on the Internets and let the customers come to me.  Which brings me to the conclusion that the Android phone cases, targeting a niche market as they do, perhaps just fare better online.  Very few people recognized the logo, let alone carried an Android smart phone.  The one guy who did happened to be an employee of Google.  The only phone case I sold yesterday I sold to a woman with a Blackberry.  I explained the nature of the product and offered her my card with my Etsy shop info if she'd prefer a custom order.  I felt a little guilty but she insisted and seemed pleased with her purchase so who am I to argue?

Also, initially I thought, well, it won't be too tedious.  I oughtta be able to crank out several phone cases while I sit there for six hours, understanding of course that I'd experience, with any luck, frequent interruptions to interact with customers and hopefully sell some product.  But I was discouraged from sitting and crafting and I totally get it. I'm just not sure I like it or have it in me to do it too often, let alone monthly or sometimes weekly as some of these hardcore crafters do.

On a positive note, it was a really welcome change to interact with other crafty folks and supporters. One surprising hit were the chick flick notecards, the day's biggest seller (that's not saying much but still), and quite the conversation piece.  And of course, I learned a bunch and I'm hoping the event will prove to be a useful trial run for the Maker Faire coming up.  I'm also hoping to capitalize on the slightly more, er, geeky audience sure to attend.

No comments: