Craft Fair Post Mortem

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

…it was my first craft fair.  I made zero sales but learned many valuable lessons.

Mostly, it boils down to this was the wrong event for me.

#1 Wrong Location — It was nearly 80 degrees out, in November.  No one wanted a wool hat on their head.  They actually brought industrial fans in to keep the air circulating.  It was no where near a cold day.  In a town that barely has cold days ever.  Sometimes I forget that microclimates are a thing and not everyone lives in a fog belt.  Ooops, my bad.

#2 Wrong Price — The event was at a public school and frankly, I have private school prices.  I have zero intention of changing that but I can be more in tune with what a particular crowd is after.  One woman actually asked me to clarify for her, did that tag say $10 or $70?  The tag was obvious.  She was just in disbelief that a knit hat could cost that much.  Again, my bad.  If the idea of a $70 hat was that foreign, clearly, I was in the wrong place.  I need to be in high end places.

But it wasn’t all bad.  It was great as practice.  I learned a lot.  As a scientist (and a knitter!), I really learn by doing.  My next event is going to be much better!  I’ve got location and weather working with me on this one!  The Sunset Holiday Mercantile is in Golden Gate Park — Perfect!

I’ll make a few changes as well, I think I’ll lay the table out differently.  I’m going to change up my signs.  ‘Scarves & Shawls’ will become ‘one of a kind hand knit scarves’.  More emphasis on what’s important–why I feel justified in my prices–and dropping the clutter.  I like shawls.  Other knitters like shawls.  I’ll even bet a couple non-knitters like shawls.  Mostly though, shawls confuse people.  Shawls = Grandma, maybe?  They don’t know how to wear them, maybe?   Whatever the case…it’s a just a big scarf, people!  You like big scarves…Really!  My next sign will reflect that.

And some stupid stuff like–skip the camping chair, bring the folding chair with a smaller footprint.  Duh.  Don’t try packing hangers in a box.  That doesn’t work.

I’m optimistic that my next event will be more financially successful.  In the meantime, I think I need to start giving my sweater some serious thought.  And, I’ve got a whole queue of socks I want.  Enough knitting as work, time for more knitting selfishly!  I’m ready!

 

13 thoughts on “Craft Fair Post Mortem

    1. Honestly, I’m not that shocked at my lack of sales. I’d heard the same thing from others. Until I tried it though, it was just a lot of what ifs. Nothing is perfect the first try. I’m optimistic the next one will be at least mediocre, if not good or super :)

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  1. Sorry it wasn’t a big sales day, but you are right – your prices reflect the work, the materials and your expertise. So now to find the customers who can afford that. I don’t do a lot of craft fairs for that very reason. And I will never forget the proprietor of the little pop up shop I sell in (when it is open) saying to me that she was nervous because I gave her a $150 scarf (Estonian lace in a soft merino lace weight yarn) to sell. Or her shock when it sold to a woman who didn’t blink at the price. I felt vindicated, and now have to find another place where people go who understand what things are worth. :-)

    I hope you can, too.

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    1. And of course, $150 for that scarf was still giving it away! :) I knew going into it, the biggest challenge would be getting people to value my time & experience. I’m not giving up yet!

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      1. No, don’t! Find the true artisan shows, and you will find your demographic. :-) I love that you want $400 for southern skies – it took you FOREVER to knit, and is just gorgeous.

        I agree, $150 doesn’t seem like much, but I live in the rural boonies, and don’t always have access to the right customers. I sell my easier shawls for about $75, and that seems about right in the area. I wish I had an outlet in NYC or Boston, Chicago, San Fran, but I don’t. :-)

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