Yesterday I attended my first craft fair; it was in nearby Lincoln Park, NJ. I had been put on the waiting list and only discovered five days previously that there was space for me. Thus a hurry up and prepare week ensued. Fortunately my brother had started making a card stand, but he was focusing on a fair on November 15th. Construction and sanding and protecting started occurring morning, noon and night. I think it came out really well but Martin wants to put another coat on it – however we needed to give a couple of days of drying time so that the cards wouldn’t stick!
Next I ordered some business cards and then needed a holder. Martin whipped one up out of a piece of cherry in about ten minutes flat on Wednesday and it was waxed and tested on the business cards when they arrived on Thursday. I realised, as I was driving to work on Thursday, that I needed some little holders to hold my price list cards. By the time I got home from a dinner and drinks leaving do with the girls from work, he’d produced a dozen little blocks – still rough and ready and waiting for my approval before finishing them. I think that they are perfect! I am so fortunate to have such a handy brother as well as a basement full of tools and scraps of wood!
Whilst all the construction was going on, I was making little pyramid treat/gift boxes and gift card holders and wondering how to display my boxes. I finally remembered a cake stand which, when covered with a black napkin, would match the rest of the table. So here is what my display finally looked like:
I didn’t test it out the night before because there wasn’t time and there wasn’t much I could do about any issues at that point. So I decided to wing it. After I’d put my cards on the display- selecting the ones that had many multiples – I used some of the blocks to display some of the one off cards. I then put the boxes on their pedestal; in retrospect they should have been closer to the front of the table since some people’s eyes didn’t even get to them. I spread out the gift card holders and, after adding the blocks with prices and raffle announcement, just had room for a line of cards. I had previously been worried about filling the table but in the end, there wasn’t much space! Martin’s already working on the design of something to hold the gift card holders and more of the one off cards.
The show started and I’d like to say that people flooded in. But they didn’t. In fact, I don’t think we saw anyone who wasn’t another vendor for about half an hour. I thought that I had been put in a good spot – people had to go past me to get to the lunch area but I didn’t sell anything until just after 11. I know the time because I texted my brother! Not only did I sell 2 cards, I sold one of his wooden blocks; the lady mistakenly thought that they were for sale and asked to buy one so that she could display my card because she thought it was too good to send. I was happy to sell her a block under those circumstances!
The vendors around me weren’t happy – two of them were new to this show and were trying to find out if this level of traffic was normal. I was fortunate to be next to Meg who was experienced at craft fairs. She gave me tips and even jumped in and gave people ideas for using the treat boxes (hang on the tree or stuff money or a gift certificate inside) and when I’d sold four of them to one customer, whipped out a plastic bag to put them in. Thanks Meg.
The boxes were to my third customer, the second bought a congratulations card. I was fearing that I was going to make a loss when my final customer appeared around 3pm and bought 5 cards and two gift card holders.
So not a roaring success, but I made back the cost of my table plus a little extra and I’m guessing that there was a maximum of 40 people coming through. It was an absolutely gorgeous day here in NJ – sunny, 68 degrees and I assume that this cut down on the attendees. The slow pace definitely was a better introduction to a craft fair than a really busy one so all in all I think it was best this way.