Alrighty, so I’m all finished with my craft fairs as of last weekend. I decided that no one was going to buy quilts during the spring, so I shifted all my focus to fall shows, undertaking four shows in six weeks. This wouldn’t sound like much to someone who does shows all the time, but as a teacher with two small kids – it’s a lot. My kids were begging me not to go by the 3rd show.
I’ve placed any quilts that haven’t sold up on my Etsy store, so feel free to take a look.
Here’s what I learned as a seller of quilts at shows.
- You can tell within the first two hours what kind of a day you’re going to have. Plenty of people will stop and “oooh” and “ahhh”, but if they aren’t actually looking at the price tags then don’t get your hopes up.
- Gender-neutral or “boy” quilts sell faster. Not sure why. Maybe because many quilts look decidedly “girly”?
- When you sell one quilt the entire show, it’ll be both good and bad. You’ll think, “Yay, I made my booth fee back and then some!” You’ll also realize, “Well, after my booth fee I basically made $40. I sat there for 8+ hours for $40?”
- Commissions are a delayed gratification for doing these shows. So while you may not sell the ready-made stuff, the commissions later on do add up and make it worthwhile.
- People love to share stories of how their family members were also quilters. They’ll tell you all about them while standing in the middle of your booth, blocking other people from seeing in.
- Be sweet to your booth neighbor, especially if you’re in your booth alone. You may need that person to stand between booths so you can run to the bathroom.
- Outside craft fairs are havoc for crafts that involve fabric. I was downwind from a BBQ vendor one show. My quilts smelled like BBQ afterwards. This could be cool for a bit, but in the end it involved me tumbling them in the dryer with dryer sheets in an attempt to get rid of the smell. I’ve heard of other vendors experiencing the same thing with kettle corn booths nearby as well.
- There was also the issue of smokers at outdoor shows. I had folks smoke near my stuff, and one cigarette came within an inch of my personal t-shirt quilt that I use at shows. I panicked. I also had one show begin a fire pit a few feet from my booth, and I finally agreed to move my booth mid-show to another spot. It still didn’t work, and I had to, once again, air out and tumble my product in an attempt to get the smell out.
- Some people can be quite passive aggressive about prices, and it isn’t cute.
- It’s a special feeling when you meet someone who has the same sense of humor and/or interest as you. I loved talking about Dr. Who and Star Wars with folks.
- People seem more inclined to come in and shop around if you’re reading a magazine or book. Maybe there’s less pressure? They don’t feel like they’re being scrutinized?
- There is such a feeling of accomplishment when someone says your quilt is “perfect” for someone they know as they buy it. Gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.
There was also the issue of my role as vendor vs artist, but that’s for another post. Stay tuned.
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