Friday, August 20, 2004

the shows

So, the two craft shows I participated in this past weekend went grrrrrrreat! Ok, here's a run down, with both "business info' and 'personal info' since there are some that are interested in one, and some in the other, and I suppose some in both!

We drove down to Kingston after work on Friday, getting there around dinner time. We checked in at our lovely B&B that we went to in July, and then went and had a cheap but good meal at a local place. The Festival of the the Islands was on, and we went down to the harbour to take in the sights and sounds. A really good Beatles cover band was playing, so we watched them for a little bit, and then went back to the B&B.

This show started at 10:00am, and last time we didn't arrive until about 9am, and I was still setting up just after 10. This was not good, as a lot of people (probably the same breed of people that go garage sale-ing) like to get to the shows bright and early and buy the best stuff. So, I remembered this, and we got to the park at about 8:30. For those of you who know me, quite a feat indeed. Anyway, I must be a pro or something by now, as it only took about half an hour to set up. I had the same configuration of tables as last time (in the shape of a U). It seemed to work alright, but I felt it could be better. I looked at the booth from afar, and it just looked flat to me. I didn't bother changing it that day though. I had my first sale at 9:45 - some Sassy Kathys! How tickled was I?!! I tried to look all calm and business like, but when the person left the booth, there was some definite up and down airborne activity on the part of my body. My first sale to someone I totally didn't know! And I felt absolutely certain it wasn't someone that my mother had paid to attend the show to buy a few cards (thanks, for asking, though, B-I-L)! After one or two more sales, I was an old pro, and was selling like I did in the "good" ol' days at the mall. You may remember from my last show in July, I thought the stuff I was selling was too out of sync with the type of show it was. I made a few lanterns out of very natural papers, and those seemed to be a real draw for many people. I'll have pictures of them up in the shop soon. It seemed to help, too, that there were more people attending the craft show, probably because of the festival.

Anyway, the day went well, except for the "no-foam" latte we ordered that was just 4 plain shots of espresso in a cup. Needless to say we didn't need many coffee breaks after that!
After the show, we packed up (again: pros - it took us half an hour), and went and checked in at the place we were staying. Later, we went and checked out the park where the craft show would be the next day, and then went and ate at our favourite restaurant in Kingston. We just relaxed, kicked back, had a few 'tinis and wine, and enjoyed a lovely 4 hour meal. We then returned to our ultra-high class accommodations, and had a good sleep!

We woke up bright and early once again, packed up our gear, and got to the Women's Art Festival around 8:15. This show, too, started at 10am, but it was more "democratically" organized, shall we say, than the previous one. There were no reserved spots, you basically picked up your registration package, and then picked a spot on the grass and set up there! The organizers had set up lines behind which you could set up (making room for large aisles for people to wander around in) but other than that, it was a bit of a free for all! It was pretty fun though. As a first time participant, the entry fees were waived (they aren't that much to begin with), but you had to donate 20 percent of your earnings to the festival. The organizers would then give it to various local charities they had selected.

I changed my display on Sunday. Instead of a U-shape, and I had my two big tables (which are awesome, since the top folds as well as the legs, therefore fitting in my little station wagon) in the middle of the booth, to create an island. I then used the various-sized containers that I put my stuff in, as risers, under the cloth. This allowed for several different heights for various items. I had the lanterns on top, some books on the medium shelf, and then more books at table level. Pictures of the booth at the Sunday show are here. I think this set-up was MUCH better than the other one. It allowed people to come into the booth from any of the three facing sides, and for those people that are feeling like they don't want to go too far into the booth, for fear of being accosted by the owner, it allows a comfortable space, although people are certainly close enough to greet. I was SO tired by the end of Sunday (as you can tell by the picture), but it all went well.

All in all, I made way more money this past weekend than I did at the other show, learned some more things, and had a great time doing it all! One of the main things I learned was about pricing. I have always felt that the prices I gave to my items were extremely fair - for the cost of supplies, and the time I put into them. The thing is, I've now realized I must take into consideration what people will actually PAY for items. I am new at this, and I DO take a long time to make my items, as I haven't got the hang of all the short-cuts I could be taking. I can't expect people to pay me for 4 hours of work when things "should" be taking less time. They will eventually take less time, once I set up some jigs, or out-source some of the work (like basic paper-cutting), but for now, I'll have to realize I cannot charge so much for my items, as people won't buy them at the price they were at. SOOOOOO.... what I'm saying is that I've SLASHED my prices! It's like Christmas in August! It's an amazing deal! And all the other schmucky things that people say on tv. Anyway, yes, I've lowered my prices by various amounts, so check out the store to see if there is something you'd like to snap up!

On another note, I'd like to give a shout out to Kristi at Kriss Kross Designs for the two beautiful necklaces I bought and recently got in the mail from her, and to Alicia at Posie for the stunning handbag that arrived last week. I'm SO in love with all of it! I heart the Internet :)

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