Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Selling at my first local craft fair.

A few weeks ago, I received a message on etsy from a lovely woman who was looking for vendors to sell at a farmer's market / craft fair at Brown University's Staff Development Day. I've been selling my crafts on etsy and at wizard rock events for a few years now, but I was very excited to finally try my hand at setting up a booth at a local market! While I definitely gather inspiration from the Harry Potter books, I've worked hard to keep my designs universally enjoyable and I was looking forward to seeing how they do without the context of a Harry Potter fan event.

Before we left, I set up my table at home to make sure that I had all of the display pieces I needed. I made some new price tags out of little wooden shapes and chalkboard paint, and I made a fabric banner with my logo on it to hang up on the tent. In a future post, I'll share more details about how I made the banner!

We got there nice and early yesterday morning to set up on Wriston quad on the Brown campus. Luckily, our friends Kate and Josh let us borrow their tent and one of the other vendors helped us to put it together! That's the first thing I learned right away... people are so friendly and helpful at events like this!

Everything came together quickly and we had an hour or so to relax before the market started. I used my vintage yellow suitcase and some colorful, plain shoebox tops to hold my plushies upright. At my last event (MISTI-Con in New Hampshire), a lot of people were asking what the different animals were, so I added the animal names to each of the little price signs to help.

This little square card table turned out to be the perfect size for what I needed to display my current lineup of work, which was lucky. Maybe someday, I'll have enough designs to sell that I'll need to get a more traditional table for craft fairs. And a tablecloth.

The weather was beautiful, but it was pretty windy. I remembered to bring some masking tape with me, so I was able to tape down some of my display and that helped to keep my items from blowing away. The one thing I wished I'd thought to bring was some sort of sweater or jacket. It had been so hot outside the week before, and I assumed that I'd be overheated. Because of the wind and the shade of the tent we borrowed, I was freezing after my first hour of being outside. I'll be more prepared next time and bring some options to wear since it's tough to predict that sort of thing!

Also, a nearby vendor warned me that I should use stakes to keep our tent in the ground next time, and luckily the strong wind didn't send it flying across the quad during the market. Eventually, when I'm financially able to invest in a tent of our own, I'll definitely remember to pick up a few stakes and a hammer as well.

The market itself turned out to be great! We were placed right next to the building where they were having lunch for the Brown University staff, so quite a lot of people stopped by on their way to and from their meal. I'm always so happy and proud of my work when people have nice things to say about it at events like these. Even the people who didn't buy something seemed to really like the plushies and many of them took business cards so they could check out my etsy shop later. One person who walked by described them as "#adorbs".

I did have one odd conversation with a person who seemed very convinced that I would be much more successful if I made other objects (specifically finger puppets and nursing covers for women with babies?). Even though that was strange and a little bit confusing, I think I handled it well by smiling and politely thanking her for the advice. Luckily, you guys seem to like what I've chosen to make and I've done well enough to be able to continue.

Here I am, sitting with my little Fairweather Friends booth!

By the end of the little fair, I had sold a bunch of plushies and chatted with lots of smiling people! I would consider it a success, especially because of the opportunity the market gave me to put my name out there and spread the word about my business in our local community. I think it was a great start and I'm looking forward to selling in Providence, RI again sometime!

All of the items in the photos above are currently available in my etsy shop, Fairweather Friends, including the foxes and bears (which had been sold out for a little while!).

1 comment:

  1. Look at you in your adorable dress with your adorable little critters. I am not surprised to hear it was a success; I just love my little owl! <3