My first craft fair experience

concretenprimroses(4B NH)August 28, 2011

It was a beautiful beautiful day which was very lucky considering that we are getting the hurricane today.

To start with the bottom line: I sold $364 worth of stuff. Including 22 plate flowers, 1 teapot totem, and 6 or 7 rebar-pole combos. One plate flower was stolen, which was very disheartening because it happened before I sold anything. My friend and I split the booth cost so we each paid $30.

I was still setting up when the fair started, so I forgot to take pictures until the afternoon when our very attractive booth was looking a little tired and a lot of product was gone so I'd taken down some of the displays. Its too bad because it was really pretty at first. People stopped and commented on how nice it looked even tho they weren't interested in our products. It wasn't hard to be distinctive, cuz most of the other booths just had tables with stuff laid on them. There was a lot of diversity among the crafts and very few repeats (except jewelry)so it was a very good fair for shopping.

Somehow we lucked out and got a perfect spot. On a corner so we had two exposed sides right next to the crosswalk to the library book sale. The pics below are less than an hour before closing unfortunately. I set up with a friend who makes gorgeous purses and pillows out of antique bark cloth.

Her things were a little bit upscale for this fair but in addition to the little purse that I bought to carry to 2 weddings next month, she sold 3 others plus 1 pillow. So she was happy to sell anything cuz it was a test. One woman who really loved her things and bought a purse, suggested a fair that she thought would work better for her which was very encouraging. Our stuff looked awesome together even tho it was so different.

I got lots of good comments. First the crafters came and I could see they were thinking "I can make that" but I got lots of praise. I didn't tell people how I made them. But if another crafter asked because they needed a glue that would last outside for their product, I offered them my card and said they could email me, but that I didn't want to discuss it in the context of selling. Very few took me up on it. Toward lunch time, I started selling. Many times a person (woman) walking by would stop and look at the little trellis with plate flowers that I had out front in pleased amazement. Thanks to the helpful comments I had a picture of them in my garden with a description right at eye level on the trellis. We were set up in such a way that it was easy to walk right in.

So here are the end of the sale pics. I so wish I'd taken some earlier. The metal milk crate that has wrapping materials in the pic, was upside down with plate flowers hanging on it at the beginning, and I had another small trellis with flowers on the table as well. Sigh.

We anchored the corner with Katie's awesome big trellis covered with her bags, then my pot of flowers with 2 plate flowers at the back corner. I say back, but it is the first thing people saw who were passing by from the library.

Here is my small trellis, description and sign. The small trellis was covered with plate flowers at the beginning. This is where the stolen one was. A friend suggested the name Endless Summer and the little flower logo. I made the signs with my cutting machine at work and with some silver vinyl I bought by mistake.

I spray painted my old metal chair turquoise (it had been white and holding a plant in the garden.) It had 6 plate flowers on it at the height of the sale. Next to it was a small trellis with plate flowers, and the milk crate had plate flowers. The concrete pieces I brought to hold the table cloth and stablize the display pieces.

Thanks for looking, and for all the helpful suggestions. I was totally exhausted when i got home. Lots to load and unload and carry. And all those hours standing up and pretending to be friendly, lol. (I am friendly, just in a more quiet introvert way. I really put myself out there.) Then as soon as I got home, I had to pick up in the yard for the storm. I fell asleep on the couch with my little dog. I think I'd do it again. It was fun though very tiring. Hopefully it will be easier next time. I'd like to do one that was 10 to 2 instead of 9 to 3.

I'll post what I learned later in this thread once I've thought about it some more.


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Thanks for sharing all your info! I was very curious how it went. Don't you just hate the sly ones that walk off? Had that happen once at a craft show run by a friend of mine. You were fortunate to get your sale in before the rain and winds. I pulled lots of glass totems and pots into my glasshouse before the storm came. At least we finally located the small leak in the glasshouse so we can fix it after everything dries up :)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 2:04PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Thanks for the great report. Congratulations on selling so much. It's terrible that someone would steal. Something to look out for at the next one.

Glad it went well for you and that you plan to keep on going.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 2:31PM
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I bet you are exhausted !!!! Craft fairs are alot of work . I bet you're on cloud 9 ... I think those sales were fantastic ! You're booth was so professional looking , I would never had guessed it was your first fair. The plate flower standing in the plant is what caught my eye . It actually shows people how it will look & what to do with it. Very Very Very nice !!! I'm happy for you !! GOT THE CRAFT FAIR BUG NOW ???? LOL

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 3:38PM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

Yeah, I would approach people who were clearly curious with my sample rather plain plate flower to show them the spoon backing and talk about how you can hang it on a trellis or fence, then I would say I prefer them in the garden myself and point at the big flower pot. I'm so glad I brought it.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I think I did them all. Lots of people asked for business cards which I had made with a special email (flowers.endlessummer etc.) which goes to my regular email box. Thank goodness nothing broke. A very small child did run up and grab a flower that was low on the trellis but it was secured to the ground with stakes and I had a piece of cement on the bottom.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 3:57PM
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Marlene Kindred

I'm tired just reading about all of the work you did and the day you had! REALLY happy for you that you made some're plate flowers and other creations are lovely! Love your friend's purses and pillows too. Glad you had a pretty day and I hope that you will get through the hurricane without much damage as well!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 4:04PM
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Kathy...Congratulations on a great sale! You did wonderfully well for a first time. I know it is tiring but you still do it all over again. I thought about you when the hurricane was coming and I am glad you got it in before the storm hit. Thanks for sharing your experience and your pictures. Your friend's purses look really pretty. It was nice of a customer to tell her about another fair for her purses. You meet some really good people at the craft fairs.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 4:22PM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

What I learned (in addition to following all the great advice I got in an earlier thread):

Red glass goes! The 3 plate flowers with red back plates sold very early on. And an expensive clear glass one ($18 - my top price) that had 4 large red crystal beads and several dark cobalt blue globs sold as well. (btw I don't use red glass globs as they are dyed not really red and lose color over time)

My price range of $12 to $18 was good for this fair (I also had 2 that were only $10, 1 of which sold). People seemed to pick their favorite one without too much attention to the price. If I did a more expensive fair, I might raise the prices a bit.

All the ones with centers that looked like "real" flowers sold, except the acrylic chrisanthemum. The little plates from toomuchglass and some other small plates shaped like flowers that I had picked up are worth looking for. Also the one glass flower center.

Gold glass and medium green were not popular. I didn't have any dark green but I suspect it would have done better. The one blue plate also had a blue "real flower" center, so in that case it was the total package.

All types sold so it is good I had a variety, even tho I might concentrate more on the colors and styles I mention above in the future.

Bring a lot more than you think you will sell. As my inventory dropped so did my sales. I displayed all 37 pf's at once. I should have had more to replenish/fill the spaces, and I think I might have kept selling. I think I'd bring more totems next time because they would keep it interesting even if they didn't sell they would attract buyers in.

I didn't think about covering the back side of the table and booth so I had to split the difference and didn't get quite the look I wanted. Even tho shoppers were not walking by it, the back of the booth was visible from the street and people approaching on the cross walk. I will bring extra table cloths to make sure I can cover everything if necessary.

Even a folding tv table in back of the display to wrap the flowers on would have been helpful so I could wrap and bag the flowers standing up and keeping an eye on things.

I wouldn't want to do this alone

I forgot to get change on the day before the sale. Fortunately I remembered in the evening and the manager of restaurant where I am well known gave me some small bills for a check.

I had an old very heavy 6 foot table. I was jealous of those light ones that other people have. But as I think about it, I realize that it would be hard to tip my table over. I had a lot of breakable stuff on it. I think I should probably keep using it even tho I can barely carry it by myself.

My question: If I set up in a wealthier town, maybe with my friend with the bags again, should I raise my prices a little? I'm thinking may be $15 to $20. Easy to make change.

I don't understand prices like $17.50. who wants to keep track of all those quarters? That was the price of some rather nice silver ware wind chimes. I liked her booth too.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your help.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 7:17PM
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Way to go!!!!!! Love your booth glad you did good .

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 9:08PM
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Kathy, Great sale! Your booth area looks good! Yes, get a couple of plain colored sheets(so the plates show up best-experiment on which color looks best behind them-for example jewelry is best displayed on black or dark blue velvet)white might look best or lt. blue etc. Haven't made any plate florals so can't say), to cover your table from a TS, that way you can have extras underneath & hide stuff you brought ,the plates & holders & your lunch & purse or whatever(have empty boxes under opposite side of table so if you are busy & someone pulls 1 out from under that side it will be empty & you won't get anything taken). I think the purses were great with the plates & totems, floral & bright & useful looking & fun! Nice job! Don't think that people will always buy same colors tho. But cobalt blue & red are always stunning. Greens people are thinking might not show up in green yard so use white & another color with it like yellow or pink. Glad you are OK from storm! Jan

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 9:24PM
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Congrats on your sales. Sounds like you had a good time and got some good info and ideas for next time. Display of your flowers looked really nice.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:09PM
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I am very impressed, crete! Think you did an AWESOME craft fair! & you are so smart combining your booth w/quality & unique items that your friend makes, too!

I think your prices are very, very reasonable & if you're going to a more upscale place, $15 -$20 sounds fair. Love your unique ways of displaying your wares & also having one in the potted plant!

Congrats...yes, loading & unloading, is hard work...I agree...DH & I do that w/barnwood birdhouses, benches plus...we gave up on our heavy tables & have purchased the lightwt ones (well worth it for your back!) ...& they are very I think you'd be ok w/your cement items you brought for weighing down. (our's are 8' tables).

Anyway, great news! good sales! TFS! Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 10:58PM
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My only suggestion is bring another person, even a teenager if they are not in school to help out. Even if she does nothing else but help set up and walk around watching people. Maybe an older (NOT too old) would be better. If you watch garage sales in the area, you might even see it. Try to work out some way of marking your items so if this happens again, and you find it, you can say--oh this is my trade mark. I wonder where it went--or I thought I lost this piece to sell.
Just my opinion

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 6:36PM
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jwahlton(9B Kisimee)

I've got 2 shows scheduled in Novemeber and December. Here in Florida, that's a good time to do a show. I've done many over the years, selling soaps and other things. So I'm very familiar with craft shows. This will be my first with the flowers. I've got light tables, the tent with cement anchors, table cloths, etc so I'm set for that. I've already got my set up in my head too!

What do you mean by "real" flower centers? What are you using? My husband will be selling his mobiles. I sure hope that he sells some because they are a work of art.

I've read all of the suggestions and will take them to heart!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 9:44AM
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Congratulations on a successful show! I enjoyed looking at your photos. But I hate to tell you, it's hopeless now - you'll be addicted to selling. I know I am.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 7:53AM
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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

Kathy, the Endless Summer is one of my favorite movies. It is about surfing and following the sun for the endless summer of waves. I do not surf but I do garden year round. Great job on the show and a perfect name.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 8:38AM
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About tables---
The 15 years we did shows (20-25 a year)we used hollow-core
doors, with folding legs (HD or Lowes). They were light but sturdy. You might check habitat for hollow core doors.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 8:38AM
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GREAT JOB KATHY!!! You have really done an impressive job! And I LOVE those Purses too! Lovely! Glad it went to good for you! Bet Hubby is pretty proud of you!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 10:01AM
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These flower plates are sweet. I would like to try and make one for my garden. What is the best way to attach the pole to the plate ? What do you use for a pole ? I was thinking cooper pipe.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 12:07PM
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((cooper pipe.))

lol- sorry, I love typos.

it's better than copper Poop...

thanks for sharing- been looking forward to your report! this amount you made was tremendous! and you made a lot of good observations that the rest of us can think about!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 1:25PM
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Congratulations! You did good. It's really hard to know what to tell you about price. The flowers are selling here for around $25. I did a flea market last July. I had a combination of all my various garden art as well as garage sale items. I priced the flowers at $24. I sold a few. I shared a booth with a couple who had only glass flowers priced at $25. They sold somewhere around 20 of them. Last year at the same flea market they sold at least that many for $25 each. I think it just depends on the area.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 2:17PM
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I sold at fairs for years, and my products were garden art that could be mounted on copper stakes. I found some great buckets at Walmart that had lids, and I filled them with cheap cat litter. My stakes would go into the buckets, and they were heavy enough not to tip over. The lids made it easy to transport the buckets and not lose the litter.

I also used a vintage suitcase to carry my wrapping paper & bags. I set it up on the plastic totes that I packed my items in, and it was always a hit with my customers. I also bought craft paper bags, the kind with the handles, or at Goodwill I'd buy gift bags and use those to put my customers purchases in. They just loved it...I know I get excited when I have a gift bag rather than a plastic bag!

You can also find lightweight 6' folding tables for around $40. Easy to put up and easy to handle.

I would put out about half my product at a time, and then bring in a new piece as one sold, and I offered to hold a customers purchase while they shopped. When they came back they'd see something new and have to buy it too! I also priced my items ending in .95, like %19.95 rather than $20, there is something psychological about that, they see it's under $20, so they 'justify' purchasing it. I kept a roll of nickles in my bag, but rarely did people want their change. I got an old bankers bag and kept my $ in there, and kept it packed up in my suitcase. Every week (or every show) I'd add $50 in change to keep it stocked, because inevitably I'd get a bunch of $20's and have to make change.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 2:00PM
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Congratulations on a great sale! Your booth looked awesome and I like the name too. Gives people the idea that your items aren't just for summertime and it works well with your friend's bags and pillows. Great idea to have the potted plant with the plate flower in it and the use of trellises and the chair for displays. Everything looks so pretty and professional, no one would guess it was your first sale. I think your prices were very reasonable and I'd say increase the price at a sale for more distinctive art. Your friend's bags and pillows are gorgeous too!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 2:37PM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

Thank you for the comments and advice. I've been out of town at a family wedding and am just home now and able to respond.

By "real flowers" I mean little plates that look like flowers, that were made intentionally to look like flowers, like 3 of the 5 in this picture. BTW, this pic was taken before I added a few embellishments to the others which helped to hide the geii.

This is a blurry picture because it is a closeup from a larger pic. This little center is a dish shaped like a flower, (cost me 25 cents at a yard sale).

So when I go to yard sales I'll be looking very closely for such things.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 6:30PM
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