UCU: Whew!

What We Started With...
Hi friends! I'm back (finally) from craft-fair-prep-wonderland with lots of pictures and lots of success (yay!).  I keep thinking to myself, 'Whew...did we really just do our absolute very first craft fair ever? It seems like it lasted for only a couple of hours!'  Boyfriend and I had so much fun , met so many cool people, had so many happy, smiling customers who went home with cozy new cowls (some even got one as a gift and one for themselves!)

Fussing About
Luckily we live a mere 6 blocks from where Urban Craft Uprising took place, so it was pretty easy to run home and get anything we forgot. We didn't actually forget anything major, but we ran into a small problem when we got there to do preliminary setup: the table we rented for the event took up about half of our entire booth. Not good. So we returned it to the pile, drove home, loaded our mini Formica table into the back, and returned. Snip snap!

Skipjack Cowl Display
We wanted to keep the booth setup as simple as possible, what with the fact that we'll be doing the exact same thing in less than two weeks in San Francisco but will be arriving via aeroplane...which means we'll be packing all the merchandise and any small unbreakable props into our luggage.

More Setting Up
When I first started brainstorming ways to display hoops and cowls and kerchiefs I ran into the small mental block of not having a wall behind us.  Which is typical for any craft show, really.  Lightweight clothing or laundry racks were an easy solution for cowls and kerchiefs...but the Granny Hoops, oh the Granny Hoops.  So boyfriend and I both picked each others brains and tried to extract a few good ideas on Granny Hoop display...

Me and the Wall of Hoops
And I think we were both quite pleased with the end result!  We took one of the Ikea laundry racks we purchased and made it into a 'wall'.  Boyfriend whipped out the sewing machine I've had since my 18th birthday but have never actually used (the sewing needle and I do not get along) and he hemmed up a piece of white muslin, then measured, marked and attached grommets around the edges.  Once we set up our 'wall' and strung it up at the fair we were quite pleased with the end result. 

The Wall of Hoops
The initial idea was to use ornament hooks to invisibly attach all the hoops to our wall...but muslin isn't exactly the best fabric for poking a bunch of little holes into, so I think we're (okay, boyfriend is) going to redo the wall in a heavy canvas before Renegade SF. I love the way this wall turned out but I think I'd be much happier if I didn't have to string all those hoops off the top of the rack. It's just a little too aesthetically crazed for me.

Rainbow Kerchiefs and Ornaments
I think the best question we kept getting asked was: Why are your ornaments 'atomic'?! I guess they didn't understand the kitsch factor of the color combination being an homage to the classic 1950's Christmas...but that's okay! My favorite ornament comment came from a super cute couple who took one home and said they were going to pick out their Christmas tree when they were done shopping the fair. Awww!

Snowflake Pyrex in the Booth
There was of course some appropriately themed Holiday Pyrex involved...

My Weary Helper
I really would not have been able to do all of this if it weren't for boyfriend and his mad sewing, tinkering, heavy-lifting, parcel-wrapping, and mood-elevating skills. Any of my good readers out there who anticipate doing their first craft shows in the near future, hear this: BRING A BOOTH HELPER! Really. The final attendance count at the show was just under 10,000 people and if you figure most of those people will walk by your booth at some point, you really want to have someone else there who's got your back.  You want someone there you can trust to a. help sell your product and answer questions if you're busy helping someone else and b. wrap up parcels, know to re-stock the racks as you sell things, greet people with a smile, run and get food and coffee when needed, anything.

Here it is!
Which leads me to my last kernel of amateur vendor advice: Greet people as they walk by your booth.  As a customer, I cannot tell you how many times I've seen vendors who just sit behind their table and zone out into oblivion.  You HAVE to engage your customers or they'll just walk right by your booth!  About 80% of the people I talked to would stop, look at us, and remark: Oh. My. Gosh. There is SO much to look at, I can't absorb it all.  I've already walked around twice and can't remember anything I looked at...  Which is why, as a new vendor, one of my main rules is to really talk to people.  Say 'Hi there!' as they walk by, ask how they're doing, let them keep walking if they want to, hop up and answer questions if they start asking, direct them to the mirror, help them pick out colors, anything.  Engage, engage, engage

Candid
On the whole I think we were very successful. We sold more than I anticipated, the booth looked lovely, we had a lot of fun, we had great neighbors (as you can see), we both enjoyed talking to all the wonderful people who stopped by our booth, and I didn't run out of anything!  I almost sold out of a couple of Skipjack colors, but luckily managed to keep at least one in stock of each color for the whole weekend. 

So now I must get back to my crochet.  The goal is to have six Skipjacks in each color for Renegade SF, which can totally be done before we leave next Thursday afternoon.  I think the tally as of yesterday afternoon was down to 38 left to make.  I plan on working my fingers off this week on Skipjacks, blocking a few new kerchiefs for the Kerchief Series, and maybe, just maybe being able to make up a few of my new design to debut in San Francisco!!!  I'm so excited to share it with you all, I keep wearing mine around the house and playing dress up in the mirror...it's quite fussy and feminine, I'm in love with it!

8 comments:

  1. Yay for first shows! I did my first one a few weeks ago and I wish I had another one to do. It was so much fun and I totally agree about the booth helper. My husband was amazing. Congrats and good luck on your next one :)

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  2. GLAD your booth went so well .. I knew it would! I will have to remember to have a booth keeper when I finally get the courage to do a fair. Congrats on all the sales :)

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  3. oh my what a beautiful set-up:) your display looks FABULOUS and what a talent you have!

    congratulations on your first show-i'm sure it is the first of many, many more:)

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  4. How cute are you!
    I like your craftyness So much.

    And the title of your blog/shop.
    Victory Garden!
    Molly was my favorite of the American Girl books, so I know what that is ;)

    Aw. Cute, cute, cute!

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  5. Anna, Good job and good pictures! Love, Dad

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  6. Aw, your booth looks SO AWESOME! I am dying to buy the skipjack in Fisherman, I think I might this weekend, if I can sneak the purchase past my husband. Yeah, I just said that!!!!

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  7. glad it was a success! your work is amazing! do you live in the bay area? again, i am going to miss the renegade craft fair! so so wish i could go but not sure if i will be able to make..this makes it strike 3!!

    xo,
    cb

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Hi friends! Thank you for lingering in my Victory Garden, I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here!

If you have a specific question for me regarding my blog, photographs, Etsy shop, or anything really, please email me at Anna@VictoryGardenYarn.com.