Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lessons from Herb Fest

(herb fest set up day 1)

(Yawn...) We're finally back from both Herb Fest and the Spring Craft show in Mechanicsburg and boy are we tired! Two shows in one month! But it was fun and something to learn from! I wanted to get on and blog individually but now that I'm sitting here I figure why not tell a bit about each?

Going for a year to Williams Groove in Dillsburg, PA I figured we'd be quite prepared for events sense both are public spaces and both would be rather unpredicted and while dealing with the public doesn't change their reception and perception does. So primarily this blog is for vendors to help those who're like us rather new to the crafting scene prep, market, and showcase your works.

We all know it can be a challenge sometimes getting people to our booths and to stay. Some customers expect to be left alone, and the mere utterance of a friendly hello, sends them dashing from your table! But then others expect the hello and enjoy knowing the vendor notices them. While there isn't too much I can say on your greeting I always say a warm and welcoming Hi or good day to all who take the time to stop by our booth even if it doesn't always give me the desired Q and A response.

Know you product! And tell your customers! We found the more engaged we were, the more those truly curious customers wanted to know! We'd notice some one looking at a particular piece and I'd approach and say, " That item is made from...." and beging telling them about the materials was it a unique bead design? Was it made from vintage findings? Sometimes I'll even begin with, " That was a fun piece to make," and usually the next response I get is, " You hand make all this?" and when we say yes most customers are pleasantly surprised! I'm still trying to figure out if this is good or bad but they seem happy, so I am too!

Be informative and friendly to everyone! Customers who're passing by and praising your work are another group to try and start up a conversation with even if they won't buy, you can maybe get them to take a card and check you out online at your Etsy or other online store!

Keep your customers in the know! Now here's a prior tip I heard about and just started doing an emailing list customers who we engaged on the topic loved the idea and with every new sign up I found myself becoming very happy to have a reach out in place to all those who took the time to sign up! We plan to do this monthly and maybe a little more to let them be the first in the know on discounts, promos, giveaways, shows we're attending, and new products added to the store!

Don't eat at your booth if possible! This for me is a pull over from my retail days you'd never eat on the floor in the public eye even if you're neat and tidy. As your hands touch everything a customer seeing you eat may not stop by they may not want to disturb you but they also may not want you're, once on food hands, touching something they may be wearing! So step away, find the cafeteria, or your car and enjoy a quite work free meal!

Check and recheck your pack list! You don't want to leave a single thing behind if you're away from your work space so bring that tape, thread, pins, bottled water, band aids, repair kits, jewelry tools, ect! My list was so long and I took a week to be extra sure! You never know if you or your neighbors may need those little extras!

Get to know your neighbors! Sure I'm reminded a bit of Mr. Rogers when I say this but its true not only can your neighbors watch your table if you're a solo vendor, but they can give you tips and if you need it small supplies like tape, paper, or pins and sense you packed these things too you can always reciprocate. They can also keep you company between tidying up your booth and waiting for customers to arrive.

Tidy those tables! A hold over from retail, we always had to fix the products, make sure items where straight, and accessories displayed properly all day long and I'm constantly making sure how I placed my pieces in the day is how they stay inbetween customers dropping by and handling them!

Keep signs visible. I printed all the signage days before going and put them on my demo table in my home to make sure all signs worked, were visible, and clear for any passerbyers.

Dress for success! Wear event appropriate clothing going to a park craft show? Wearing Sweet Lolita while cute and frilly may not attract customers to your works they may just stop to check out your dress detracting from your creations! And if you are a jewelry vendor like us, show your pride and confidence by wearing what you make! Make earrings, necklace, or bracelet for your event wear it and show it off so customers know you aren't scared of what you make and they can have that confidence too.

Experiment w/ layout. Especially if it's a multi-day event. At herb fest day one we placed our gypsy fabric in a triangle right in the center. We had lookers, compliments, but we noticed customers had to really look at what was on the high patterned fabric it was pretty, but it made it hard to see the design without picking that item up.

Herb fest day 1 layout

Herb fest day 2

We decided to move our gypsy fabric over and let the creme tone of the cloth below showcase our works for us! We found this layout got more attention then our last.

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