Well, it’s that time of year again.. The Bluegill fishing festival is coming up, and once again I find myself going through my inventory and checking to make sure I have everything I need.
I learned a LOT doing my first booth up at the local town festival. And I am using that knowledge and know how to make a few changes to both my booth, and my products this year..!
First step, expect wind and nasty weather!
I can’t even begin to tell you how many issues I had with the wind here last year! I had expected a little wind, because I live in a VERY windy place, but I was not prepared for my booth and displays constantly blowing over. The big beach umbrellas I had brought with me to keep the possible of rain off my products (I don’t own a booth tent yet) started blowing away the second I tried to put them up! After attempting to steak them down in the ground in my Uncles yard, trying to secure them to my booth table (which only made the table more unsteady), and trying to stick them very deep in the ground, I finally gave up on them and stuck them back in the car. Even without the umbrellas blowing away (and taking my booth with them), my booth displays did a good job blowing away all by themselves..
This year I plan to prepare for my booth trying to blow away by bringing a few small weights to weigh it down with. I did a pretty good job last year with keeping the tablecloth on the table at least (tape and clothespins seamed to do the job)! I also plan to spread out more this year, instead of trying to save space by building up. That was half the battle last year, having displays on the table as tall as me and then having them knock down on me. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.. That saying can’t have been more true last year.
Second step, knowing my buyers!
Honestly, I knew going into the festival last year that it was going to be about meeting people, seeing what people like, and learning new things, and NOT about money and selling out.. I mean, people have to start somewhere right? I truly thought that my first booth up at the bluegill festival was going to be a flop.. I didn’t expect anyone to buy anything at my booth. I had doubts about weather the stuff I made was good enough, or what the prices should be, and I was worried that the people of my new community weren’t going to like me. But you know what happened? I made way more money then I thought I would, I sold a LOT of stuff that I had made, and it was all worth it because people not only bought my stuff, but they LIKED my stuff! I also got to meet a lot of new people, and see a few old friends who had come out just to see me!
So, last year gave me a pretty good understanding about what people like, don’t like, a good estimate on prices to change this year, and a good idea on whom I’m selling to. I kept a good list of inventory last year, and I am able to look back at that list and see what sold and what didn’t. I am still going to try to sell some of my items from last year that didn’t do so well, but I am also adding a lot of new items this year. For example, I am adding stress balls to my list of new products. I have pictures of a few items that are already done, but more are in the making.
My eyeball stress balls are my absolute favorite! ❤ They just look so creepy..!
I have also done some zombies and pumpkin stress balls that I just LOVE! My stress balls are filled with simple white rice, and they were super easy to make!
I am working on another type of stress ball, as well as some some geeky Harry Potter inspired stuff for my fellow geeks out there.. Sneak peek at the golden snitches I am currently making:
I plan to work more on quantity this year. Last year I had a LOT of different things I decided to make. But making one or two of a lot of different items gives people too many choices! I was warned against this last year, but I guess I wanted to figure it out on my own instead of listening to everyone else.. Regardless. I am working on making a lot of a few things, and making sure that I let people know that if they want ‘said thing’ in a different color or size, that I have that for them as well. That went over very well last year with the ‘bag holders’ I sold. People loved that I had different colors out, and were even more excited when they discovered that I secretly had more under the table. It made them feel special that I was showing them some ‘top secret’ hidden colors that no one else knew about.
Third step, take pictures!
One thing I really regret not doing is taking pictures of the stuff I made last year.. Again, this was something I was warned about by my family and friends, but again, I didn’t listen..
Although I have a list of all of my products from my booth last year, including colors, sizes, and what sold/what didn’t, I still wish I had taken pictures last year of all of my stuff. Sadly, all I had last year in terms of taking pictures was a temperamental tablet, a camera that didn’t want to work, and no computer to put said camera chip into. This year I have all three working (for the most part), and I plan to take pictures of everything I bring to the festival with me this year (and every year here after). In fact, the only picture I have at all from the festival last year was the one I posted to my blog! Woops.. Well, at least I have that..!
Last step.. Pricing.
I know I know, it’s the worst thing to have to decide/deal with if you’re the vendor.. Prices too high and people won’t buy your products. Prices too low and you loose money.. But did you know that if you price too low, people won’t buy your stuff because they think they’re truly getting what they pay for..? What!? I put my prices low last year because I wanted to be someone who gave people great prices for great products.. NOT because my products were cheaply made.
So, this year, I plan to increase my prices a bit more then last year and see how people deal with that.. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this years Bluegill festival. I know that I can’t make everyone happy, but goodness, I want to try my best!
So, any advice from people who have worked festivals or craft fairs before? What problems did YOU have the first time you set up a booth for a festival/craft fair, and how did you fix them? Leave me a comment below! And as always, remember to smile!
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