Now that I have caught my breath (well, almost) I am so excited to share with you what I have learned after my very first full market season! Before this year I had only participated in one show per year and it was always in my hometown. I shared a booth with my mom and it was a lot of fun. What I realized though is that I was paying a crazy booth rent to sell to my local friends that would seek me out anyways! Throughout the spring and the summer I looked at different shows OUTSIDE of my hometown that I could try and make it to. I ended up choosing two in the nearest large metro area. Additionally, I signed up for a couple of smaller local shows that had a lower booth rent one of which was in a local boutique that shares the same “target market.” Each show or pop-up was a great learning experience and I have a small list of things that stuck out to me in particular that I would love to share!
- Practice Booth Set up
I honestly did this before my first show out of pure nervousness, but it was SUUUPER helpful to day of actual set up. Other than small changes we set up exactly as I had practiced and it was definitely a time and ease of mind saver!!
- Be Prepared with ALL the stock!!!
I truly had no idea what to expect booking as many shows as I did. After the first one I was pretty much just trying to make enough for the next one when I should have been working on Christmas orders! Had I had enough stock built up I could have rationed through the shows and all the while stayed caught up on orders. Instead, here it is a few days until Christmas and I am pulling laaaate nights just to get them all finished in time! I have a very vague plan of how to stock up for next year in mind and hope to write a separate blog post on that exactly! J
- Pick Your Shows Wisely
Be sure to pick shows that will hit your “target market.” I am still figuring that out, but I do know there are several shows that I aspire to try next year, and there are shows that I will leave off my list. Do your research and make a decision as to which shows would be best for you instead of signing up for any and all that come your way!
- Stay Positive!!!
No two shows are the same! Your first show could be a bust, and the next you sell out! At each show I tried this year I had at least a couple positive things that came from them no matter what the sales total at the end of the day! My biggest “YAY!” during shows was networking with other makers. I had a blast talking “maker life” with them and taking tips from those who had been doing it a long time. I also made contacts with potential wholesale opportunities which has been so much fun!!!
I wouldn’t trade my first show season for anything and I have learned so much. Once the crazy of Christmas is over I plan to go full force in to planning for next year! Let’s hope I can keep my focus! J I hope this was helpful to any who have not done many shows and if any of you experts are reading this, help a girl out! I’d love to hear your best tips!!!