Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Showin' Up, (Not) Sellin' Out

Sunday was the first show for Mom & Me Gourds.  We were at Linganore Winecellars for Ladies Day Out.  Tickets were sold, and all proceeds went to Dress for Success.

As a first event, it was a good lesson.  Together we sold five gourds, the first two before the show even opened.  Mom faired much better than me, as I only sold one bowl while she sold two chicks and two lights.

We realized that this may not have been the right sort of event for our products.  The ladies that came were, for the most part, looking for less "crafty" type items.  We both felt that we would fair better at more of a craft show, or something like the Perry Hall Town Fair.  But it wasn't too bad.

Next to us was an old friend from high school.  She had wine glasses and such with vinyl designs on them.  (You can visit her Facebook page here.)  Much more suited to the event and customers.  But, we did learn from her.
  1. Be forwardly friendly.  Engage people as they come to the table with a smile and "hello" before they can walk away.  It keeps them there, looking at what you're selling.  I found that many people loved learning that we grow the gourds ourselves, and the process of how they become what the customers saw on the table.
  2. Raise your table.  She had blocks she put her table on.  It raised it so that it was harder for people to walk by without looking at her glasses, while our lower table could be passed right by with barely a glance.  This also forces you as the vendor to stand up in order to interact with potential customers, placing you at the same level in every conceivable way.
The person in charge of the event was thrilled that we came out.  She said we would do really well at their Christmas event because people are there shopping for gifts.  (You may remember that Christmas in the Barn was supposed to be our first event, but it was cancelled due to snow.)  We did put out a few of the winter and fall gourds, and they got a good response, but right now people are done with the cold and everything that symbolizes it.

The highlight of the show for me revolved around one woman.  As she walked up, she read the Mom & Me Gourds sign.  Then she looked right at me and said, "I was just on your blog.  You just got chicks, right?"  

I was thrilled!  Here I was meeting a reader of my blog.  And she remembered details about the post she had just read.  I only wish I had thought to ask her how she found The Sheepish Gardener.  (Maybe she'll read this post and leave a comment to let me know. ;) )

So, lessons learned from our first show:
  • Be friendly and approach people.  And be approachable to customers.
  • Raise the table.
  • Pack a lunch.
  • Have a large table cloth that will cover the entire table.  (We had to use two.)
  • Try to pick an event that is suitable to your product or service.

Welcome craft show season!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your first show! I like the idea of raising the table - I never thought of that!

    I've been doing craft shows (mostly baskets, some gourds) for about 15 years. My suggestions: use a solid-color cloth - the plaid and pattern are distracting from your gourds. I bought dark green sheets that I use. I use the pillow cases in the sheet set to wrap boxes so they are pedestals.

    It also works well to demo. This gives people something to talk about, and they can see that you are the artist (not an importer or salesperson). It also gives me something to do! It can get boring if you don't have many customers!

    Good luck with your future sales. I think you're on the right track with finding a venue with the right customers.