Up Close and Personal

So my first big show of the season was a big success. I have 2 more coming up in the next month and so I'm starting to feel the anxiety again. I definitely have more confidence going into the next one but because each show has it's own vibe and target there is still the uncertainty. My next one is the Lindbergh Rotary club show. It is the largest craft show in the St. Louis area and has close to 500 vendors. I went last year and walked around and helped out a friend's mom who has a booth each year. It is overwhelmingly big and sprawls out throughout the high school. I signed up on the day of the show last year and will be right next to Diane who always brings in the crowds.

It will be a very different crowd from the one at the Strange Folk Festival. I'm predicting a more traditional and "soccer mom" group. I've tried to focus on things the past month or so that would appeal to this market more. I've kept to the colorful, fun scarves but stayed away from some of the more goth elements I enjoyed creating for Strange Folk. I've never taken a business or marketing class in my life, but one thing I do know is that you have to know who your audience is. I think I actually learned that in a journalism class but it applies here too.

I also think it's important to check out the water before you dive in. Last year I just did a few little shows for fun and the experience. But I gave a lot of thought to which shows I wanted to do for this year. If possible I think it's helpful to actually go to the show the year before you sign up. I didn't have a chance to do that for Strange Folk but I did check out all the information I could about it on-line to make sure it would be a good fit. I'm hopeful that Lindbergh will be a good market as well, as it was the biggest investment so far with a $90 booth fee. I know this isn't much compared to big art shows but it was to me. The timing on it is good for me, being the weekend before Thanksgiving so the weather should be cool and people will be really starting to think about holiday shopping.

My last show for the year is the weekend after Thanksgiving and it is a real change for me. I'm doing the Big Ass Indie Art & Craft Show. Here is what it says about it on the Mad Art Galleries website:

Mad Art Gallery presents the Big Ass Indie Art and Craft Show, your alternative to the alternative holiday craft shows. Our 2008 show offers three days of shopping (December 5, 6, 7) in St. Louis' most spectacular and well-known venue for art exhibitions and unique events. Our show focuses on presenting original art and hand-made crafts of the highest quality in a shopping environment designed to provide your customers with a pleasurable shopping experience.

I'm not real sure what to expect with this one. It is more of a boutique style in that I don't have to be there the whole time. It is going to require a lot of leg work so I really hope it is worth it. Everything has to be tagged and itemized on a spread sheet. I'm sure I'll be talking more about this process as I work on it. I'm not the most organized person in the world so this will be a challenge for me. I didn't follow my rule of checking the show out ahead of time. I was invited to sign up for it by a convo on Etsy and decided to go for it. It should be a more creative market and I'm hoping since it will be with mostly art, some of my higher end pieces might get some attention. It was only a $30 upfront investment but they will be taking 10% of my earnings. This is comparable to etsy and paypal fees so I think it will balance out. I'm sure I'll be rambling on about these shows as they get closer and my anxiety level increases.


LoneStarVintageClothing said...

Don't worry! I'm sure you will be fine! You have great stuff and you've already had your stuff in a few shows. :)

storybeader said...

sounds like you've put a lot of thought into this, and that's a good thing. Best wishes...love your banner!

MySweetThree said...

It sounds like you have done the research and are as prepared as possible.. Your booth picture looks great, by the way, it would definitely get me to stop..I love the banner!

Tiffany said...

No matter how prepared you are for a show there will always be some anxiety. I think that's only human and healthy (to a degree). One thing I highly recommend is to write in a journal after you participate in each show. Note the cost of the booth, the dates, the type of audience what they bought, what days/times were best what you like and didn't like in general, an inventory of what you brought, how many people turned-out, etc.

This way if you do the booth again, you will remember how to prepare and that will take away a lot of anxiety. My first few shows I didn't do this because I thougth I would remember.. well I don't remember and now I'm guessing.. from here on it I write down my thoughts on each show.

You will do great! I have no doubt!

The Verbal Warrior said...

You should write an eBook about working the Craft Show circuits....and an Etsy eBook. :D I wish I lived closer to old St. Louey, I SO would've been there!

Rock on!

Kala Pohl Studio said...

Don't be anxious, you are going to do great:) Looks like you have worked hard, done your part, now let the Universe do its:):)

Lindsay said...

Your table looks really great!


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