Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fool me twice: Craft fair FAIL #2

I thought I'd never, ever do another craft fair after my first experience was such a hugely epic FAIL.  But then this awesome opportunity was presented to me a few weeks ago -- a free booth, at a huge, well-advertised, and well-established craft fair, promising thousands of customers.  After some prayer, consideration, and some loving encouragement from family and friends, I decided to go for it!  I mean, what could go wrong??
We'll get to that in a minute.

So here's what happenend. . . .

Once I signed on for the booth, I had two weeks 'til show time.

I already had a lot of my physical booth display left over from my previous show, so I wasn't worried about that part at all.  I was mostly concerned about not having enough inventory.  So I began sewing late into the night, every night. . . .

and sewing. . . 

and sewing. . . .

I made the sample onesie patchwork pillows so potential customers could see these cute items in person, and order later.  I handed out info cards with product details and ordering instructions for customers to take with them for later, with hopes of generating after-sales.

I also made up a sample t-shirt quilt for the show.  This was my show-stopper... which kind of surprised me.  I had so. many. inquiries. about this quilt!  I handed out dozens upon dozens upon dozens of the info / ordering cards for this item, too.  I'm **crossing my fingers** that even a fraction of those inquiries translate into sales!  :)


backed with a super-soft flannel

I ended up with plenty of inventory, although at the time, it didn't feel like enough.  Anyway, onward.

The show. . . .

I rearranged my booth a little differently from the last show, making it a less crowded. I think it flowed better, and it wasn't as visually overwhelming as last time.

yes, still busy and colorful, but that's just me / refabulous. :)

I used a U-shaped layout, with no obstructions.  The check-out stand and racks were in-line, too.  I only put out some of my merchandise, and kept the rest in reserve, in boxes under the tables.  (Boy, is that hard to do!)  I had items at several price points, from just a few dollars, to high-end, big ticket items.  I placed the t-shirt quilt on the end, to grab attention, and it did just that.  So many people would stop to look and chat about it, and then come into the booth after that.

propped up on boxes, on the corner of the booth

I was next to one of the front doors, in a corner booth, in a very high-traffic area.  A couple thousand people passed by, and hundreds stopped, chatted, browsed.  Picked up merchandise. . . and then put it down again.  

received many oohs and ahhs, but no takers.  :(

I made $40.
All weekend long.


Were my prices too high?
Did my stuff look like crap?
Was my booth scary?
Did I look mean?

What was going on????

Well, I chatted with the lovely vendor next to me, and several other veteran vendors. . . and whatever was happening at that show, that weekend, was very atypical.  They usually do VERY well that particular show, and for whatever reason, this year... they didn't.  
So it wasn't just me.
It wasn't me at all.

Some theorized that it's the economy, or an election year, or the price of oil being low (we're an oil boomtown,) or any number of reasons.  All I know is that almost no one bought my stuff. 

BUT. . .

Some positives came out of all of this. . .
I met some really cool people at the show, and actually had a great time, even though I didn't really make any money.

And I'll be very well-stocked for the holiday rush for my Etsy shop!  (Well, once I get them all listed. *ahem*)

 autumn celebration strip fabric garland

Christmas celebration strip fabric garland

pssst... If you see something you really love and would like to buy, and it's not in the shop just yet, message me (you can email me through the tab at the top,) or convo me through Etsy, and I can make a quick custom listing for you that way.


Now, with all of that being said, would I ever consider doing another show?

No, no, no, no, no.
Absolutely not.

But I've said that before.

I regularly post updates, sneak peeks and newly finished projects on my facebook page, so I hope you'll join us over there, too!


  1. Isn't life a mystery? Especially when you feel good about it after praying. Perhaps this is one of those things that will make sense someday and you just get to have faith until then. :)

  2. It really is, Heather! And I did feel good about it... I honestly felt it was an answered prayer. But who knows? Maybe it still is? God's ways are not our ways, right? ;) I'm still hopeful, and still happy! (Thanks for always having kind words to share with me, and for reading after all these years!)

  3. Well, I for one am very glad you did the show, otherwise I would not have met you.

    1. Liss, YOU are one of the main reasons I enjoyed the show so much! I had such a blast chatting with you and getting to know you... it was fun, wasn't it? I'm glad I did the show, too. :) Thank you for stopping by!

  4. What a bummer! But you had some positive things come out of it, so not all was lost. I think maybe you need a more hip type of craft show. Because your stuff is so original and well made, maybe the average craft shopper can't appreciate that. Don't let this deter you! You are talented!

    1. Carolyn, I had thought about this not being the right venue / area, and you may be right. I'm not sure I'd do another show, but I'll keep creating, making and selling in refabulous! Thank you for always being so supportive, Carolyn. It means a lot!

  5. your stuff is so awesome!!! But I have found craft shows just aren't what they used to be. I think so many people come and look and say to themselves "I can do that". but in reality, they NEVER go do that, even if they can. So they should just buy the product then, but there's def no magic formula for who will spend and who won't. Sorry it was a bummer, but I swore off craft shows long ago also, for this very reason. It's a whole lotta work, and no guarantees. When you can make the same items, upload and sell online, and never leave home or have to worry about crowds/weather/etc. but glad you made some friends. that was worth it.

    1. I'm with you, Robin... I'm for swearing them off, and staying home. It's cozier, and definitely easier. ;) Yes, the new friends were blessings and a bonus, though!


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