My 1st NYC Craft Show!
This Saturday I participated in my first craft show in New York City! I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time and, as fate would have it, I was given the opportunity to do so through my job at BurdaStyle.
The craft show was hosted by Artists and Fleas in Brooklyn’s McCarren Park. While the hubbub of the World Cup (which I just discovered is quite a big deal) made the park unusually quiet, there was a slow but steady stream of passersby that made it both enjoyable and even a little profitable! I’m so surprised, but I had about six sales, a great feat considering 1). my fear that I wouldn’t sell anything, 2). my lack of inexperience with craft markets (I had only participated in one before) and 3). the amount of foot traffic. I was also the rogue table of the bunch, with a wrinkled table cloth (which the show organizer graciously let me borrow), Nat King Cole blaring from my Fisher Price cassette player and just about every color in the rainbow mingling on my table. Luckily, all of the other participants were very nice and supportive, occasionally giving me change if I ran out, or allowing me to borrow their mirror since I forgot one (a necessity in hindsight, especially if you sell jewelry). The weather was certainly on my side too, a great thing since I did not have a tent either.
Still, in spite of my quirks, I’m so happy that people enjoyed the things I made. I even asked a few of my customers to pose with their new purchases:
I’m really excited to participate in another craft show again, but will certainly remember all of the lessons I learned with this one. Consider these tips if planning to sell your wares at a show:
- Have a partner – You really can’t do craft shows alone, especially outdoor ones. While you may be able to rely on a fellow seller to watch your things if you need to use the bathroom or simply take a break, if the market gets busy this is not a definite, nor safe, guarantee. Bring a friend along to keep you company and to be your necessary help. My friends Delwin and Shaun came to help me pack up and transport my things in the end, but in the morning I had to haul my table, my products and my supplies by myself, and was left exhausted and tired before the show even began. I’ll definitely not make that mistake twice.
- Bring a mirror! – I can’t believe I completely missed this one. If you’re selling anything fashion or clothing-related, people want to see how it looks before they buy it — always. Have a mirror on-hand to ensure your potential customer that your product is a must-have.
- Bring Change. On two occasions I had to scramble around to find change for my customer. Not only is it incredibly unprofessional, it leaves other sellers at a disadvantage as they may need that change for a later sale. Bring a bunch of ones especially, but also fives and tens.
- Have a mailing list. – My mother reminded me of this when I was half-way through the market. Some people are not able to buy your products, but still may be interested in getting information about your business in the future. Keep them up-to-date on a regular basis to remind them how amazing your stuff is.
- Have business cards. – Business cards are a staple for establishing lasting connections with both your customers and your fellow sellers. Don’t leave home without them.
- Bring Snacks and Water – Having some body fuel handy is especially good on hot days, or shows that are too busy for you to leave and grab lunch. Some shows are also in the middle of nowhere, so it’s good to come prepared.
- Your prices should reflect your time and effort. While I think its good to be somewhat negotiable with prices (especially toward the end of the day), I made the mistake of being so eager to sell that I under-priced on some items. Keep a list of the value of each item on-hand. When it comes time bargain, I’d say don’t go lower than 20 percent. You really must pay yourself for your hard work.
So this is what I learned at my very first New York craft show. A fantastic experience, no doubt. Now on to show number two! :)