Monday, November 9, 2009

Craft Show Calamity

Irv and I were on our way to the craft show and my main focus was on how I was going to set up my booth. We weren't taking my big set up. The show was only five hours long. We were going to use the bookshelf, a clothes rack, a coat rack and the two tables they were providing. I was trying to figure out how to arrange everything in my 10 by 10 space. Irv was in the truck in front of me as we made our way to Hoffman Estates.

We arrived, loaded up the cart and made our way in. A nice lady greeted us at the door, checked us in and lead us into the gym. As we entered the gym, I quickly looked around and thought, "Uh oh!" Really, the words I thought were more like WTF???

The booths, were not booths at all....they were spaces with 2 tables and 2 chairs. I looked at the lady and said, "These aren't 10 by 10 booths." "Oh, I know, we ended up with SO many people....we were here late last night trying to figure it out and this is the best we could do."

THE BEST THEY COULD DO?? How do you advertise a 10 by 10 spot and have people pay...thinking they are getting a 10 by 10 spot, and bring things that can only be accommodated by a 10 by 10 spot and then give them a 6 by 8 spot???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

Okay, calm down Kathy. There has to be a way to make this work. They did their best. It's a tough job. This is the school where Irv works. Be nice. Breathe, breathe, breathe.....all Irv could say was, "I told you there was no way they could fit over 40 crafters with 10 by 10 spaces in this gym."

He had said that, but I told him they couldn't sell you a 10 by 10 spot and then not give you a 10 by 10 spot....silly Irv! HAHA!

The best they could do was to move me to a corner near one of the back doors and the bleachers.

It allowed me to set up the rack with my aprons and the bookshelf with my cake stands in a little indentation by the door. We were all packed in like sardines and most people were not happy.

There was no where to go with the coat rack with my tote bags on it. It ended up in back of the tables with me and no one even noticed fact, you couldn't even tell who they belonged to! Can you see how much space there is between my tables and the tables behind me? Our chairs almost touched. It was NOT very comfy.

The lady kept apologizing and I kept telling her that we would make it work, and make it work we did. Everyone was practically bumping into the person in the booth behind them, and for someone like me that isn't into small was a long day. The girl behind me was nice, but I know more about her life and her family than I ever wanted to. :)

The day was long and the customers were not in abundance. It was 72 degrees and gorgeous outside and that is where most people understandably wanted to be. After all this is November in Illinois and those kind of days are a rarity for sure.

I had a sale here and there and over the course of the five hours had sold enough coasters, aprons and light switch covers to pay my fee and make as much as I have at any of the big expensive two-day shows that I've done so far. I didn't make a ton, but it was a descent show.

As a craft show novice, I always try to learn something from each show I do. This weekend I learned to "expect the unexpected" for sure, and that the small shows may not have the crowds that the big shows have, but the fees are a fraction of the big shows. When you tally it all up at the end of the day....those 5 hours could end up being more profitable than the 15 hours you spent at the big show. Something to think about for next season.

I am done with shows for this year. With this being my first craft show season, I did two in the spring and three this fall. Next year I will choose carefully and do shows closer to the holidays. The ones I did this fall were way too early in the season. Maybe I'll do one early and a couple later. We'll see.

I have so much to do now. I have a ton of things to photograph and list in MyOtherShop on etsy. I didn't sell a single brooch or wine bag at the show! Go figure! I am off on Wednesday this week and have a HUGE photo shoot planned. Be watching for the brooches, wine bags and holiday coasters soon after! Have a great week everyone.


Cathryn said...

One of the reasons I like to read your blog is because you are so positive--even about calamities. I like the fact that you were able to chalk up this near disaster as a learning experience and identify what you learned. The simple thought of "Expect the unexpected" is an important lesson for all of us to keep in mind as we go through life. Thanks for sharing! :D

Lanyardlady said...

Sounds like you made the best of a challenging situation and handled it with good humor. Your setup looks lovely, and I'm glad you had enough sales to make the day worthwhile. I once had a table next to a woman who was making home and child care arrangements for her upcoming hysterectomy. Talk about TMI!

Angela said...

I am glad there was a happy ending after all :) I have had my ups and downs at shows too. It is a fun but tiring way to spend the day, glad you made a little extra cash!

DUTA said...

'All's well that ends well" and there's another saying relevant to your post " Expect the Best, be prepared for the Worst"

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

I have a friend that just started to do shows this fall. She has pretty much said the same thing that you have about the showing world. Great positive attitude you've got thrown in to a big mess like that and it sure looks like you were able to pull it off with panache! Once all is tallied, I'm so glad you came out on the plus every way! Men...sometimes they DO have good intuition!

T.Allen-Mercado said...

Wow, I applaud your attitude! I'm glad it all worked out, I can't imagine doing more than one show a year. On to the Etsy shop listings!

Beth Anderson said...

Oh Kathy - chalk it up as a learning experience!
Sorry cause I know the frustration you feel!
I'm glad for you that you kept trying to make the best of it.

Love the pictures of the "kids" getting their baths too!

Beth Jaffe thequeenofcups said...

You are so wise to learn from this instead of well, quitting or giving up or something terrible like that! It's such a bummer when the customers don't come and the booths stink. Best of luck next year! I'm a craft show newbie too and thank you for your story. Now I will expect the unexpected at my two shows this weekend!! Thanks!

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