04 December 2013

First Craft Fair Nerves

I just finished working on my displays for the upcoming craft fair. Like, 20 minutes ago, working on displays. Now, blogging. My mind is buzzing with excitement and nervousness. I feel really good seeing all my product splayed out fancily; I feel confident that Sheep & Co will make a good first impression on people. I've been planning out ideas since Thanksgiving: haunting Pinterest, stalking my cupboards for good display baskets, making signs, and finishing pricing items. Today I really sat down, turned all of the ideas bouncing around in my head into reality, and put them all together.

I'm meeting with my business partner tomorrow to finalize our displays, get each other's opinions, and make sure everything works well together. I'll have one day to make any changes. Then: The Fair. Exciting!

But, I'm also nervous that I won't sell well! What if there is too much competition?  I do feel confident that I'll be able to compete on price (my product is some of the most affordable on Etsy), but what if people would rather pay more for pompoms and multi-colored braided ear flaps? What if my table is too out-of-the-way? This craft fair is supposed to be huge, so what if people tire out (or run out of money!) before they get to my table?

With my obsessive Type A personality, I'm up to my elbows in data points and lists. I wrote down my lowest possible price-point for all my items (the price at which I would make no profit), so I know how low I can haggle, the amount of money I've put into the craft fair so far, I've got a photo inventory of all my product (so I know what sizes/colors sell best), and I've got a spreadsheet with all my product and my starting price-points. I'm going in to this with just over $1,100 in product. 95 handmade items.

I've spent 2-4 hours a day for almost two months in preparation. Every. Single. Day. (save the two when I was in kidney stent hell). I got no other crafting done, no book reading done, nada. It was like back when Matt was in law school and I was doing freelance work on the side! No time for hobbies when you're a work-from home mom! If I do well at this fair, I can see doing another (or two!) next year, but I'd spread out the time spent in preparation. I did get some good advice to use the slow summer months to make product for the holidays (obviously I couldn't this year since we were moving), but I'd definitely use those months next year if things go well this weekend.

For the last week or so, I've been thinking of things I might need at the craft fair and storing them up in a little pile on my crafting table in a nice, orderly fashion. Today I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to gather up things so I wouldn't forget.
"Sorry I'm in the middle of feeding you lunch, Abigail, I need to get my tape measure right now or else I might forget it!"

It almost all fits in my makeup bag, so it can't possibly be too much.
-Knitting needles and crochet hooks can be used as a decorative prop, but could also come in handy as a display tool (the suckers are made out of metal - they're pretty sturdy).
-A ball of faux-twine yarn, because you can never have too much useful string (with character! cause of the twine-yness).
-Lots of pens, including a "mark down" red pen. Pens (and crochet hooks) also make good shims in the event of a tippy display.
-Scissors and a pocket knife.
-The aforementioned tape measure. In case we have emergency measuring needs.
-A yarn needle, in case a product needs an emergency adjustment.
-A calculator. Because I majored in English.
-Hair bands for jerry-rigging displays on the go.
-A notebook, because you never know when paper comes in hand. Paper also works well as a shim in the event of an uneven table.
-My registration paperwork.
-The camera (not pictured as it's the one doing the picturing).

I wasn't in the girl scouts. I'm just paranoid.

Ah yes, and kick-ass business cards.

The same front, two different backs. Sometimes being a designer is really convenient.

And lastly, I threw together a few display items (because I worked in marketing and I know that environment and ambiance mean a lot when you're asking someone to spend their hard earned money. Who doesn't love a good all-around shopping experience?) But the designer in me refuses to have useless items cluttering up my precious sale space. So yarn balls in a mason jar are pretty, but also heavy enough in case we need to anchor something down (physically or visually).

I've got enough boxes and bags ready for the big dress rehearsal tomorrow that the neighbors watching me shlep it out to the car are going to think we'll be out-of-town for the weekend. But I just want this to go smoothly. So I'm showing up prepared. Uber-prepared.

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