I decided to give the local artisan scene a try this year, because hey, I am a full time jeweler now, and that is what you do right? You make a bunch of inventory and go to these events where there are a lot of people walking around and only a few buying anything. It least that way you sound more legitimate when you can say, “Oh I can’t come to that barbecue, I have a show this weekend.” And you have a bunch of inventory, and thus something to show friends and neighbors when they say, “I would love to come over and see your stuff.” You and I both know they are really just checking up to make sure I am not playing videos in my basement all day.
But there are some issues with local fairs:
1. You have to be there to make the sale.
I admit it, I am pretty spoiled by selling online. Selling online is great because you don’t have to do anything to make sales. I know, I know, you have to design beautiful pieces, take great photos, set up a website, do tons of marketing, provide great customer service, and all that, but in the end the sales just happen. Most of the time they happen while you are asleep, or walking the dog, or heaven forbid, MAKING JEWELRY!
So, at a fair you have to spend all day doing nothing but sitting there, looking cute, talking to people, and even being kind of a salesman. No sitting back and letting the sales happen on their own.
2. People don’t always come to a fair to buy stuff.
I don’t know what it is like in other places in the world, but in Utah, the cheapskate, DIY capital of the world, people aren’t always willing to spend real money on anything.
3. Some fairs are better than others.
The really good ones cost a TON of money. The ones that don’t cost a ton of money can go either way. Some are great, some are not so great. The trick is finding the good ones.
So, yesterday I attended my third fair. I went into it suspecting it probably wasn’t going to be huge. When something is held in a place called Centerville, population 15,000, this should be a sign. Also, it was the first time they have had this flea market and despite their assurances that they had totally got the word out, it takes time for these things to grow. But I didn’t have anything else to do, and you just never know right? So, I got up at the crack of dawn, drove an hour to find the big grassy field with not an inch of shade and set up my booth.
Notice the lack of shade, no tent, and no people?
That is pretty much how it looked all day. It was sooooo dead. And SO HOT!
I pretty much melted. Some of my jewelry cards did melt.
The only redeeming thing of the whole day was the cute little 15 year old duo that sang and played guitars for the entertainment. They weren’t half bad and their music selection was actually pretty similar to what comes out of my Pandora station.
1. A sun hat is great, but you still need sunscreen, even on your hands.
2. No tent = no fun.
3. First time shows in medium size towns probably are not worth my time.
Oh well. At least I know one fair not to repeat. 1 down, 100 to go.