As I have written before, I signed up for two craft fairs and decided to have a trunk show for friends at my house.  Of course, the two craft fairs fell on the same weekend and the date my girlfriend and I thought would offer the best chance for attendance with coming holiday events was the Friday after.  I have many thoughts swirling between my ears - thoughts on directions to take - so let me see if I can make it organized and concise.  You better grab a coffee or glass of wine just in case.

Craft Fair 1:  Held at a church with a day school, so there was a 9am to 1pm session and a 7pm to 9pm session.  My booth was in a side room with windows out towards the day school and had better lighting.  Here is a look at how I set things up:

Pros:  I met two lovely ladies who shared the room with me - one, Liz, is a good friend of a mom I know from our summer swim team and we had a great time chatting.  Liz makes AMAZING baby and toddler knitted hats - check her out here.

Cons:  While Liz's hats drew plenty of folks into the room, not many stopped for more then 10 seconds at my table.  A few days later I read a blog buddy's post about having a raffle or having a candy dish so that people stop and maybe linger.  I think too as the day wore on, I became less and less engaging.  Total sales:  1 pair of earrings.

Craft Fair 2:  Even though it was from 9am to 1pm the next day, thankfully both locations were within a mile of my house, so logistics were pretty easy.  It's a very well organized event that includes a white elephant sale, a kids shopping area, bake sale, lunch and silent auction.  The vendors are spread along the halls of the extended church campus.  I lucked out and got a spot near the food, bathrooms, and front door - so nearly everyone had to walk by my table.  Here is what my set up looked like:

Pros:  My location was great, and I made an effort to greet everyone.  It sounds like I am an unfriendly person - I am not, I swear - I think I just fall into the more quiet, observer kind of mode if I don't make a conscious effort.  While at first I wasn't getting a lot of interest, at the end of the day I sold about 8 pieces - yay!  I also bumped into a vendor that was at the craft fair the day before and she mentioned that the traffic was much less than previous years.  That sure made me feel a bit better!

Cons:  The picture seems pretty bright, but actually I could have used some lighting to make things sparkle.  The church was very cool about letting us move around pictures and furniture, so I know I could have found an outlet somewhere to brighten things up. 

Trunk Show:  This is the one that is hardest to write about, because it involves my friends, and occurred at the end of an especially crazy couple of weeks at my "real" job and many kid and family events.  So let's dive into pros and cons:

Pros: It was at my house, so I could set up a couple nights before, and my main food was made in a crock pot - easy peasy.  Everyone that came made a purchase, and I had set up a simple bangle project, inspired by Kerry Bogert's Totally Twisted, that everyone enjoyed doing.  NOTE:  The Coiling Gizmo never ceases to amaze people and everyone wants to play.

Cons:  The date I picked ended up not getting me many positive RSVPs, and some of the try-and-make-its didn't.  I SO UNDERSTAND crazy schedules, please do not take this as a criticism.  I just wish I had a couple more folks there so that it had more of a party vibe than a couple-girlfriends-hanging-out vibe. 

As I put some time into thinking it through this weekend (Emma had a soccer tourney at a field about 45 minutes away - which we traveled to 3 times - plenty of thinking time) I realized that I am not sure if I am cut out for selling what I make.  And I am not being fair to myself and my family because I am attempting to establish a small home business while I have a MORE THAN FULL TIME JOB.  I mean, seriously, no wonder I am stressed and tired.   I think I was hoping that the jewelry making business would take off like gang busters because I am looking for a solid reason to leave behind the Air Force. 

Being in the Air Force has given me plenty of professional opportunities, paid for my undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, allowed me to live and work in foreign countries, put me in the right spot at the right time to meet the love of my life, and has provided complete medical coverage for my entire family.  But right now I commute 45 minutes each way to work in an office where my main task is to create, coordinate and review briefings and e-mails - ugh.  Even so, I owe it to the Air Force and my co-workers to give it my full (work week :-)) attention.

So I intend to keep making, designing and learning about jewelry in my off time, and quit worrying about sales so much.  When I expressed to my husband/CFO that I had wanted sales to help justify my expenses, he told me, "Don't worry about it - it's not so much."  Is it any wonder I love him?

If you are still with me thanks for reading.  I am off to the "studio" to work on Christmas presents and Margie and Me


  1. Congrats on all three events. So much in a short time period. Both of the craft fairs looked great (great location on the second one) and your set ups looked perfect. Love the blue covering! The trunk show sounds fun, and hey, getting together with friends is always fun! :) I have to get one of those coiling gizmos! Love your hubby! :)

  2. I think what is most important is that you learned from all the experiences. One of the things I'm doing this year is scoping out events so that I have an idea of which ones are worth applying to next year. I only did one event and it was a sucess for me. I lucked out because we had horrible foot traffic but because I was the only one selling jewelry AND I could take credit cards I did very well. Just keep going!

  3. Wish sales had been better for you. Jewelry can be a hard sell these seems like everybody beads. But my friends and family love their gifts.

  4. Hey Elizabeth!

    Hang in there! Craft fairs can be brutal. It can be a lot of time spent for only a little return in sales. I'm rooting for ya!

    I've been to a few shows and I've noticed a lot of jewelry makers diversify their offerings to increase sales: Finished pieces for those who don't want to make it or are looking for a gift, complete kits at a lower price for those who'd like to make it, and supplies or components you can purchase at wholesale or make yourself and then repackage for resale at a profit.

    Sorry I missed your trunk show :(

    Best wishes for success!!!


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