Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Craft Fair

This is how the booth looked at the craft fair at the University of Northern BC over the weekend. The picture is dark because of taking the photo into the light coming through the windows. The advantage of the booth location was that there was lots of natural light.

Doug built the booth structure, and made it so that it collapses and folds down into small boxes, so it transports easily. It's also fairly versatile in that I can have shelves, or hang things from the cross bars. Or both.

The bottom shelf is draped and there is storage underneath. Doug built it to fit our most common packing boxes, so there is lots of room to store over stock in the booth. The boxes for the booth structure generally get taken back out to the van for storage during the fair.

I never do a show without my own supplemental lighting. So often large halls have either dreadful over head lighting, or they are low/no light shows (no overhead lights at all). I was extremely fortunate getting this booth placement as it had both natural light, and access to power for the supplemental lights.

Doug set the booth up so that the scarves could be hung, and the table runners and tea towels were put onto the shelves. The booth was 6 feet by 12, so there was lots of room to set things out so they could be seen.

We also use a tall stool to perch on, rather than sitting in an ordinary chair. We try to stand or perch in order to easily make eye contact with the customers. One of the biggest mistakes I see is a booth set up where the craftsperson is buried in the back of the booth.

During a recent discussion on one of the chat groups I belong to, I said that I cannot afford to give any of my booth space to demo-ing. Many people insisted that part of the job of selling was to educate. I agree! But I do that within the context of discussing the features and benefits of my product, not by dragging a loom into a booth and weaving. In my opinion, if you are weaving in your booth - and educating at that level - you aren't selling. If you strongly feel that you must weave in your booth to educate people, then my recommendation is to have a second person in the booth to handle customer service and write up sales.

This weekend I'll be demo-ing at another craft fair. I haven't decided yet if I will bring my bobbin lace pillow or a spinning wheel. I don't have a small loom that is easily transportable. The local guild will do several demos this fall/winter. Such demos are a great way to talk to people, show them what is involved in the craft, and get people interested in learning more. I'm hoping the guild will offer some classes as they haven't given any weaving classes for a couple of years.

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