All of my fairy doors, fairy houses, fairy dolls, scented bookmarks, dryer balls, and other magical creations are available in my etsy shop! Click on the images to learn more about each one!
About a month ago, my awesome friend and equally fantastic local artist, Jessica from Jessie J Inspiration's invited me to include some of my items in her booth at Her Royal Majesty Steampunk Expo at the Queen Mary. It was a three day event and from that experience we learned a few tricks and tips.
This weekend she and I are booth buddies once more at Whiskey Flat Days in Kernville (and there really is no better person to share with than Jess) While this is not exactly an Expo, it is a multi-day event with a clear theme, so many of these tips and tricks apply. Two weeks following, her and I will be at the Long Beach Comic Expo, and maybe I'll blog about a few more things we learn along the way.
But for now, here is what we learned and will be applying to our upcoming events:
After a fantabulous event at the Torrance Craftsmen’s Guild, my best event yet, where I not only made yet another customer cry (this time over the Rosemary Remembrance Fairy Pillow), but also had repeat customers from a year ago, I’m gearing up for more upcoming events, not only the last ones for the year, but also for next year as well. As my calendar starts to fill up, I’m planning and brainstorming products and production time for each individual event.
It helps, of course, to take certain factors into consideration when planning and brainstorming, such as themes for the event and close by holidays that potential customers could be shopping for. Four days at Whisky Flats means a lot of product, but also going western and vintage! Two days two weeks later at the Long Beach Comic Expo means comic and superhero related items and plenty of product for that event as well! Then there’s the bee themed HMSB Spring Boutique in April and the Torrance Craftsmen’s Guild Spring Event (If you couldn’t come for the holiday craft faire, here’s your second chance for the year)! Before all of that, I have to restock for the upcoming HMSB Holiday Boutique in two weeks. Needless to say, I’ll be busting my butt and cranking out as much as I can! The excitement really helps!
So, what to make first? Well, my most recent upcoming event is the Holiday Boutique. I need to focus my attention on restocking the raggle taggle fairy dolls, some doors, and plenty of ornaments. A few new fairy houses will be needed for any repeat customers (cue wink and fingers crossed). After that is a small event at a local school, but it is only a six foot table space and any product left over from the HMSB boutique can be used there. That gives approximately two months to build up inventory for Whisky Flats (this will be the longest event I have ever done) and the Comic Expo. Arguably for every comic and superhero related item I make, I should make two items for Whisky Flats.
This begs the question; do I put out the superhero and comic products I have already made at one of the events before the comic expo? Or, to be fully prepared for that event, do I put them to the side? By putting it off to the side, am I running the risk that I could lose out on a sale? To Spiderman or not to Spiderman, that is the question.
At both the Comic Expo and Whisky Flat Days I am sharing with Jessie’s Custom Greetings again. We have both agreed that our comic and superhero products will be put off to the side for Whisky Flats due to the events being so close together. These are not easy decisions to make, but it feels really great to have to make these types of decisions.
How am I, of all people, going to keep this all straight? Why, piles, of course! I have the start of my Whisky Flats piles, currently, two fairy dolls. I have a pile for the Comic Convention, both doors and ornaments, and soon to be Gotham Fairy House (keep an out for upcoming pictures)! I’m rearing to go! And now that I’ve celebrated this bursting of excitement with all of you, I’m going to get back to work! Wish me luck!
Selling at events is a bit of a double edged sword for handmade small business entrepreneurs, especially when it comes to products and inventory. As I’m gearing up for the last couple of shows for the year, the next event being only two weeks away, the pressure is on. Or, at least, that’s the way it feels. It’s sort of the equivalent of test anxiety, the ever prevalent preparedness anxiety. Do you have enough change? Do you have everything needed for your set up? Do you need to make signs? What about tags and business cards? And then there is your inventory, which without a doubt is the most important aspect of craft fairs and shows. If you don’t have anything to sell, everything else becomes moot.
I’m starting to pack everything up, if only to get the small growing Fairy House Village and piles of fairy doors off my floor and bookshelves (I can actually make it to my window now and no, that is not an exaggeration). Products to go down to the car are piled on my bed and seeing it all piled up and trying to pack everything has led to a startling discovery. Holy, handmade! I, for the first time since starting my business, have an actual inventory! It’s not quite at The Seeds of Inspiration level, mind you, but I have more fairy dolls and fairy doors than can fit in their respective bins!
How on earth did this happen? Here’s where the rejoicing meets a bit of rain clouds. The past several events have not been the greatest for me sales wise. This has left me with a larger than normal inventory. Enter the double edged sword.
At an event, there are always two ways to view sales and the lack there of. That is to say, you have a great event, sold a lot, woo hoo, cue the tap dancing penguins! But the celebration never last long because, oh (insert frustrated expletive), now you need to make more inventory. And during this time of year, with events closer together, that does not provide a lot of time to rebuild the number of products to make this next show just as great.
On the flip side of that, you have the piles of fairy products on your bed and shouting ‘holy handmade’ at the top of your lungs. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t take the sting out of the bad shows of the past. You still need to listen to some feel-good-music, eat some ice cream, while watching a great tear-jerker of a movie to lick the wounds, but there is still that feeling of elation that at this next event, my booth will be bursting with product, and I’ll still have enough to restock.
We, handmade small business entrepreneurs, struggle with this double edged sword for every event. While the celebrations might always seem short lived, there is something to be said for our determination and perseverance when met with this blade.
On Fairy Wings and Acorn Hats
The magic behind it all!