Posts Tagged 'craft fairs'

Inventory on Fair Days

Last year, I started deactivating the bags in my shop that I was bringing with me to events. I liked that there were still items in my shop to view, but that nothing could be double sold. But the process of deactivating 100 or so listings every week is time consuming, and then there is the matter of getting the unsold inventory back in the shop quickly. Sometimes I would removed sold bags throughout the day and reactive everything else right from my phone at the end of the event, but other times I wouldn’t get to it until the following Monday.

For this year, I’m going to test shutting down the whole shop just prior to the start of the event. I’ll hopefully have time during the event to delete sold items form inventory, and then reopen the full shop at the end of the day.

I’m thinking I’ll save time during the week on “Fair Prep” and will have more time for sewing and fabric design. It also takes significantly less time to press one button and reactive a shop than it does to reactive 75ish listings individually.

To combat people thinking that my shop is on a permanent vacation, I’ll add a note to the shop announcement explaining what fair I’m at, how long it is, and when to expect the shop to reopen with full inventory.

My first fair of the year is THIS SATURDAY! So I’ll have the first wave of research in less than a week from now.

How do you handle Etsy shop inventory when you have a fair or a market?

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Craft Fairs and personal doubts

March was the time to seek out summer long Craft Fairs and Farmer’s Markets since most applications needed to be in by the beginning of April. I found a few that interested me, that I thought would be a good fit for me and my bags. I know that the best thing for my business is to get involved in them. But I doubted myself.

I was/ still am afraid of shelling out the application fee, usually$10-$25, and then nothing coming of it. Waiting to hear back it tough-will they keep my application fee and let me down easy? Or will they invite me to pay another $250+ to become a weekly participant?  And if I’m accepted, I’m locked in. I struggle to explain what I do to PEOPLE I KNOW, and now I’ll have to talk to strangers? And convince them that buying my bags is money well spent?

I missed the deadline for the Norwich Farmers’ Market, but printed the applications for the Hanover Farmers’ Market (Wednesdays), Lebanon Farmers’ Market (Thursdays), and the Windsor Farmers’ Market (Saturdays), as well as a couple one-day fairs. I’d still have time during the week to sew, and I’d have a nice little schedule.

I sent in my Hanover application, and held off on Windsor. Their deadline is the week before it starts, at the end of May, and my boyfriend was deciding if he wanted to share table space with me. I was more reluctant about Lebanon. They only accept 5 crafters, and if your materials are local or you can provide a demonstration you take precedence over the other applicants. Neither apply to me. Plus, the application fee was more expensive, and I was worried about losing the money. I didn’t end up applying to that one.

I heard back from Hanover last week and I was not accepted. I was disappointed and relieved. I wouldn’t have to put my self on display every Wednesday, but I also wouldn’t get the exposure from the summer tourists I was hoping for. I’m still waiting to hear from Windsor, which I’ve been the most hopeful about.

I’m not good at selling myself, or my work. I’m not good at talking to people about myself and not wringing my hands or picking my nails. I trip over my words while I try to describe my process as accurately as possible. Here are some actual things I have said at craft fairs:

“All these bags are handmade! Well, with a sewing machine. I use my hands though, to, ugh, push the fabric, well guide it, uhm, through the machine… I make the patterns, with my hands…”

“I create everything myself in my studio! Well, it’s more like a work space, in my home. So I keep my desk in the living room and that’s where… I do all my work at my desk. In my living room. I don’t have pets!”

“I, well, I just sort of… When I get an idea, I have to work it out, like, I test everything I make. I want it to be durable, and I use the things I make… Not these ones, I mean I have my own to use, that I made. That are like these ones, like different versions of these ones. You can put them in the washing machine.”

And I always forget who I already saw and talked to and will ALWAYS say, “Hi, how are you?” every time someone passes by my table/tent/display. A couple years, I did a fair at a school with my friend and we were set up in the entry way. Everyone who went in had to come out again, and if they went back in we saw them even more! I remember one woman who was visibly annoyed that I kept saying hello to her. OH, OOPS. What if this happens at Windsor?! What if the same people come back every week for veggies and I just keep saying hi to them as if I have never seen them before?!

I know, deep down, that this will be a great opportunity and I will overcome my self-questioning. Well, hopefully. Anyway, I still need to hear back from the Windsor market before I get myself ALL in a tizzy.

Fair bags!

Two weeks ago when I did that craft fair in Orleans I realized I needed bags to put my bags in because people like to buy things and then put them into bags.

I realized this when a woman bought one and said, “That’s ok. I don’t need a bag for this.”

And I said, “Oh good because I don’t have any!”

She kind of gave me a funny look and I had to reflect on what I said / think about how to get my hands on some bags, man! After some serious thought, I realized my only option would be to make my own (obvi should not have required serious thought).

I used StazOn ink because it stays on everything, my Tragic Whale Stamp (crafted from another stamp), the whale stamp Ryan got me, and a pack of plain bags (Michael’s, $6.99).

Stamped one bag. Loved it.

Repeated 13 times. Splayed them out all over my floor to dry.

Took a close up shot because I think it’s super cute.

And now I’m set! This Saturday while I’m pushing my wares in Yarmouth I’ll confidently be able to ask, “Would you like a bag for that?”


Hello, I’m Kerry! Maker. Sewist. Fan of all things bright.

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It's Fluff! Curious, master napper, likes to try new veggies.

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