Saturday, December 03, 2011

Playing shop

Less than two weeks ago, Yasu told me he thought it would be a good idea for me to participate in the Holiday Craft Fair at his school. I wasn't so sure because I'd never done something like that before, so I was totally unprepared for an event like that and eleven days did not seem enough time to get ready. But the idea excited me too much not to try it!

Yasu signed me up, and I got to work. Since the craft fair was to be held on his school's campus I knew most of my potential customers would be grad students on a budget, so I wanted to be able to offer them something tiny and affordable. So I minimzed my owl design and this was the result:

The point of participating in the craft fair was to get my product and brand name out there as much as I could, so I wanted to make as many tiny owls as possible. I made even more than fit in this collage below and I was glad I did, because these babies were popular, I sold almost all of them. The four that didn't sell missed out on new homes because they were hiding under one of my display baskets during the fair. Oops! It's okay, they are for sale in my online shop now.

I couldn't just spend my time on sewing new products, I had to think about my the look of my booth as well. I spend a whole day going back an forth between Target, Michaels and the Dollar Tree for items I could use in my table display and for my packaging.

The best thing I did was buy these Christmas trees at Target, because they added eyecatching height to my display. I just added some ornament hooks to be able to hang products on the trees:

I cut up a hot pink corduroy bagpack from Japan and used my sewing machine to turn it into a money pouch fanny pack to have a convenient and safe place to keep my change during the fair. It was the first time I tried something that fancy, and I was quite pleased with the result.

As a customer I'm always uncomfortable asking people for prices, because I don't want to dissapoint them by not buying things when I can't afford it. So I always end up not asking and therefore not buying. I wanted to avoid this at my own booth by making sure everything was clearly priced, so loads of price tags needed to be written!

A great thing about selling things online is that everything stays in clean and in great shape. I didn't like the idea of shoppers' dirty fingers or perhaps children dropping products on the dirty floor. I needed to make sure all creatures were still in great shape after the fair, to be able to welcome them back to the online shop, so I decided to package every single item in a cellophane bag.

To brand each package and look it more professional I wanted good bagtoppers. Just printing my logo in color didn't look very good, so I redid my logo in black and white and it looked so much better printed on colored paper:

I printed so many bagtoppers in different sizes and spend a lot of time cutting them out, punching holes in them (for the price tags to be attached to) and finally stapling them to the cellophane bags. It took a few days but it was well worth it.

I bought a bunch of baskets at the dollar store, but my favorite baskets were the ones I already had at home. All those baskets, except the large brown one, are actually from the Netherlands and were valued enough to move with me to Japan and then here to the States. They're quite well-traveled!

I practiced my display on a small table because organizers weren't sure how large a table I would get at the craft fair:

The last thing I prepared for the craft fair was this plastic table topper to make sure people could find me online for future reference:

Then yesterday, all that stuff had to get from our place to the craft fair. We don't have a car so all of this came with us on public transportation, thankfully most of it was quite light:

I was happy to get a large table to myself, especially since I brought a rather large vinyl banner to decorate my booth. I spread out my display, added some more baskets and this is what it looked like:

It was really fun to play shop like this, and to actually see and hear people's reactions to my creatures!

It was also fun to do this at Yasu's school, because most of our friends showed up and we spent a lot of time chatting and just hanging out, while at the same time making some money.

I can't believe how much I had doing this craft fair! I was so happy there was a second day, and this is what my booth looked like today:

This was so much fun! I'm glad Yasu convinced me to do this, can't wait to do this all again!

2 comments:

Ashley F said...

Those little owls are so cute! Do you make your own ribbon labels?

Louana van Luttervelt said...

I ordered personalized ribbon from Namemaker.com and then cut them into ribbon labels. Quite nice quality and not expensive!