Sunday, June 03, 2007

ASCB: Download

Overall opinion? It was a worthwhile experience. Did I make a ton of cash? Definitely not. Will I have to rethink my craft strategy? Possibly. But it was a blast!

First, a few pictures of my setup. I am really pleased with what I pulled together! I felt like a seasoned pro!

And here's little ole me, so proud of my table:

I'll try not to gab too much about the happenings of the event. But I will mention the fact that I had some great neighbors. On one side were Kelly and boyfriend, R.J., who came all the way from Key West! R.J. kept Rob entertained with baseball talk. And on our other side were Virginia of de*nada design and boyfriend Kelly. They were awesome, and I ended up getting one of Virginia's gorgeous bags. These folks really made our experience a great one!

Onto the show.

Disappointment #1: My cards are not a hot item. I thought my boxed sets were going to sell out. Might have been a little optimistic, but I only had two strangers buy a boxed set. The four others I sold were to friends and family. That leaves me with about 38 left over.

Disappointment #2: I only sold one pack of buttons. They are $2, what the heck! And I only sold three sets of gift tags. I really don't think the prices threw anyone off, so I'm left thinking that maybe people just aren't interested in my stuff. Maybe it's boring. Maybe people are only interested in t-shirts and jewelry. Who knows. I love crafting. And I love making cards and gift tags and other fun paper goods, but should I even bother? That's a whole other post though.

However, my certificates of awesomeness (and hilarity, brilliance, and gorgeousness) were well received. Funny since I wasn't even going to bring them. Thank goodness I did. I feel like I should be making funny or kitschy goods in order to get any attention.

Besides a little (and I mean little) bit of cash, I came away with some great stuff!

First, like I mentioned earlier, I got a bag from de*nada design. So cute, and it just happened to match the shirt I wore today.

(photo courtesy of de*nada design)

I also picked up the Cancerpants Journal from If'n Books + Marks, which I had been wanting for a little while. Love their stuff!

(photos courtesy of if'n books and marks)

I couldn't resist this one. Tomoko from TADworks is the sweetest woman ever, and her creations are adorable! So I picked up this little Taddie as a gift for my ping pong loving hubby.

(photo courtesy of TADworks)

Also, being a paper lover, I have a soft spot for cute stationery. Got this Good on Paper notepad (the one on the left) from lovely lady, Annie, of Imogene.

(photo courtesy of Good on Paper)

And finally, I was lucky enough to finagle a little trade with the remarkable Kellie of My Favorite Mirror! I was really excited about this one. I ended up picking out 5 pocket mirrors! Like anyone is really that vain. I'll just keep one in each purse.

(photos courtesy of My Favorite Mirror)

Seriously, how much does that one with the glasses look like me? Totally.

So, that's pretty much it. The best part? The people, by far. The worst part? Questioning my purpose in the craft world, but ya know. It happens. I'd like to think the weather (sweltering heat on Saturday, rain on Sunday) kept away my potential buyers. But now I have a ton of inventory which I plan to use it on swaps. Any of you crafters out there wanna trade???

Here's me, soaked, on the way home. I'm ready for a good night's sleep and a craft-free week!


zenzhetty said...

Your setup looked amazing ! You shouldnt question your craftability! Maybe it just wasn't the right craft fair. Maybe your items here too high end for the event? I would try paper shops, the ones that sell top of the line goods. Your stuff is lovely! Just find the right outlet!

Donna said...

Hey, this was your first show, right? Don't be so hard on yourself! I think your cards are pretty awesome (everything is!)and your set up looks great. Maybe you weren't charging *enough* for your things? I can't remember what you said you were charging for stuff, but sometimes low prices can have the opposite effect on people (instead of "hey! That's cheap, I want to buy!", they go "Hmm, she's only charging $2 for that? It must not be anything..."

People are weird. I think you have a really awesome and unique line of cards, so keep at it!

mrs.bsdstudio said...

Good job! Don't get discouraged. We're always surprised by what ends up being popular - it's almost never what we expect. And I'm betting that your gift tags will be a hot item once it's closer to gift-giving season. Mother's day is done and gone, Christmas is a ways away, and no one is thinking about gifting right now.
Don't give up! Your stuff is fab!

lew! said...

Well, don't get dicouraged Mel! It's your first show it might take a little time to get going. Your, stuff is great! Everyone one the forum loves it too.

Plus now you have stock, you won't have to go crazy for the next show.

What kind of crowds are there? Buttons seems like a younger thing maybe.

In Chicago there is the handmade market ( that is directed more at the "hipster" crowd. Maybe there is something similar in your area.

Or maybe outdoor art/neighborhood festivles.

snoopy said...

I think you're my kindred spirit! I too question my role in the craft shows selling stationery. It seems to me that paper goods rarely do as well as say, jewelry or tees. Your things are awesome, lovely and fun and it's a bummer that they didn't sell out. I got that Bruce Baker CD that the Switchboards gals rave about and it really has helped sales, but perhaps not enough to make the shows worthwhile (from a immediate profit perspective) enough to continue. But chin up! Craft shows are a definitely a learning experience and great for networking, spreading brand awareness, and getting customer feedback.

And your table display is great!

I love all the goodies you came away with, especially the Cancerpants Journal.

kat said...

I agree with everyone! It's not your product that is a problem, it's the avenue! Your stuff is terrific and maybe the this particular craftfair wasn't the best fit for you.

You did score some great stuff + met some great people :)

Beebee Mod™ said... awesome everything looked. I give you an a+ for that and it would make me want to buy a bunch of things. Congrats on your first craft fair!

Julieta said...

Do NOT give up! I agree with what everyone else has already said. It's not you, it's the avenue. You designs are modern, graphic, elegant, and upscale looking in a very approachable (not stuffy or formal!) sort of way. If that makes any sense! But look around at what you typically see at craft shows: young, funny, kitschy, irreverent... It's a fun market and a current market, but I don't think it's a market that best appreciates your style. Case in point: the success of your award certificates! Totally fun & kitschy! AND, look at what you yourself bought! Put your products next to the products you bought and you can see the disconnect between the two styles. Two totally different, but equally awesome, styles. Again--great product wrong market.

To be honest, I don't get the button resurgence. But, that's probably because I'm old enough to remember when buttons were popular the first time around. lol. But, your buttons I actually like! Most of the buttons I see are humorous or have some sort of message. Yours don't--they are just a simple punch of graphic style. So, from that perspective, I can see why people wouldn't really know what to do with them. You have to show them what to do with your buttons! When I first saw them I thought they would be perfect as a center accent on a gift wrapped package.

Whether you realize it or not, your style is more upscale. You just need to find upscale venues and you'll see your sales go up!

Don't forget the well respected people who think you're stuff rocks and the endless comments I get on my own logo!! These people are not people that normally go to craft fairs. Go find them!

Jhpapers said...

I am so proud of you and all you did. I agree with everyone about it not beign your items, but the venue. I think it was even billed as being a little off-beat and I think one of the main reasons they selected you is that you brought something differnet and unique to the show.. I would look into some other events and such. your going to do great. With all your extra inventory you should put it on etsy

Patricia said...

I think you did a great job!! Ditto to what everyone said. Your presentation is amazing and your products are very well designed. Congrats on doing so well on your first time out! :)

Maria said...

Mel, I totally agree with Julieta

"It's not you, it's the avenue. You designs are modern, graphic, elegant, and upscale looking in a very approachable (not stuffy or formal!) sort of way...But look around at what you typically see at craft shows: young, funny, kitschy, irreverent."

Your display is A++. The attention to detail on your packaging is excellent. And the designs are eye-catching, attractive and lovely.

I applaud you for being able to pull this off with about a month's leadtime. It's not easy accomplishing what you did. And now you're all set up and ready for other opportunities, so the next one will be so much easier.

You also have inventory, so if a more upscale paper shop wants to carry your line, you have stock for them.

Congratulations on your first big craft show! I'm very impressed, and I hope you'll revel in your accomplishments!!!

Jen said...

Don't get discouraged from just one show. I've been doing shows for about 4 years now and some are good and some are not so good and I'm always suprised by which is which. I think your stuff is great especially after seeing it in person. If you are into doing a trade for an ad spot on Indie Fixx, just give me a holla.

Erin McCall said...

Hey Mel:

Thanks for posting your photos. Everything looks awesome. I am taking your thoughts and others' comments with me as I prepare for my first craft show in July... If my set-up looks 50% as good as yours I'll be pleased. You are so well organized!!!

Erin (Sunlit Media)

erinn said...

I agree with Julieta. I think your stuff is more upscale and less "rough around the edges artsy" (for lack of a better term). And Northern Liberties in Philly is still very "rough around the edges". I don't know anything about the stationery industry...but there a couple of nice stationery shops in West Chester, PA. Maybe they would be interested! Love my keychain, BTW.

miss.supafly said...

Holy cow! I meant to leave a comment this morning when you only had like 7 comments, and here I am in the afternoon and you've got twice as many!

By now, I have nothing new to input. I pretty much second what everyone else has said. Your stuff belongs in cute boutiques and shops. Have you thought about doing NSS next year?

My company does a craft bazaar every year, and every year I slave over making the cutest, most professional looking little booth for it... AND every year I see people buying up the jewelry, food, and random (poorly) handmade goods.

Anyway, your stuff is gorgeous -- don't let this be reason to question that! Enjoy relaxing from craftiness for a bit!

PS - I adore that picture of you! You seem to be one of those people who can't take a bad picture, even if you're trying to! ;)

DavidSniderDesignStudio said...

Mel, This is David from HOW. Great stuff for sure. I agree with what everyone has been saying. Maybe consider in the future to come to one of the largest craft and arts shows in the nation here in Louisville. It's the
It is just crazy packed with people from all over.

Anyway love your stuff. good Luck in future shows.

sooziebee said...


I can only echo what everyone else has said, maybe it wassn't the right place and you should go for a more statonary kind of event next time. Your stuff is lovely, so DO NOT DOUBT YOURSELF me dear!! Have a rest and a good think about future strategies and come back to it feeling all renewed and fresh. Whenever I have a bit of a down blip like you have had I always try to turn it on its head and look at the positive things I have learned, and make it into +++ves that you can turn to your advantage! It's hard sometimes but it works! Take care and keep up the good work!!


Mary said...

Don't get discouraged! I could totally see your stuff being sold in stores around here! I don't know how all of this stuff goes, but I know that places like Atlanta have buyers markets where you show up with your stuff and shop owners come through and decide to buy some of your stuff for their shops...
Maybe try that kind of thing?? I think you'd have a market down here. I know of two shops in my town that would totally be interested in your cute products!

tomoko said...

Melissa- I'm a bit late on commenting for this post and people have given you great advice. What I wanted to say is... Your cards are gorgeous and totally unique! And you've got clever ideas. As I stood at your great looking booth, I saw so much potential!

(AND you survived the bazaar which had every possible weather (except for blizzard)!)

laura said...

hey there, don't be so hard on yourself! we met for half a second, i was fisk and fern, down the way from you...your display looked totally amazing - i cannot believe that was your first show. i struggle so much with layout, especially for little cards, so wow! also, don't feel down on yourself, i think your line is really beautiful and interesting, who cares if it's not edgy (honestly that gives you more reach anyway)! it's a unique voice. Overall the fair wasn't allll that crowded, probably because of the heat, so don't get down because of low sales. I struggle too with being fully confident in my product, but we have to be! oh make you feel first show (only last year) at handmade arcade i had like oh, 50 sets of christmas cards, and maybe 5 packs sold. i was really bummed (apparently no one buys xmas in november). every one of these is a learning experience - so feel good you did it and it's just the first step! :)

Liz said...

Your stuff looks awesome, your tent and tables and set up: beautiful and fun. Don't be discouraged! I have done craft fairs selling any number of different things (whatever I was into at the time, and that has changed a lot) and some fairs are great, and some are disappointing and disheartening.

Your work is great! Just keep a-going, and try to get feedback from other paper designers while at craft fairs about other fairs that have worked for them. Sometimes the best thing about doing a craft fair is the other artists and designers you will meet.

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Hope you like them!

Thanks again for the trade!

Valerie said...

Like everyone else, I say your stuff is awesome, and DO NOT doubt yourself based on sales from a single show. There are a trillion factors that go into the success of every show, and I doubt that anybody has the formula figured out!

Your booth looked amazing and your products are beautiful. I can't believe this was your first show! I hope to see you at more in the future. :)

Cherry Runway said...

I'm about two months late, but since i go through the same funk every couple months from a blog readers point of view it's kind of nice to see other people feel the same thing i do. Never ever give up though, if art is in your veins you most likley can't give up anyways. :) Just keep on treking and eventually something amazing will happen in a blink of an eye. You'll think back on this icky show and laugh. Craft on!