Wait! Stop! Before you continue reading, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, pour yourself a glass of ice tea, or mix up a fruit smoothie, and get comfortable. This is going to be a long one.
I’ve been debating over writing this blog post, since my show this past Saturday. I’ve started it, deleted it and started over again, more than once.
I really don’t want to be negative here. I try to focus on the positive, especially concerning my business and this blog. At the same time, I try to be real and honest. And, to be honest, sometimes running one’s own business can be difficult and discouraging.
Every year, for the last 3 years, I’ve participate in a certain show. I had been to the show a few times, as a customer, so when I signed up as a vendor, I felt very certain that I would do well at this show, and for the first two years I did.
This year, however, this particular show was one of the worst shows I have ever participated in. I’m feeling a little discouraged and very disappointed, right now. I spent so much time, effort and money preparing for this show.
So, why was the show so bad? I think it was a combination of factors. I surmise that there were different organizers this year, and some changed policies. It was no longer an Art and Craft show, even though it was still advertised as such. Most shows that I have participated in, the last 4 or 5 years, have had vendors selling Scentsy, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, and so on, which I’m generally okay with. I still do well at shows where these items are sold. Of course, I don’t know if I would be okay with it, if I hand made candles. Not only were these type of vendors at this show, but there was more than one of each kind, which I’ve never participated in a show where this was allowed. But, the difference this year were all of the vendors selling cheap, imported items, much like you would expect to find at a flea market.
The most detrimental part of the show, for me, was the vendor across the isle who sold cheap, imported jewelry for $5. There were big, hot pink, “Everything for $5” signs all over her booth. The least expensive thing in my booth was $6, and that was for little bezel charms. So, you can imagine most people's reaction, when they were in my booth, looking at a necklace for $38, and then seeing her signs. I have set up booths at flea markets before and expect this kind of thing there. I know what I am getting into and I prepare for it. I was blindsided Saturday. I have never had to deal with this at an Art and Craft show, and I was not prepared for it.
If I had to guess, I would say there were between 125 and 150 booths at this show. Maybe, 20 of them were actually handmade, art and craft booths. The rest were cheap imports or branded, mass produced products. Most of the customers who attended this show were not buying, and those that were, bought from the import booths. This is such a drastic change from years past.
On a more positive note, I did sell a few items. The ones who bought from me, seemed to really appreciate that my items were artisan made, and seemed very frustrated with the decline of the show.
So where does this leave me now? I don’t have any more shows scheduled for the rest of the year. In fact, I’ve decided to stop doing shows for the next two or three years. I let myself get so crazed and stressed the two weeks before a show, that I neglect my home and my family. My husband is wonderful and pitches in when he can, but between work and school, his schedule is pretty full. I have my hands full with my Etsy Shop and my Web Shop, and I have the most wonderful customers in the world. So, although I will miss meeting customers face to face and getting to sell my creations in person, I believe this is the right decision for me, right now.
Now, my focus will be on loading all of my new jewelry and Patchwork Clay Designs into my Web Shop, over the next couple of weeks. I also have some new charms that I will be listing in my Etsy Shop.
Here is a little preview of what will be available. Please forgive the pictures. I’m still working on the best way to photograph the Patchwork Clay Designs.
Have a great week.
Love and Peace,