I did it! I was a vendor at a craft fair for the first time. The town we live in has an annual Christmas event run by the Kiwanis Club. It’s a day long holiday festival complete with a parade, a craft fair, photos with Santa, music & dance performances, delicious food and the selling of Christmas Trees. It’s been going on for about 31 years and it is something that our town is very proud of. It is called Christmas On The Common. The food and parade are held outdoors and the rest is held inside the high school. I’ve always been a fan of the craft fair that takes place and I thought it would be fun and educational for me to vend there. I contacted the man in charge of the vendors and he sent me a contract to fill out. The price of a table space was $50 which I found to be reasonable. We did have to bring our own tables and chairs which seemed to be something new. The school decided not to supply them this year for some reason.
I spent many days preparing and packing for the fair. I made a master packing list and just kept piling things in the dining room until the morning of the event. The doors opened at 7:15 for vendors to set up. The fair opened at 9am and ran until 3pm. The set up went well. It took two cars to get everything there and one extra trip that Greg made for a card table and table cloth. We got inside and quickly realized that everyone else had two tables and two were really needed in order to not be cluttered. I also quickly found that my table banner was about 6″ too tall for the table. Thanks to duct tape, we got that “hemmed”. I received the banner as a free gift for reviewing the banner company awhile back.
Here is how my table and displays looked once I was finished setting up…
I had one clothes rack that I covered with a table cloth and pinned the quilt samples to. I now realize that I should have had two racks so I could display more of the quilts. People really enjoyed looking at the samples and I easily could have fit two racks behind me.
A few days before the fair, I embroidered this apron for myself and I’m glad I did as I seemed more professional with it on.
I brought two chairs along but I never sat in them. The girls were performing that day in the parade and in the auditorium and so in between events, they would come sit with me at the table. I didn’t mind standing though as it was much easier to talk to customers standing. The stream of people was constant all day long. However, the next day I felt like I had somehow pulled every muscle in my body.
Here are some pictures from both sides of the gym where the fair was held…
Other vendors were selling candles, jewelry, pillow cases, wreaths, wine bottles with lights inside, soaps, ornaments, Avon, Scentsy, artwork, scarves and sweatshirts. I felt unique in the sense that no one else was selling patterns or advertising classes. I made it a point to ask each person who came up to the table if they quilted or sewed. I had so many conversations with people by doing this. I heard all kinds of stories about quilting and early attempts at sewing. It was fun and I had a segue to recruiting for beginner sewing lessons. I’m not sure how many Coffee & Quilting postcards I handed out but it was a lot! I also had sign up sheet for the newsletter which I forgot about until midway through. I was able to get some names and email addresses for the next round of newsletters that I send out. I’m not sure how many people will sign up for a Coffee & Quilting session but even if it’s only one, that’s a good start.
I was glad I brought some waters and snacks as outside food from the carts (hamburgers, etc) were not allowed in the gym. I had protein bars and snack crackers packed that I ate. I could have run out for something to eat and left Greg and the girls at the table but I really didn’t want to miss a minute of the fair. I paid for that later in the day with a massive migraine.
It turned out to be a profitable day for me. I had advance sales of the Frozen make up bags which covered the cost of the table space and then I made a couple hundred dollars in sales. I also had an order waiting for me when I got home in my email from someone who couldn’t attend the fair.
I went into this thinking that even if I didn’t sell a single item, that I would have had a good time and that I would have learned something. I learned a lot on Saturday and the goal of getting my name and the business name out to the community was achieved. I’m calling it a success!
Here is a pdf file of my vending packing list. It might be helpful to you if you are thinking of vending a show.
Vending Packing List