Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Craft Show Recap – Ben Davis Homespun Holiday

So it finally happened.  I had a big letdown of a craft show experience.  Intellectually, I knew it would happen at some point, but it still stunk.  I didn’t even get to play with my dongle, for heaven’s sake!

11 23 10 ben davis table detail 

Let me preface this by saying the show itself was run BEAUTIFULLY.  It was organized so well – the band kids helped unload my stuff, they had free coffee and bagels, the tables and chairs were all set up when I got there.  They even delivered lunch to my booth!  Sadly, this does not translate to people fighting each other to buy Crayon Aprons and Necktie Bibs.

I got there at 7:30-ish (the show started at 9) and set up my table.  It was kind of a challenge to fit everything onto 10 feet of table space, so I put out one of each design and kept extra stock under the table.  Here’s my first indoor setup:

11 23 10 ben davis show table 

My husband had the awesome idea of making the clothesline.  It’s just two blocks of wood clamped to the table – he drilled holes in each to hold the dowels, then cut a slit in the top of each dowel to hold the clothesline.  I think it adds lots of height and makes my table stand out.  I had to ransack my house to find display props.  That’s the stand I usually keep my produce on with the burp cloths on it, and the white boxes are usually scrap fabric storage.

I had a couple people come by right away and buy a few things (all with twenties, I might add – I had my sister bring me extra change, thinking the day would go on that way).  Then nothing.  Nada.  A couple browsers, mostly of the “Oh, I sew!  I can make all of this!” type.  I sat there for six hours, staring at the bejeweled Colts gear across the hall from me, making small talk with the very nice cupcake lady next to me.

11 23 10 ben davis clothesline 

I think this show just wasn’t the right one for me.  There were a LOT of old-school crafts like crochet doilies and glittery plastic Christmas decorations.  There was also a lot of food-mix stuff and baked goods.  There's nothing wrong with any of those things, but I guess the people that shop at those booths don't necessarily shop at mine.

So after subtracting my booth fee, my hotdog lunch, and the cute earrings I bought from the girl next to me, I made a whopping $27.  I shut down my Etsy shop during shows, so had I kept that open I probably would have made that much anyway.  Oh, well.  It’s a learning process, right?

Anybody else had a bummer of a show before?  I can’t wait for the Handmade Promenade show in a few weeks so I can go back to feeling happy about shows.  I just know it’s gonna be a good one!


  1. Aw I'm sorry your show wasn't what you hoped for!!! But at least you made $27 better than nada (I know totally annoying but I'm trying to have an optimistic outlook these days ;)

  2. You work is so beautiful, it just wasn't the right venue for you. Don't be disappointed -- look at it as a rehearsal in setting up your booth for the next GREAT show you're going to have!

    Next weekend I travel to NC for my daughter's baby shower with your beautiful bib, booties and burp cloth safely tucked in my suitcase! Thanks so much!

  3. Sam, it paid for pizza for the fam Saturday night, so that's good, right? :)

    Wylie, I'm so excited to hear if your daughter likes the gift! And that's a good point that it was set-up rehearsal. I also have less to make before the next show, so that's a plus!

  4. Sam, clothesline=genius! Good job on the display:) I can totally envision what the rest of that gymnasium looked like with their "granny-crafts"; you poor thing! You're simply too good for Ben Davis!

    Hannah and I did our first (and only, to date) craft show last year around this time. It was outdoors, the winds threatened to knock down our tent every five minutes (we had to get VERY creative), and we were trying to sell our art and photography (this was before we started sewing). I sold one woodcut print and I think Hannah sold 3 photos. We *may* have broke even, with the tent fee and all, I just don't remember. All I remember is that we haven't done it since.

    Having said all that... I think we would do it again (we just don't have enough inventory for the holidays this year) and considered it a very cold and windy dress rehearsal. There are a bunch of Craft Shows in the StL this season; we hope to hit up a few to see what they're like and to see if we'd fit in with them for next year. Have fun at the Handmade Promenade!

  5. Emily, you should come back here and do the Rocky Ripple Fest! Wouldn't it be fun to come back to your old stomping grounds?

    The fact that it was indoors did make things a little more tolderable - I can't imagine fighting the wind this time of year! I can't complain, really. The first two shows were both more successful than I hoped so one crappy one isn't so bad.

  6. I felt your pain reading your blog. When I first started selling my frames, I made something like 20 frames for a holiday bazzar, sat at it for 8 hours, and ended up selling 1 - to the woman at the booth next to me. It was such a major let down. But on the bright side, it gave me mega inventory to then give to my first consignment shop! So there was a silver lining!

    I thought of you when I went to a bazzar a few weeks ago. I had gotten info to be a vendor in it but didn't want to do it just because of the above reason. But when I went to it, it was totally a place that I could have done well - and you too! I told them I wanted to be on the mailing list next year so I'll forward you the info next year. It was at some church in Carmel with very classy, chic stuff.

    I miss our craft nights! Hope you're doing well. I might have to get a couple of bibs from you in the spring for baby #3! :)

  7. OMG, Megan, CONGRATS!! And I'd love to hear about that bazaar!

    Unfortunately I think Craft Night was meeting the same fate as Bunco. Julie and Hilary both asked me about it - I think I'll try and start it back up after the holidays.

  8. Sam, it paid for pizza for the fam Saturday night, so that's good, right? :)

    Wylie, I'm so excited to hear if your daughter likes the gift! And that's a good point that it was set-up rehearsal. I also have less to make before the next show, so that's a plus!


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