I had spent about two months planning for the event: crafting items to sell, determining prices, planning my table display, preparing my business cards and shopping bags. It was an exciting process for me, because I have been wanting to participate in this kind of event for at least two years now. I have dragged my feet, asking myself if I really wanted to do it, but truly wondering if I could pull it off.
It all came to fruition at Ashbridge Manor in Downingtown, PA, on Friday evening at the Mom-Hosted Holiday Bazaar:
The first wave of customers were mainly residents of the home where we were holding the event. One woman in her wheelchair proudly told me that she is 93 years old, and that she has so many people in her family now that she doesn't even bother buying them gifts anymore! One elderly man happily told his friends and I the story of how I must have gotten my dimples, from all of my aunts and uncles squeezing my cheeks when I was a little girl (which, of course, he did to me to illustrate his story!). I enjoyed these interactions early in the show.
I didn't make a large number of sales, but I went there ready for any possible level of success, so I didn't feel disappointed. My mother had shared with me a few weeks ago something she read from the book Blink about how people make decisions "in the blink of an eye." Experiments were done at a gourmet food shop where sample jellies were displayed. In the instances where 3 different jars were offered, 30% of the customers purchased one of the products. When 12 jars were available for sampling, only 3% bought anything at all. The theory is that with a small selection of like items, impulse takes over and people buy without really thinking about it (in a blink), but with many varieties of the same type, choosing takes over, people take time to decide which of many is "best" for them, and end up deciding they don't really need any of it. This phenomenon wasn't a one-time experiment -- it's been true many times.
When I heard about that, I knew I might be in trouble! I have just a few of LOTS of different things, rather than lots of a FEW different things. I'm pretty sure I could see the dynamic my mom warned me about playing out at the show. I'm not sure if I'll be able to change that, though! I don't have a lot of interest in just producing lots of the same thing. Something to think about, though, in terms of future success.
The most successful items of the evening were the Scrabble tile and flower gem magnets.
Several people asked about my stitched journal cards, but not a single one of them sold! And no one looked twice or commented on the collaged vintage bottles, which are some of my favorite things!
One of the most commented-upon items were the Gratitude Gift Tag booklets. Many people thought it was such a great idea to start a new holiday tradition where family members record the things they are grateful for that year--something to both keep the purpose of Thanksgiving at the forefront (besides stuffing ourselves with food!) and give something fun to look back on in future years. I only sold a couple of the booklets, though, and I suspect several people figured they could use the idea and fashion something similar for themselves. (I could see the wheels turning in their brains as they looked them over!) Obviously I would have loved the sales, but I enjoyed sharing the ideas quite well, too.
Gratitude Tag Booklets are at the front right of the photo.
I had a wonderful time spending the evening with these other creative and entrepreneurial women who were part of the bazaar with me. I felt proud of myself for tackling a challenge that I have had in place for myself for quite a long time now. I was excited to have earned some money for my handiwork. And I benefited from a number of observations and lessons that will help me, I think, be more successful in future craft shows!
Here's a peek at some of the other wonderful women who were a part of the Mom-Hosted Holiday Bazaar:
Melissa, representing Tastefully Simple: She was our fearless organizer, so generous with her time and talents to get all of this put together!
Meredith, of MerJoy Designs, selling handmade cards and jewelry
Kelly, of Scentsy
Laurie, with her decorated miniature Christmas trees
Kris, with Stampin' Up
Jen, with handmade hair bows for her company Elephants on Parade
This experience has given me the motivation to pursue additional show opportunities in the spring, and I am planning to open an Etsy shop in the new year.