Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Finally - the Craft Sale...

***This is my second post for today... for a chance to win Pink Persimmon stamps, scroll down or click here***

It took a year of planning and preparation, lots of guesswork, lots of debate and a whole lot of paper, but finally, we had our craft sale! You have all been so encouraging and supportive, and I can't thank you enough for all your wonderful optimism and faith! So many of you asked to see pictures of our set up, and I have learned a thing or two after selling for three days, so here it is... the set up, the good, the bad and the surprises...

I'll start with our table. Because this was our first show, we didn't want to spend a fortune on set up, but I had a pretty clear vision in my mind what I wanted it to look like (and Shirley is kind enough to just humour me). I wanted it to compliment my blog, since I was using my name and logo to market our goods. So I knew it had to be shabby and vintage, and I wanted to keep it light in colours, so that the paper goods would take center stage.

Now that we know we'll do this again (more on that...), I have a few things I would like to add to the table. I'll make a bunting to hang on the front, since it's quite blah... and we'll add some layers in our textiles - we just had the one sheet this year, but I felt a few vintage doilies could add some texture.

I'll start with the left side of our table, and work my way across from there, going through the set up and what we were selling!

So, most importantly, our cards... You've seen so many of these posted this year, as I've shared most of the ones I took to sell. I knew we needed something that would show them clearly, and be easy to see each individual design. In the past we've tried a few different ideas (we've done sales in our living rooms a few times), but we've noticed people are afraid to touch them, so after a lot of pondering and a few Pinterest searches, here's what we came up with:

Shirley had two old frames in her basement with very tacky needlepoints in them (no offense to her family members who created them). I took out the guts, then spray painted the frames a nice creamy colour, before attacking it with a palm sander. Once I was finished with that part of the distressing, I got out some burnt umber craft paint, watered it down, and rubbed it over the whole thing. I loved the results!

We had two frames like this - the big one you see above, and a smaller one in the center of the table that you can see in the top photo. The larger frame were our more expensive, more elaborate cards ($6), and the smaller one housed our simpler, more clean cards ($4). We offered them at a bulk price too (3/$15 and 3/$10, respectively), which was very successful. I was surprised that we sold as many of each price range, too... I really thought the cheaper ones would be our main attraction.

The frames were all Christmas cards, but beside each of them we put these vintage bread tins full of our other, year round cards, which probably sold better than our Christmas ones, if you can believe it (can you tell the surprise in my voice?).

You may have seen these little guys in this year's Holiday Cards & More issue, which I thought would help me sell them - I even put a picture of the cover with a little "As Seen In" tag on it - you know, like how Oprah sells stuff! Yeah... didn't work. These were a tough sell, and even when I marked them down, they were slow moving. We had them filled with peppermints, and thought they were perfect for stocking stuffers - so I'll be trying to find about 20 stockings to stuff them into...

We picked up the Wine Bottle Tag die just for this craft sale. We wondered how they would do, and thought that it was affordable enough to take the chance. I didn't even make 20 of them, because we really weren't sure how they'd do... well, we ended up only taking 2 of them home! You can see I treated the 4x4 the same as I did the frames, and added these acrylic knobs to carry over the vintage theme.

Another semi-bust. We did the nugget tins the way you've all seen them... We charged $6 or 2/$10, and people really liked the look of them, thought the chocolate wraps were a great idea (bonus is that you can't buy Hershey Nuggets in Canada, so we decided they're exotic!), but they just didn't love them. I tried putting the price down during the last hours, but that didn't really make a difference. We did sell over half of them, but I am not sure we'd revisit them next year.

These were fairly popular... I was really happy how they turned out, and they seemed to be a better size for people - the right number of nuggets.

I saw these on a Stampin' Up blog forever ago - and didn't pin them, so I am *so* sorry for the lack of a link - but they're pretty straightforward, and they look really cute when you're done!

Here is a photo of the right side of the table:

You can see our tags hanging on their holder, and the little shabby drawer unit - they weren't flying off our table, I can tell you that. We did sell quite a few, but I'd want to try something a little different next year. I made these little drawers to put them in (same distressing technique), but they proved to a bit too disorganized. Good in theory, not in practice.

We also made a ton of Nichole Heady's coffee filter favours - like, 200+ - and almost immediately dropped the 50 cent price tag down to 25 cents. We still only sold a handful of them! I think the main drawback is that kids couldn't see what was in them, so they weren't tempted to give us their quarters! People who figured them out thought they were cute and fun, but still passed.

The tags may have been a little messy, but the drawers sure are cute, don't you think? *wink*

And, the tree:

We did get it lit after a couple of hours... we had issues with our power cord before I was taking photos, but once we got it fixed, I think it helped make everything look a bit more festive. I decorated this in covered toilet rolls. And they sat. Then they sat. People thought they were pretty, thought they were cute... but just couldn't get into it. Sunday, I lowered the price. Perfect move... we cleared over half of them. If I'd done that on Friday, I imagine they'd have sold out.

So, remember when I showed you some of the gift card holders I made? Whenever we've made these for our at-home sales, they don't move. We haven't ever had luck with them... so I borrowed a seed packet die from a friend, and made a handful, just to see... then I asked to hold on to it over the weekend, just on the off chance I had to make more at night - knowing full well I wouldn't, of course. Wouldn't you know that both Friday and Saturday, I had to come home and make more gift card holders? We'll be investing in our own seed packet die!

Are you still with me?! What a long post...

So I would call it a success... we at least doubled our table (this is a juried show, so the table prices are kind of high), so that was exciting for us... for our first year there, guessing at what might sell, I thought it was phenomenal just to make a profit! We now have some new ideas for next year, we are going to fine tune our display, and try again!

Thank you so much for sticking with me, if you've made it this far! If you have any other questions, just pop me an email or leave me a comment (with a way to get in touch, of course)... I was really happy with how everything turned out, and now I can't wait to get started again for next year!

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Elena said...

wow! your set-up was fantastic, and I loved reading your honest experience....it's so hard to know what will sell/what won't!

Geri said...

Isn't it funny...what sells and what doesn't! Everything looked great! Love the big frames! And love your little chalkboard style pricing! CUTE! I never dreamed your table would cost so much! If that would have been more reasonable...you REALLY would have done well! Proud of you gals...I'm sure you had fun!

Beate said...

Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous set up with us. It looked beautiful!
Hugs and smiles

Leah said...

Your table looked amazing! I do agree that some bunting for the front would really finish it off nicely. I am so happy that you made a profit! I've done a couple of craft shows and it was a total bust...but I din't plan even close to as well as you did! It's funny what people like and what they don't...I think for craft fairs it comes down to volume and lower prices, especially for handmade paper goods. Thanks for sharing!

Leigh said...

Thanks for sharing this, Meredith! I'm glad you were successful and your set up looks amazing!

pamela said...

Wow Meredith!!!! By the way, next time you are at the craft sale, let this vancouverite know :) I'll be sure to drop by!!

Lisa V. said...

Congratulations on your sale. I have been following your adventure and not always commenting but it is great to see that you had a successful time. All of your work is beautiful.

zehra said...

beautiful set up, congrats on making a profit, looks like a lot of labor, lovely work

June K said...

Your table is gorgeous as well as the items you made. Everything looks so festive. Thanks for sharing what worked and what didn't.

Deborah Frings said...

Your table is absolutely beautiful! I love the vintage/shabby look - very feminine. Your cards, gifts and tags are great. Thanks for sharing how it went - very useful info! Good luck for next year!


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