I participated in my first craft show last October. I was pretty excited about it and did my research about what kind of displays are the best; I read about all the things I would need to bring; I bought a special table cloth; and I spent months building up stock.
Then not long before the show I started reading about "target market" and I realized that not only was this show venue not my target market, I wasn't even my target market. The show was in a small town, in a school gym. I had been to this show before and walked through without buying anything because I didn't find that "right bargain." I know my items can seem pricey, especially to someone looking for a bargain, but to be honest everything is priced using a formula taking into account time spent and the materials used and I couldn't possibly price any lower without losing money.
Knowing all this I went into the show thinking, if nothing else it would be a learning experience. I frantically made some items at lower price points hoping I would at least make a few sales.
Show day came and I was super nervous; it's hard putting yourself out there! My mom and my cousin came to help me set up and keep me company throughout the show (thanks so much guys!). And I didn't make one single sale. I knew this was a possiblity, but it still hurt the ego. We started packing up my booth a bit early; I put everything back into containers and shoved them under my bed when I got home. I didn't want to look at all that stuff because I'm an "avoider" by nature. Out of sight, out of mind.
I'm not writing this because I'm looking for sympathy, because I'm definitely not! I just think it's important to share your failures as well as your sucesses.
I didn't close up shop after the craft show incident, I just avoided all that extra stock. I didn't want to think about all that effort and work I put into something that didn't work out. But, a few months ago I pulled it all out and took inventory of all the things I had and all the things that still need to be added to my shop. And finally, the past few weeks I've been taking photos and getting it listed. It's definitely a relief because with my online shop, I feel like I'm finding my target market.
This one show didn't turn me off from craft shows all together, but now that I'm learning more about my target market, I can pick the right show next time.