Learning lessons


My first craft sale this weekend.

On the up side, I learned A LOT.

On the down side, I didn't even sell enough product to cover my table fee of $25.

I'm not terribly upset or distraught... I needed to find out how sales actually worked, especially in this rural-based, primarily-middle-class region. I have an idea now of what works and what doesn't - but I also know that what didn't work at this sale may be the absolute killer at the next.

A brief list of the big lessons learned this weekend:
  • Just because you're selling something no one else at the sale is, doesn't mean you'll have no problems selling your product. Anyone who sews has pin cushions coming out their ears; needlebooks, while 'cute' and 'smart', are a great idea, perhaps not the best execution.
  • Having an eye-pleasing display is important, especially if it includes various kinds of baking. Baking always sells fastest and first. The table next to ours was completely sold out one hour & 20 minutes into the sale. 
  • While my parents have lived in Carberry for almost 14 years, I never did. Most of the people I know there are either friends of my parents or my younger sister. Probably the best thing I did for this sale was ask my mom to help me at the table. She knows EVERYONE in town and is much more outgoing than me...she brought in all three of my sales.
  • Don't be saddened that the older couple across the way can sell homemade underwear; take their approach to selling, sift through it and see what might apply to you. Their table was overloaded with product - and not just homemade underwear - to the point where customers had to go through piles of tea towels and knitting and blankets just to get to what they wanted. More often than not, they'd find more than what they were looking for at the bottom of the pile, because something they had to sort through to get there caught their eye. That doesn't mean I'm going to haphazardly pile my product on my next table, hoping that people will go through it to find what they want; it does mean, however, that I need to work out a display that makes the customers go from one product to the next without losing their focus.
  • Signage is so important, more important than I thought. I made up a couple of placecards with my business name on them, but that was it... until I got frustrated trying to explain to my mom - my helper for the day - which product was which. Then I made handwritten signs that I just kind of slid into the baskets. Next sale, signs and perhaps even a brief description on the signs will be accompanying the products. Also, a pronunciation guide for nisse (niss-eh) and a little historical background to what the word actually means. 
Yeah, I only made $17 and had 3 sales, but quite a few people did pick up the postcards I made up and there was some interest in doing some custom work in the near future. But more people know my name now than did on Friday and that's what I see as the biggest achievement from the sale. There aren't enough articles or tutorials in the world to learn these lessons.

A sale here, in rural southwestern Manitoba, will not be the same type of sale as one in Florida. Or even Winnipeg. There are very few - if any - craft sales held in the spring or summer around here. Craft sales and fall suppers go hand in hand for us, and everyone in the crafting/artisan world here knows when the big sales are and where the best ones are. It was an interesting and eye-opening experience, to say the least... and one that I'm sure I'll repeat over and over again, but with slight variations, for years to come.

I hope.


    1. I really love this post. I have been there! Sometimes you have to accept that you are in the wrong place to sell. My work is quite expensive (can't go cheaper), so although the customers at certain shows have the money they won't pay the price. I have accepted now that etsy.com is my market. I take on board your advice though especially about signage. Very good! thanks for this!
      Karen ;)

    2. I also live in a small town and we have our Farmers Market each week and each week it is the same shoppers... what to do?


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