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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

First Fair in Virginia

My first fair since I move back to Virginia was somewhat of a success.  I did make enough money to make it worth the day.  But, I didn't reach my sales goal.  I thought I would critique my experience.  Perhaps for you and myself, to learn from and improve from the experience.

The good news is I got into this event at the very last minute.  That in itself is a win.  Also, the event was held less than 3 miles from my home.  That is a terrific win.  The savings in the driving time, gas and stress of the travel is huge.  Also, I enjoyed speaking with many of the other vendors.  And, a really big win is the contacts and information for other events in the area, one event has hundreds of vendors and it's held twice a year. So the day was successful!

I signed up for an 8 foot table.  This is a 6 foot table.  I wasn't happy with this at all.  I asked the event planner for a larger table, but I would have needed to go to a different location.  The other location was in a distant and dark area, so I chose to stay put.  The tables were extremely close together, so there wasn't any room to add a bigger table and stay in this well lite spot.
Because of the short table, I needed to leave 2 of my displays off of the table.  typically, I use a wooden crate in the back of the center of the table.  This crate is covered with fabric and is open in the back.  It's handy for using the open back as an office for receipts and bags.  I would have put the smaller picture frame (on table) on top of the crate.  I decided to eliminate this feature because it made the display too crowded.  I also, eliminated a large wire manikin. 

So, I cheated a little bit.  I pulled the 6 foot table away from the wall and let my crate hang over the edge.  This gave me another 10 inches.  In this picture you can see how close the tables were to each other and there was very little space for the customers to walk.  So I wasn't satisfied with the floor plan and it's something to learn from for future events.

Here's a close up of the right side of the table.  There is a small bowl of $10 key rings and 2 displays of rings to attract those folks who just want a trinket.  The display with the teal colored flower and the small frame with the burlap flower, both have $18 earrings.  These are priced to sell and keep people hanging out at my table.  The earrings on tent cards are priced higher and are more involved in detail and materials.  When people are at your table or booth it makes the other shoppers wonder what they are missing and encourages them to come over and check things out.

Here is the left side of the table, with the crate hanging off the edge.  I place the credit card sign in clear sight.  My sales have doubled since I started to accept credit cards.  Check out SquareUp.  There's no credit check, no monthly fee and the transaction fee is cheap..  All you need is a smart phone and WiFi connection.
A word about that big in your face credit card sign:  Some people don't see it!  No kidding!  They will look at me and say 'what type of payment do you accept?'  And, when I say 'I accept credit cards, check or cash' they are surprised  I can't explain it.  It has become one of my conversation breakers to say 'Hi!  I accept credit cards, check and cash." 
I have written my contacts from this show and gotten lots of great information on larger events in the area.  It is most likely too late to get into them for this winter season, but there are 2 large events in the spring and that gives me time to prepare more jewelry.  And, these events have the typical 10' x 10' space, which means I can used my full display of 2 tables and giant folding screens and signs.
Thank you for stopping by and visiting.  I hope that my blog can provide some insight to the world of a jewelry business.
Have a joy filled and creative day! - Linda

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Thank you for your kind words. I'll answer any of your questions very soon. Linda