This craft business is a lot of hard work. I've had a lot of ups and downs with it. I'm still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't work when I go to all these different craft shows. I really want to to make this business work out, but I'm starting to see why most businesses fail in the first two years.
One of the biggests boosts to my confidence came last night. I was invited to be a regular at the venue that I attended in Downtown Escondido. They are planning to have local artists attend the show every Saturday Night from 6:30-8:30 for the next 20 weeks. They had a live band, several vendors, and a bar area. I think they are trying to bring back the night life to the downtown Escondido area. It was such an honor to be considered to be a participant in this event on a regular basis.
It's been frustrating not to even make enough money to cover the costs of the booth rental fees. Considering I haven't been to a show that costs more than $25, you might be able to understand why I'm frustrated. I think that the crafts I make are sellable, cute, and are priced reasonably. Several people have commented on how cute my stuff is and I've been invited back by many of the promoters.
I think that I have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what I'm doing wrong. My displays may be the problem. I'm wondering if my table display is just too overwhelming to a potential customer. I know I have too many things out on the table. I just haven't figured out a good system to display all of the stuff. I've tried baskets, flat displays, clipping stuff on the side of the tent, and using different leveled tiers. I even have cards clipped on a spinning shoe rack. I bought a rack from IKEA that looked like an octopus. I think you use it to dry clothes, but I clipped cards on that too. I didn't like it much, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I don't like the basket system for the cards. It seems like people look only at the first five cards and then move on. I wanted to buy a card display rack, but they are really expensive. So I've been trying to rack my brain for an inexpensive solution. I may have found it, so I'll test it out next week. I have 2 old tomato vine cages and the door to the top of my dog's cage. I'm going to try to zip tie them to my tent and hang the cards off of them. Maybe the display will make more of the cards visible and will free up some of the space on the table.
If I do the gig in downtown Escondido, then I'm going to have to try to come up with a lighting solution also. The little solar powered lantern that I had didn't cut it. I've still got so much to learn.
If you have any suggestions for table displays, I'd be grateful for your feedback/ideas. I'm willing to try anything at this point. Below are pictures of my last display.