This past weekend was the Austin Craft Riot Summer Show, otherwise known as the first major craft show that I’ve ever done. Which you probably knew because I basically talked about nothing else here on the blog for the past month. And of course I had high hopes, though I tried to temper those with realistic talk about it being my first show and that any sales are good and it’s getting my name/brand out there locally, etc. etc. And at the end of the weekend, I’d made back my booth fee and a little more – but not that much more. Not the roaring success that my high-hopes side had wished for, but in reality not bad either. I did give out a bunch of business cards, so we’ll see if people follow up online.
Despite lackluster sales, two things were awesome about the show, though. #1) I got a lot of compliments on my booth setup, especially when people found out I was a first-timer. So go me on display skills!
But far and away the other best part about this show was getting paired with Rachel of Poppy and Fern as my booth partner. Getting to know her and hang out with her all weekend was awesome. She was fun and supportive, patient with all of my questions, and is just good people. We commiserated about the weird yellow lighting in the hall and joked about being sleep deprived (that first day setup is rough). Her husband was there the 2nd day, too, and is also good people – we geeked out about books and movies pretty enthusiastically. I just want to hang out with them both. So not only did ACR hook me up with an experienced booth partner, but also some potential new friends.
I did get to sneak away from the booth a few times, with Rachel or her hubs covering, to check out some of the other vendors. And there was a lot of awesome stuff! Since sales didn’t take off, though, I had to limit myself to just a few items (no point going more in the hole over a show, right?). Here’s what I ended up getting:
Overall, would I do it again? I’d definitely do a craft show again (and am in fact applying for another one later this year), but I don’t know if I’ll do ACR again. It’s a good size and has great vendors, but I’m not sure the typical attendees (heavily weighted towards families with young kids, from what I saw) are my prime audience. Plus that yellow lighting just really threw off the perception of colors on my prints. However, I would go to the ACR summer show as a shopper again in a heartbeat. So much good stuff! The plan right now is to apply to a few different shows in the Austin area over the next year and see which one works best display-wise and audience-wise.
Bottom line: this weekend was well worth it as a get-my-toes-wet experience, and for making new friends.
Do you take your shop to craft shows? Have you found your sweet spot as far as location and audience?