This past weekend, WhoaShop was a vendor at the Spring Fling Festival at Peddler's Village in New Hope, PA. Whoohoo! It was the first larger-scale show I've been a part of, and overall, it was a success. I learned a lot about what to expect when preparing for an event like this, and I'll definitely be doing another one in the Fall.
I worked for weeks to build up enough inventory to fill my tent with a variety of items that were of different sizes, uses, prices, and styles, in an attempt to appeal to a broad audience of buyers that would be walking by. I had items priced from $20-$200, while almost all items could be comfortably carried around after purchase. Items included cutting boards of different sizes and shapes, face-grain and end-grain, large live-edge serving platters with epoxy filled voids, planter boxes, journals with wood covers and backs, chalkboard tablets, end-grain coaster sets, etc.
The festival was all day on Saturday and all day on Sunday. We were allowed to set up our tent on Friday afternoon, which is where I learned my first lesson. I just brought my tent and tent weights since this was in the parking lot and we couldn't anchor into the ground. The wind was so bad that the tent kept trying to take off every time we opened it up, so needless to say, it was a bit overwhelming.
Several vendors brought large cases of waters to use as weights. They tied string around each case and into the bottom of the tent legs. Not only did it provide a good anchor weight, but also added 10" or so to the height of the tent. That was a really smart move. I found it was difficult to get buyers to enter into my tent and see the items further back on the tables because they were hitting their heads while entering. That extra height would have made a big different for sure. Most people stayed to the outside and just glanced in.
The vendors also brought all of their racks, tables, chairs, displays, etc., and set everything up the day before, not just the tent. They then installed the side walls of the tents so everything was more or less, "locked up". New Hope is a safe area, so no one was going to bother the tents over-night. I thought I was only allowed to set up the tent itself, so I had to scramble on Saturday morning more than other people to get everything ready.
Saturday was kind of a bust in terms of sales. It was super windy and most people were bringing their kids to partake in the face painting and music, and weren't there to shop.
Sunday was much better for both weather and number of customers. I noticed throughout the day on Sunday, that anyone who passed by, stopped to look at this one live-edge Maple serving tray I had with a blue epoxy inlay. Everyone touched it and asked about it, but it was on a display rack on the very outside of the tent. Since that attracted so many people, I brought that inside the tent and put it on one of the tables. It seemed to help, because people were still drawn to it, and that brought more people inside the tent to browse other items.
By the end of the festival, I was wiped out from standing for almost the entirety of two days, and still had to pack up. It's always easier breaking down, though, then setting up. Although I did have to play a little game of Tetris to get everything to fit in my hatchback.
Overall it was a good experience, and I think that my prices matched the work I did as well as the specific festival. My sales were ok, but not great. There were a variety of reasons that I won't get into, but it at least gave me confidence for the next show.
I did give out a lot of business cards and had many people ask me about custom projects and things I could make for them, so I'm hopeful that I'll get some follow-up business from the event as well.
For now it's back to the shop to clean everything up, and start on setting up my dust collection system! It's definitely time to get that going!
Also, if you're interested in any of the items you see in the pictures, I have some leftovers from the event. Let me know!