One of the most important tips I read was to make a list, from the most obvious (my jewelry and displays), to the smallest, like counterfeit pens (apparently $20s are the most counterfeited bills out there). I also listed how I was transporting my items: one large suitcase, three bags, and my chair. Since I have preparing on and off for the last several weeks, I found that my stress level was fairly low. I just need to pack up my stuff and go.
So I got up and went. I had paid to rent a table for a nominal fee ($4) and someone set it up for me once I got there. What I did not do was a mock set up. I fly by the seat of my pants most days, so I wasn't to concerned, since I had an idea of what I wanted anyways. So my first shot is of my booth in the morning. As the day went on I had my friend, Jennifer from Abby's Attic, take a look at my booth and make suggestions.
So in the end, it looked like this:
The set up in the first photo, had everything sloping from right to left and not very dynamic. The second grouping is more to my liking: The mirror was shifted to the middle and flanked by the earring stands. I had several busts, a branch stand for bracelets which I put on top of a pillar candle stand, and a tray with bracelets in small jewelry boxes. I had a heavy cat statue as a paperweight for my tissue paper and a wicker basket filled with handmade pillow boxes.
The earring stands worked quite well, people felt free to browse, and I found that my branch stand for the bracelets displayed them quite well and again people felt free to touch and pick them up. The trays were okay, but Jennifer and I felt that people might not want to handle the bracelets since they got caught on the cotton padding. I was wondering about that, but wanted to give it a shot anyways just to test it out. I will probably keep them, but will look for another branch stand. The busts worked well for displaying my necklaces, potential customers were free to touch the displays as they pleased.
I've got to say as my first vending experience, it went pretty smoothly and I felt confident and prepared. The only drawback: I made one sale, and it was to Jennifer (Thank you!!). So basically I didn't recoup my expenses for preparations. This leads me to another tip, that I did not follow: VISIT potential markets and craft fairs before you apply! What I noticed at this site, were that people were looking for cheap deals when it came to jewelry. The women two booths down did a bang up job at selling 2/$5 earrings, and $14 necklaces. This is not what I make.
I am pulling out of next month's market and will be going down to Bubblehead Tea down in the artsy King William district. I'll be hanging out with my Alamo City friends. I am probably going to set up with Rebecca, from Your Favorite Things, at the Haute and Fresh Market here in San Antonio as well. I will be posting my vending schedule at a later date when things are more solid. I am currently looking at a vending in Castroville, with Jennifer. I won't be able to visit this one, but one of her friends said it was packed last year.
So there we have it. Although my sales stank, I came back with a better feeling about who I market to, what I need to do for future vending experiences. I really enjoyed and loved hanging out and chatting with Jennifer.
**Another little tip: I had contacted the woman in charge earlier to see if they had WiFi access so I could use Propay. Indeed they did, so I signed up for the $34.99 package. Well, I got there and found the lady I had contacted. She didn't have the password. Yeeeahhhh. And the woman who did have it was in a meeting and couldn't be contacted. As my 5 year old now says, "Whatever".
***And yet one more: I have made a sign that states: "All Jewelry is Handcrafted using Fine and /or Sterling Silver. The Beads used are a mixture of Artisan Lampwork, Vintage & Contemporary Swarovski, Vintage Lucite, and SemiPrecious Stones". Someone almost keeled over at one of the price tags. Seriously, if you want cheap, go to Claire's.