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bathaway

I made $2 at a Craft Show..

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I had a funny/bad experience last weekend at a craft show I attended. I don't want to apply this to every low booth fee craft show but I'll be more careful next time.

 

$20 booth fee. I was skeptical of the low booth fee, but I decided to try it anyways. It was a pop-up craft market on a side street, 50 meters from a busy street. There was a Jazz festival going on that day.

I arrived. 9am. The booth was in a 600sq ft side room in a basement... At first no one knew I was down there. The organizers set their own table outside at the front of the store. They said they are telling people about my booth in the basement. Once in the basement, there are 3 rooms. One room was my booth. Other 2 were not for the public. There isn't a way knowing that. I wrote some signs with arrows to guide people to my booth.

 

6 Hour show, 30 people found my booth. 1 sale. $2. I could have gotten more people from my front lawn.

 

 

Originally 4 booths were sold in that 600sq ft room (medium size living room) But 2 vendors moved upstairs outside to the store front. So It was me and another vendor in that basement room.

 

 

I am attending more craft shows this year. I signed up with organizers with repeat vendors,repeat annual shows, have some social media following. I hope those do better.

 

What do you think of low booth fees? I was hoping for a hidden gem but It ended up being too good to be true.

 

Here is video on where I was. Notice a yellow balloon. The organizer said it was there to show customers my booth was in that room. Really?..

 

 

Edited by bathaway

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18 hours ago, bathaway said:

What do you think of low booth fees? I was hoping for a hidden gem but It ended up being too good to be true.

 

One of my best shows of the year has a low booth fee. I pay $10-$20 for a 8' table (I usually "splurge" and pay the $20, to have an electric outlet to charge my phone or iPad to use my Square application). There are anywhere from 10-15 vendors, it goes from 9-3, and I average anywhere from $1K-$1500 for that one show. 

 

As TT said, it's all about location, and how well it's advertised. Low booth fees don't scare me off. Lack of advertising, where it's located, and other factors is more how I determine which shows I'll do. 

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There seems to be a lot of things about the place that could put you to sleep, imo.  It starts from when you first walk up and gets worse from there.  I don't think it's simply because you're in the "basement," but there are so many other "impression" things that are missing that I feel in order for you and your table designs to even start to compensate for it, you'd have to drape layers of wonderful fabric all around the place to perk it up, signs, advertising (what? "meet me in the basement??") ... not worth it.  There's got to be a better set up than that unless you really like it there and want to draw people into your corner somehow.

 

 

 

Edited by birdcharm

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12 hours ago, Jcandleattic said:

As TT said, it's all about location, and how well it's advertised. Low booth fees don't scare me off. Lack of advertising, where it's located, and other factors is more how I determine which shows I'll do. 

Why is the booth fee so low? You make 1k-1.5k? If it's high traffic, then vendors can easily bid up the booth fee. Unless your so niche and right fit, other vendors can't get same results.

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1 hour ago, birdcharm said:

not worth it. 

 

 

 

 

definitely. I only mentioned the bigger points because I don't want to ramble about all the other obstacles. There are over 50 shows peryear here in Ontario, Canada. I'll go with what works.

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6 hours ago, bathaway said:

Why is the booth fee so low? You make 1k-1.5k? If it's high traffic, then vendors can easily bid up the booth fee. Unless your so niche and right fit, other vendors can't get same results.

Why would vendors want to bid UP the booth fee? If vendors could vend for free they'd do it. I don't think anyone would clamor to pay MORE for booth fees. That's just silly. It cuts directly into the profit margin, and I don't know many people who would want to make less of a profit for the items they work so hard on. 

 

Everyone seems to profit, and profit well, except for 1 lady, who brings GORGEOUS hand made ceramic dragons, and various other medieval type of arts, but she is sooo high priced that everyone scoffs at the price and walks away. The last time I was there, she only sold 1 piece and I believe it was to someone she knew very well.

It's not necessarily high traffic - I think maybe 1500 - 2000 people come in, but everyone is there to buy, and buy they do, and it is also very well advertised. There are signs all around town for it, and it's advertised in the local penny saver (small free newspaper) I don't know or care why it's such a low booth fee. It's a small venue in a church fellowship hall that will only hold that many vendors, and still have a nice flow for the traffic that does come in. The booth fee goes directly to the church for them to use at their discretion, so I was very selective with whether I even wanted to do this show. 

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12 hours ago, bathaway said:

Why is the booth fee so low? You make 1k-1.5k? If it's high traffic, then vendors can easily bid up the booth fee. Unless your so niche and right fit, other vendors can't get same results.

 

 

Not always true. I've made good money at a show with 250 people. Why would we want to booth fees to be higher?

 

That basement spot you got was.. Ugh. Not good. Could you not move upstairs and outside with the other vendors? It sucks you had a bad show.

 

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5 hours ago, Jcandleattic said:

Why would vendors want to bid UP the booth fee?

 

There are so few tables and so much traffic. A vendor who didn't get in would love to pay more to get a table. That vendor will make more money by paying more for a table vs not getting a table at all. The church could charge more too. (over $100) I guess they don't want to. $100 x 7 = $700. 7 x booth fee is commonly considered a good show. I assume most are hitting those numbers at that show.

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"Could you not move upstairs and outside with the other vendors? "

 

Thanks for your sympathy, I learn fast. Ill get burned less next time. Two basement people moved upstairs first. Me and another was stuck downstairs.

The organizer said "at least it's cool down here!" THANKS!

 

 

 

"Why would we want to booth fees to be higher?"

 

Price is a general indicator of value. Of course there are overpriced items and underpriced items. A low booth fee can be underpriced (what I was hoping for) ,overpriced(waste of time), or rightly priced, vendors making on average x 3 - x 7 booth fee.

 

Other ways to get value from a booth in addition to sales : leads, brand awareness, product feedback, PR, build social media content.

 

It's not just booth fee X 7 = sales    Is a great show.

Edited by bathaway

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47 minutes ago, bathaway said:

 

"Why would we want to booth fees to be higher?"

 

Price is a general indicator of value

So very untrue.

Price is a PERCEIVED indicator of value, not a true indicator, and the consumers do not know (generally speaking) what we pay for a booth fee. 

At this place they give vendors enough time to respond with an application if they want to be a vendor, but like me being picky with them, they are picky with who they let in as well. So just because a person applies for a table doesn't mean they will automatically be chosen to be a vendor. I didn't seek this venue out, they called me several years ago and asked if I wanted to do it. I was skeptical at first, yes, because of that "perceived indicator of value" however, I figured what did I have to lose? $10 and 6 hours? Eh, not a huge loss if it didn't work out. 

That first year, I made little over $500, so decided to do it again, and every year since that first year the average has been about $1300. Some years slightly more, some years slightly less. 

 

47 minutes ago, bathaway said:

Other ways to get value from a booth in addition to sales : leads, brand awareness, product feedback, PR, build social media content.

All of which you can get, no matter how much the booth costs, just from the foot traffic, and stepping up and out of your booth to talk to people. 

 

For me the value is not in how much a booth costs, but in the proceeds it yields. The other few shows I do every year (I only do 4 shows a year) have a relatively low booth fee as well but is at a huge venue. Even though the booth fees are low, it is well worth doing the show. Again because it's advertised and marketed well. 

 

I know people who do shows that are $500-$800 a day booth fee, for very well advertised shows (talking multi-state TV ads, internet ads, newspaper, flyers, radio spots, etc., etc.,) that don't do as well as I do at my less expensive booth fee tables, even though the foot traffic is way higher than the one I vend at, and the #1 main reason is I'm not competing with my booth fee to make a profit like they are.

I refuse to do any show where I have to pay more than $150 a day for a booth fee. At that price it is no longer worth my time. Not unless I was GUARANTEED a $5K day. (which we all know is never guaranteed- as bathaway found out with his $2 sale) 

 

I have never really been a fan of the "more expensive means better" mentality. Maybe because I grew up poor and know how to make a buck stretch, but I just can't see paying exorbitant amounts of money for something I can get for much less money that is basically the exact same thing.   

Edited by Jcandleattic
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"Price is a PERCEIVED indicator of value, not a true indicator"

 

I said "general", I never said true. general value includes the perceived value.

36 minutes ago, Jcandleattic said:

All of which you can get, no matter how much the booth costs, just from the foot traffic, and stepping up and out of your booth to talk to people. 

Booth cost is generally positively correlated with foot traffic. Low traffic generally means less sales, less everything.

 

38 minutes ago, Jcandleattic said:

For me the value is not in how much a booth costs, but in the proceeds it yields.

Yes, it's about the result. Preferably good results with a lower booth cost. We have a 4k 8 day show here. Some people hit it big.

 

53 minutes ago, Jcandleattic said:

I just can't see paying exorbitant amounts of money for something I can get for much less money that is basically the exact same thing.   

It's basically same for you. Some high priced items only sell at large expensive shows where people are ready to drop that type of cash. Average income people won't spend buy $200+ jewelry at a school gym craft fair or church.

 

56 minutes ago, Jcandleattic said:

At that price it is no longer worth my time.

It is if you get the same multiple as your lower booth fee shows. Some people get it, some don't 

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I love cheap vendor fees and don't let that bother me at all. But as others have mentioned ask questions and pay attention and you will pick up what you need to know before you chip in that $20.

 

Pop-up craft show - always ask for clarification. if this is a last minute idea I would not buy in. It means nobody knows about it. Last minute also means it probably was not advertised.

 

Basement - again, some shows have been going on in a basement of a school or community center for years and are well attended. But being a pop-up show in a basement is all you need to know. Bad idea!

 

Things to ask are:

how many years has this show been going on? If its brand new it has no attendence from previous customers so you are always taking a chance with a brand new venue

What is the participation? (attendees) If they don't know that is a red flag

Where is the location? You want it to be in a high traffic area unless it is an already well established craft show and has a good solid attendence record. I've done shows in the middle of nowhere where I walked away with $1200 for the day.

Is parking, bathrooms, provided?

What kind of advertising and for how long was done? Radio, local newspapers, flyers, etc?

Do they charge attendees? If people pay to get into a show and buy lunch there too they may have just spent any money they might have spent on you just to get in, eat, etc.

How many other vendors are in the show?

Is this a handmade items only show or are company reps allowed in?

 

Edited by Candybee
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For me it isn't just saving the time invested in the six hours of the show it's self. It is time invested in prep, in my own advertising, in getting up early and getting there, in set up and break down time, in what I could have been doing instead. It is also the energy I put into prepping for a show, the products I make for that show, the wear and tear on my vehicle, my self, my assistant, the people my friends and customers who I ask to come, it is also the emotional burn out from doing a bad show, and how it is preceived by the general public if a show isn't successful. and everything else.

 

For me, paying a lot of money for show does not mean it will be successful. I don't know anyone for whom that is true.

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It's not about the booth fee. Not at all. It is about your marketing mix. Plain and simple.

 

The 4P's of marketing are product, price, place and promotion. you have to have the right product in front of the right people at the right place at the right price. Those mixes of P's are different for every brand.

 

Bathaway, you chose the wrong type of venue for your product. Even with a better location on that strip "your" people do not shop at shows like that.

 

Until {general you} figure out who "your" people (your target market) are, and where they like to shop, getting yourself in front of those who are wanting and able to buy will be a struggle. This is where so many startups fail. It is not because a single show is bad, it is because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

 

 

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