Monday, May 10, 2010

My First Art Fest and everything I learned

I was in the lovely, swanky city of Dunwoody, GA for my very first art festival this past weekend. I've been talking about this for weeks see here, and here.

I wasnt sure what to expect, but I did alot of research and looked at tons of pics of others booths and yada yada yada.

What I Learned

my target audience--I was very surprised that I had tons of girls age 8-13 who loved all my raggy bags. They pulled Mom, Dad, and the grandparents by the arm to my shop.

buisness cards--I bought a very small amount (see here) and I was completely out very early. I needed hundreds of them.

your booth---I cannot tell you how much trouble other vendors go to to make their booths look fantastic (and they did look great). Things need to be hung not sitting on a table (people cant see it there). Luckily someone told me all this before I went and I did have my bags all hung up on display and I had ran twine from pole to pole on my tent and hung my quilts up with clothes pins. I think it turned out very good.

items up front--what you put on display up front will bring people into the back of your tent. In other words, dont put just your expensive items up front. Put some cheap ones up too and it will get people to look at everything. Those baskets of goodies up at the front of my booth were a big hit. I filled them up with $5-$15 items.

what I should be making and selling---I had alot of people come by and say, "do you have any.....". When I told them I did not have that, they told me they have been looking everywhere for one. Guess what? I will start making those now. I had one lady buy up everything I had of one kind of item (which I didnt have much of). She wanted more of them. It was an item that I dont make alot of because I dont sell alot of them online. I now realize that just because one particular item doesnt sell good online doesnt mean it wont sell good at a fair. I sold more of the things that dont normally sell in my online shop. This could be just because the items that sell good online were the more expensive items, what sold good at the fair was the lesser expensive items.

some things should be labeled---like my baby products. Changing pads, diaper bags, washies, wipe cases, and etc. all of that should have had a big sign over it saying what it is or something to that affect. I didnt sell alot of them and people kept asking what it was. They are usually big sellers for me and next time I will set it up right and make sure they continue to be big sellers.

tents---this is something that would have been helpful to know about beforehand. EVERYONE HAS WHITE TENTS! I went to Academy Sports, I bought a tent I could afford (they do not say what color they are on the box), and hoped when I got it home it was something pretty. It wasnt, it was hunter green and I refused to lug it all the way back to the store. I worked with it and I stood out amidst all the white tents. Still not sure if I will buy a new tent before my next festival.

What I would Do differently

Most of the vendors have some type of walls around their tent. Some are part of their tent, some build walls. I really liked my quilts blowing in the breeze so I dont think walls are for me, but I will next time have some kind of corner curtain to hide the poles, just for aesthetic purposes only.

The weather called for little to no wind. Big mistake for me to have believed it. I did not bring weights or sandbags. I will next time. I lived in torture of my tent blowing away in the 18mph winds. For those of you that dont know, people fill piping with concrete and stick a screw in it and hang it to each leg of their tent for weights. Great idea! How come nobody told me this when I asked for advise?

I will not wear cheap flip flops to a fair again. My feet ached by the end of the first day and they were dirty from the wind kicking up dust. Sneakers will be worn from now on.

And finally....

I do not reach my goal. I had some high expectations. I did make enough to make back all the money I spent on the festival and pocket a nice chunk of change. So, all and all I am happy with my first fair and I will definately do another one.

When I returned home, I had more orders waiting on me than I had ever had at one time. The people who took all my cards must have went to their computers and made some orders.

Any advise that any veterans of art festivals can add to this post would be great as I am still a rookie and am always hungry for new knowledge.


  1. I read your post on the etsy forums and followed you here. I love it and the pictures look wonderful!

  2. I love your arrangement and you have cute items too.

  3. Thanks for the compliments. I truly appreciate it.

  4. (followed you over from etsy) beautiful product!

  5. Beautiful display! You make gorgeous quilts and bags.

  6. Great post! What a great looking booth for your first time out.

  7. excellent post! i am doing my first market in a few weeks, so info like this is invaluable to me. following you now. :)

  8. Your tent set-up looks great! I recently did my first craft fair and it was a total flop. We probably saw less than 100 total. Maybe I'll try another sometime. Thanks for sharing what you learned!

  9. Saw your blog on an etsy forum and came over to check it out. Thanks for all the info!

  10. A link from Etsy brought me here, and I am glad. I am starting to get ready for my first craft fair and am looking for every single hint/tip that is findable before I actually take the plunge. Your setup looks awesome! Thanks for the tips.