Lately I've received a few emails asking me how many craft shows I do each year. The answer is....ONE! The only reason I do one anymore is because it supports the high school I graduated from and it has always been a successful show for me, mainly because its labeled as a "gift show" rather than a craft show and it happens right before the Christmas shopping season starts and most people are looking for quality gifts and are ok with spending a little more on something at this type of show than most!
I quit doing craft shows about three years ago. Not saying they aren't good events or worth doing for some artists, I've just found for me that they aren't really my target audience.
In my first two years of designing and selling jewelry, I felt this was the only way for me to get name out there and sell my jewelry. I found while doing these shows though that more and more people would walk by and look at my jewelry and say, "oh that's nice, not in my price range though," "beautiful work, don't wear jewelry," "can't afford it" and many other words of wisdom. Upon hearing those words and realizing that I was loosing money in doing this type of event, I decided it was time to stop and find a way to get my website created or find a way to sell on-line. Spending about four weekends a year or more at these shows, lugging my merchandise, tables, displays, etc. and spending 6-8 hours each day at the booth, I quickly changed my mind and thought there has to be a better way to sell my merchandise! There has to be a better way to invest my time and money!!
So I took all that energy (good and bad) and worked hard at continuing to sell my jewelry to friends and family that were familiar with my business until I had saved enough to get a website designed for me. Also during this time I did some research on-line and began absorbing all the info I could on small business marketing, jewelry business marketing and more. Once I got that site established, then I really started looking at my own marketing and advertising because having that site made me feel like I could "compete" in business. Having that site then lead me to opening my store on Etsy. My website is still up, but its now basically used for advertising and directing customers to my new store on Etsy.
My point with this post is that I took a step back from something that really wasn't working for me and decided to invest that time and energy in to other resources that I felt worked better for my business and helping me spread the word about my jewelry. I realized the craft show circut in my area wasn't a good target audience for me. They were looking for cheaper items or more bang for their buck and that's ok. There are tons of crafters and small businesses that find this IS their target audience and do amazingly well at these shows! If you are one of those people, I encourage you to stick with it and you have all my support!!
But if you've been doing these types of shows (or some other type of marketing) and you find yourself leaving at the end of the day exhausted and no money to show for it, then you might want to reconsider this. Take this time and energy and do a little research. Find other ways to market or advertise your business that are more effective in reaching your target audience.
Don't waste anymore of your time, money and good energy on things for your business that aren't working. As I've written before, spending a little time researching how you are marketing/advertise your business could be the best investment you make in it.
Remember to take a few minutes each day to "evaluate" things!
Until next time - Blessings! ~ Dawn