reflections on the Renegade
Last weekend, I took part in the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin. It was the second show I’d ever done. Leading up to it, I was both nervous and excited. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and didn’t know how much jewelry to bring to sell, so I was toiling as a one-woman sweatshop trying to make enough product. Thanks for everyone’s well wishes on my prepping for the Renegade and pencils down posts! It was great to have such support. And it was great to have friends come out to support me during the show.
How’d it go? Well let’s just say that this was not the right show for me to do. Yes, there were a LOT of talented crafters out there (it was inspiring just being in that atmosphere!) And yes, there was a lot of foot traffic at the event. But most were ‘lookers’ and not buyers. And about 30% of the booths there sold jewelry. Those things together made it hard for me to make much of a profit this time around.
So yes, I was really bummed that the show wasn’t a good one for me. I worked so hard on everything, and thought it’d pay off more. A lot of the other vendors felt the same way. My booth mate drove from Brooklyn to Austin to attend this show. While she did better than I did, she was also disappointed. Apparently the Brooklyn/Chicago/LA (and I’m sure San Fran) Renegade Craft Fairs are always packed and very profitable for vendors. So maybe next time I should apply for the other ones. It’d be fun to travel for a show!
Anyhow, there were some good things about doing the Renegade. I got to network with a lot of vendors and hear their story/learn their process for making their wares. And the others’ work really inspired me to up my game. And I learned a lot about booth setup.
This was my booth. My friend Nita and her boyfriend Nick helped me out with the display, which I was really happy with. It looked cozy and inviting.
Well apparently what works best for displaying jewelry at a large craft fair is having a table close to the aisle with a plain tablecloth and laying all your pieces out. Sure you can have some boxes and whatnot to accent the pieces, but people want to see product up front. And they want to see a lot of it. Also, people don’t really want to have to ‘enter’ your booth to look at your product.
Those were two things that I wish I had known prior to the show. My display was lovely, but was more suited to a retail store than a big craft fair. I just took notes for the next time around. And hey, having a simple setup makes things less stressful!
I will continue to use my estieMade booth sign though! My friend Nat made it for me (hand painted and hand stained), and it’s just great.
And I will continue to use my book displays and my lace hoops. (I’ll have a tutorial for both of these on the blog soon!)
I realize that not every craft fair goes well for a vendor. It’s a learning experience. That said, I will still do more craft fairs. Onward!
Oh, and if anyone is interested in supporting my shop, I do have a lot of leftover jewelry from the show. I’ve started to post items to etsy, but will be adding more daily.