My Very First Craft Fair Adventure

Hi all,

If you follow me on Instagram you know I have been bust preparing the last month for the Dixie Lee Farmers’ Market. It is a weekly event in my local community from early May until the Fall weather gets too bad (or Thanksgiving, whichever comes first). I wanted to get my feet wet, so to speak, with a smaller, local, event to see how  I would fare and what I thought of doing craft fairs.

I am not one of those people who does a half a** job at anything, so the first thing I did was spent a ton of time combing Google images and Pinterest to see what other craft displays at fairs look like. These two by far were my faves:

Click the above photo for more pics and a great article on set up and tips for a craft booth

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I loved the colorful pennants and the fun, whimsical charm of both of these booths. I wanted to recreate that vibe for mine, but using my brand colors and elements from my website.

But, first, I needed to make inventory to stock in the booth. So far, I have been filling custom orders mostly and haven’t made many ready to ship items. I was really apprehensive at the idea of not only choosing sizes to stock, but also fabric choices. What if I chose sizes that people didn’t want? What if  I chose fabrics that no one liked but me? After many nervous breakdowns  I decided to make sizes 2T, 3T, 4T, 6 and 8 for everything, hoping it would be a good enough cross section of sizes. Then the hard part, choosing fabrics!

Choosing fabrics is really hard, not only because everyone has their own likes and dislikes, but also because there is a gender bias – “boy fabrics” and “girl fabrics” – so when choosing what to use you also have to think about the spread of items suitable for each gender. I try to gather as many gender neutral fabrics as I can, but, unfortunately, they are hard to find. I decided to make 3 sets of pajamas, 3 sets of dresses, and 3 sets of tops. I ran out of time and only had 2 tops, but here’s what I had

boothdresses

 Three Kitschycoo Mini Penny Pinafore Dresses, one with my pocket hack

boothpjsThree Pajama Sets, made with Peek-A-Boo’s Alex & Anna Winter Pajama Pattern (some modified for short sleeves)

boothtops

Two Raglan Sleeved Tops made with See Kate Sew’s Recess Raglan Tee

pinaforecollage

I also put together a few of these Appletree/Owl reversible Pinafores designed by Bora of Lillestoff fame. The original pattern had buttons on the shoulders and the directions tell you to sew the entire thing rights sides together, then flip and press. I opted to sew them wrong sides together and trim in a cute berry pink bias tape and I modified the pattern so there was no button closure (choke hazard averted). To cover up the seam where the buttons would be I added some coordinating owl trim ribbon. So cute!

I also made as many Pajama Eaters and Secret Keepers as I needed to fill my shelves. I had a healthy mix of University of Tennessee themed ones (at my hubby’s insistence) and my own creations.

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These shelves I bought a million years ago at Ikea (no longer available, but if you are curious they were part of the Lerberg family) for $15 a piece. They were a gunmetal grey, so I spray painted them white. To support the Pajama Eaters from the back I used white clothes line and tied it to the shelves making big X’s on the back. Cheap, and effective.

OK, that’s all my stock, but what about my booth layout?

Here she is

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The tent is a 10′ X 10′ EZ-UP Pyramid II and I highly recommend it. For tent weights (which I am not sure I really needed) I put gallon jugs of water into these bags in white.

The chalkboard easel, clothing racks, and table are all from Ikea. I painted the easel white to match everything else.

The sign I got custom made from allstatebanners and attached it with Velcro. I really liked the idea and look of the chalk board, so I bought a few more in various sizes (and painted the wood frames white) to use for pricing signs and for information on GOTS fabric. I used a staple gun to attach some bright green ribbon with blue polka dots and hung them from the shelves or the tent.  I had to be real picky with what brand of chalk pen I used since some of the chalboards were slate, but others were painted wood. Some chalk pens don’t work well on some surfaces and some don’t erase well from others.  I used Chalk In Chalk Pen in white and it not only wrote beautifully, but also erased with a wet paper towel.

I also made pennants out of fabric that matches the background of my web store and hung from the tent. All I did was cut triangles, layered then wrong sides together, serged the edges, and then stitched them inside white double fold bias tape. I then cut the appropriate lengths to hang nicely and not get tangled every time  I put them up or took them down.

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My most favorite part of my booth is my fabric swatch display. I still wanted to offer custom options in the booth for the Pajama Eaters and clothing and needed a way to display all of my many, many (too many?) fabric choices. I originally went with some cork/foam boards taped together for a very portable, lightweight display.

oldswatchdisplay

I liked the idea, but no matter what my hubby and I tried we could not get this very lightweight display to stay on the table. Even a slight blinking in its direction and it would blow off the table. So, I started thinking again HARD and I really wanted to do something cool. My Hubby suggested we should try to go vertical and maybe have something that spins to maximize display space. Then, it hit me:

BIG SPOOLS OF THREAD!

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(I’m writing a tutorial on how I built these, so stay tuned)

They spin and are fantastic and are my absolute fave thing I have made so far 🙂

Here’s me with the booth right before the market opened

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Check out my vendor apron! I am writing a post about that too, butit is a tweaked version of Kitschycoo’s vendor apron.

So, how did I do?

I think I did OK! There weren’t a ton of people there, but I did have a lot of people come to the booth, rave about all of my stuff, many of them signed up for my mailing list or took cards and I even sold some stuff – off the rack and custom orders!

But, the biggest compliment I got was the artisans in the two neighboring tents thought I was a seasoned pro based on my booth set up and were quite impressed to learn it was my first rodeo.

I am planning on attending the Farmers’ Market every other week, and as attendance grows I am hoping my sales do. The Farmers’ Market really starts hopping in mid July when the tomato crops come in. I’ll keep you posted and stay tuned for the apron and spool tutes!

Happy Craft Fairing!

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16 thoughts on “My Very First Craft Fair Adventure

  1. This was so interesting to read! But now I need a nap, just THINKING about the work you put into it! 🙂 Congrats on your first fair and yes please keep us posted…

  2. Awesome job! I did a craft fair over the holiday’s and had a lot of people stopping by saying, “oh great fabric, oh this is so cute etc…” yet, not one sale. Yep. Not. One. I don’t know if I have the courage to do it again, and I didn’t really care for the months of mass producing either. I’m glad things went better for you!

  3. Wow! My hat is off to you- an incredible amount of work and dedication, right there! You’ve thought of every detail in making not only delightful products but a spectacular booth, too. I wish you all the best as you embark upon a new adventure.😄

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