Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Wonderful Weekend of Art!

Art Beat is over, and it was a wonderful, sunny day in the streets of downtown South Bend. The show was a huge success. I’d like to thank the rain cloud, for bugging off by 9 am! And of course the sunshine, for showing up eventually. I handed my camera to my husband, and he got a nice shot of my set up, before it got crowded with people.
I had lots of help from my husband, mother, and mother-in-law, on the day of the big art show. My father-in-law even hung out for a while! (You can see him sitting on the bench behind my tent, above.) We set up in some drizzling rain, but it soon past and we had a sunny and breeze day, with temperatures probably getting close to 70 degrees. Can you say perfect?
In the morning, before it got busy, my mother (in the black sweater) would shop. Partly because she loves to shop, but partly because I asked her to. I've learned that people tend to be more interested in a shop if it looks like other people like it. Marketing 101, I guess...
My dream came true – I was located almost directly across the street from the Chocolate Café, where I had my morning coffee, my afternoon iced coffee, and a snack of German almonds (which just turns out to mean “soaked in sugar”).  Here you can see the blue awning of the Chocolate Café, from the vantage point of my tent.

I ran my contest, and I lucky shopper won a $25 gift certificate for my shop. I ended up giving everyone who signed up a discount code for $5 off their next purchase, to encourage them to check out my Etsy store. It's always work, getting the word out about Etsy!

After Art Beat I removed all of the items that had sold from my Etsy shop. I also felt inspired to tell others on Etsy about my experience, and posted this statement in the forums:

I had a craft show this weekend that really woke me up after the last few months of focusing on developing my Etsy shop. In one day, I sold about half of my inventory (and my inventory was probably 4 times bigger than what was in my Etsy shop, with 112 items). I was so excited, and I realized that while Etsy is lovely, nothing compares to selling jewelry to people who can handle it and try it on.

Selling jewelry on Etsy is a tough business. Because of my craft show experience, I plan to refocus my efforts. I will be looking for more venues to show my stuff in person, and just keep my Etsy shop open as a side effort. I’ll be spending less time fussing over views, hearts and sales on Etsy!

I have to mention that I got so many great tips on doing craft shows; many from this thread:

Here’s the few that I put into place that really helped:

Not crowding my displays and just putting more jewelry out gradually as things sold.

Making levels of displays and getting things up to eye level.

Running a give away for a $25 gift certificate to my shop in return for their contact info.

Making a clearance sale area with older items (they went like crazy!).

Taking my tools and findings with me and making custom changes on the spot (silver for gold, remove a pendant, etc.)

I know I see many jewelry sellers complain of the market here being oversaturated. It's true! I'm using this experience to change my focus, and though I'm not leaving Etsy, I'm going to take a deep breath and not worry about it.
The thread is here, if you're interested in seeing what others had to say about this topic:

Let me know if you have any thought on the merits of selling in person versus online, and how you strike the right balance!

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