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Thursday, May 22, 2014

PART 3: Displaying the goods - lessons learned

Be selective.  Be creative.  Re-purpose.  Save your $$$ dolla dolla bills.  Your show table should complement your products and enhance your brand.

Part 1: Quick glance
Part 2: My first table in detail
Focus of Part 3: Lessons Learned.  There were supposedly 150-ish people who attended the 5 hour show.  Out of those people, I just need to use my hands to count the number of shoppers who purchased an item from me.  Why so low?  I'm not going to criticize this volunteer-run show.  This post will be about how I can improve my merchandising to attract more buyers.  My Lessons Learned.

1. Product
As a reminder, I brought scarves, magnets, gift tags, and hair accessories (of which, I make 7 styles).
a. Amount
I brought my entire inventory of product.  This included about 4 large tote bins PLUS my decor.   I was worried that I would sell out of a popular item, but that clearly did not happen because I returned home with almost the same amount as I had brought.  That was A LOT to bring.  Based on what I saw from other vendors, only select items were available - not their entire inventory.  Jewellery - maybe 8 necklaces.  I know they offer more because I stalked them on FB after the event.  I think one works at Costco...  Now the problem I face is what percentage do I bring of each item. NEXT TIME: Cut amount of product down to at least half.
b. Products
I made too many variations.  I know this now after participating in a test market.  I can get those at the dollar store/Wal-Mart/Ardene/etc.  HandCRAFTED v. HandASSEMBLED.  Most don't see/aren't aware of the MAJOR difference between crafting by hand (which is what I do) and assembling by hand (buying pre-made flowers and sticking a clip on the back).  Whatever - I just need to deal with that.  Anyway, based on customer feedback, I'm going to focus my time making scarves and magnets.  People LOVED my magnets and I'm LOVING that they LOVED them.  NEXT TIME: Bring a small selection of the less popular items (hair accessories and gift tags); bring a larger inventory of scarves and magnets.  I've also found a way to bring my customized name banners to shows - SUPER EXCITED.  Not only because it's a new show item, but because it's unique at shows.  Gonna own this market!  - but only if the retired lady from the Farmers' Market doesn't show up.  :P

2. Layout
a. Make product more accessible
Wrongness - putting small items near the back of the table.  My gift tag display and single style bags were too far.  People had to reach to see the teeny tiny print and designs on the tags.  DON'T MAKE SHOPPERS REACH AWKWARDLY TO LOOK AT YOUR PRODUCTS.  
b. Disrupting the table landscape
Wrongness - large gaps in table landscape.  Large gaps disrupt the landscape flow.  I had open space in the scarf area that could have been avoided if I moved the wine rack closer to the suitcase and/or took the wine rack off the wicker table.

3. Pricing
a. Large price signs
$2 to $25 - not a lot of dolla dolla bills needed to own a Super Cute item.  If people had known how reasonable my prices are, maybe they would look instead or writing off my product with a quick glance.  I am going to keep my small signs because I think they're awesome.  I will be including large signs with just the price - no additional text.  Also helps the seniors who frequent shows.
b. My prices
Listing them at the same prices.  I'm as low as I can go.  Breaking even is not a long-term goal.  

One last post about my show experience and preparation on Sunday.  I need to open my ETSY shop now.  Taking way too long.  This is my next goal and post idea.

Much love,

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