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Topic: How do you do this?  (Read 611 times)
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shadojake
« on: April 13, 2014 01:58:40 PM »

I have gotten that question (topic heading) at almost every craft show I have attended as a vendor and am tiring of it quickly.  I design custom tumbled travertine coasters, trivets, 3x6 plaques and greeting cards and apply all the designs myself.  You can view my work at www.customcoastersbycindy.com.  Thsi is not a solicitation for sales but am looking for advice only.

What I do is not rocket science.  Anyone could go on youtube and find a video on how to do it.  I happened to take a class at a local flooring center then followed up w/youtube videos to make my products even better.  I spend a lot of time looking for inspiration online.  I have never knowingly copied someone's work but have changed, deleted or added elements but usually got total inspriation for something compeletely new.

How do you handle it when someone who is shopping your booth asks how you make your product?  In my experience these people never buy but are full of questions.  At one recent large festival I got that question 3 times in a short period of time.  Angry   I usually try to divert the conversation or simply say I apply all the designs myself.   Lips sealed 
I have thought about asking, "Why do you ask?"  I have also thought about saying, "I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you."  LOL

I have had someone repeatedly ask how I do it even though I kept trying to steer the conversation elsewhere and "busy myself" doing something else.  They seemed insistent on finding out how I do it.

I don't want to be rude and usually maintain an upbeat, positive atmostphere in our booth.  Also you never know who is a "secret shopper" from the festival.  (Yes, I have attended festivals where the organizer sends out secret shoppers to check booths.)  Since I am otherwise abiding by the rules and regs I don't want to tick anyone off and get kicked out if the inquirer is from the fesival.  Since these inquirers typically don't buy that is why I sometimes wonder about them being secret shoppers.

I have also had one person ask if I can "guarantee" that condensation from an iced drink will not get on their furniture.  Of course I said "no".  In fact I said that I didn't think anyone making coasters could guarantee that.  She just said "oh" and walked off.  <shrugs shoulders>

Thanks in advance for your advice.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

God Bless,
Cindy

Given enough coffee, I could rule the world!
Chris in VT
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014 03:46:18 AM »

Most times when a customer asks an exhibitor (not a vendor) how something is done, it's just because they're curious.

But yes, there are other exhibitors who are trying to find something that sells, because what they're doing isn't selling. Those are the ones to watch out for.

But you don't know who is who. So a basic response like "It's a process that we worked on over time." Period. Then smile.

As far as "secret shoppers", this must be a local thing. In all my years of doing shows (over 1,200 shows) I have never heard of a promoter sending people around "testing" the exhibitors. I have had many promoters go around checking to see that what you have is what was on the app, but that's all.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
www.shadypinestudios.com
shadojake
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014 06:25:01 AM »

Most times when a customer asks an exhibitor (not a vendor) how something is done, it's just because they're curious.

But yes, there are other exhibitors who are trying to find something that sells, because what they're doing isn't selling. Those are the ones to watch out for.

If you mean that an exhibitor is someone demonstrating something but not selling or giving out information, I don't think any of the venues I've been to have exhibitors, but all vendors.

But you don't know who is who. So a basic response like "It's a process that we worked on over time." Period. Then smile.

I like that idea.  You can acknowledge the question, let them know it's not cut and dry.  And yes, we have perfected what we are doing and I am looking at new ways to make our process and product better.

As far as "secret shoppers", this must be a local thing. In all my years of doing shows (over 1,200 shows) I have never heard of a promoter sending people around "testing" the exhibitors. I have had many promoters go around checking to see that what you have is what was on the app, but that's all.

I should elaborated.  It is not every show I do but at selected ones ... the paper work says that there will be secret shoppers checking what we have in our booth against our application.  I am not positive it has ever been a secret shopper but have wondered, especially when I had 3 different episodes at the same event within a couple of hours or so.  It is quite frustrating.  It probably wasn't a secret shopper every time that day but I wondered if at least one of them was that day.

I will try your suggestion and see how it goes.  Thanks for the advice!

I would still love to read about how others have handled this.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

God Bless,
Cindy

Given enough coffee, I could rule the world!
Chris in VT
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014 04:36:54 PM »

Up here in the north, everybody "exhibits" their work for sale. And since "vendor" here is a flea market term, we use either "exhibitor, or artisan, or artist".

And around here, flea markets are where everybody goes to sell the junk they accumulated over the years, with a few sunglasses vendors thrown in.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
www.shadypinestudios.com
shadojake
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2014 05:05:31 PM »

Up here in the north, everybody "exhibits" their work for sale. And since "vendor" here is a flea market term, we use either "exhibitor, or artisan, or artist".

Here in south Louisiana "craft show" and "craft fair" are often interchanged.  However if one were to distinguish between the two, a craft show leans more toward hand crafted/hand made.  A craft fair leans more toward a mix of hand crafted and buy/sell.  At either one the person displaying their "wares" whether true crafts or buy/sell are called vendors.  Their work (or the purchased items) are on display and are for sale.

Personally I am getting away from craft fairs for a variety of reasons:
1)  My product does not sell well at those venues
2)  They are usually not well advertised so attendance is not as good
3)  Tend to lack in organization
4)  They tend not to charge admission
5)  Most people are lookers and not many people spending money, see reason #4

It is as much work for me to set up at an unorganized, unadvertised event with a lack of people spending money as it is a well attended event that is well advertised and has people willing to part with money.

I think charging even a small admisson sets apart those who are willing to part with money to purchase.  If an event has free admission we tend to get a lot of people who have nothing better to do with their time than wander around a craft fair doing nothing more than "window shopping".  So my point is that we are getting more selective in what we do but that does not mean we are doing fewer events.

And around here, flea markets are where everybody goes to sell the junk they accumulated over the years, with a few sunglasses vendors thrown in.

Flea markets here on the gulf coast in Louisiana are very similar to yours, a close cousin to a garage sale.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

God Bless,
Cindy

Given enough coffee, I could rule the world!
Chris in VT
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014 04:06:21 AM »

Have you looked at http://festivalnet.com at all? You can put in a certain mile radius from home and the shows come up. Sadly everything comes up so you have to go through things. Then do a Bing for the event and get info.

I don't know too much about Louisiana, but I know there are some great shows in Texas.

My next door neighbor here in Vermont is a jewelry designer and she's in Houston right now doing a show.

I too prefer shows with an admission fee. The customers come knowing they plan to buy.  In winter we do flower and garden shows, and the one in Hartford, CT in February charges $15 at the door. It's one of my best shows of the year.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014 04:10:56 AM by Chris in VT » THIS ROCKS   Logged

There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
www.shadypinestudios.com
shadojake
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2014 02:13:55 PM »

Chris,

Yes, I know about festival.net.  There are several of those type websites online.  Some require a subscription to get complete info but I don't sub to any.  I already do as you suggested ... get an event name/location and then google it.

Dh and I already have a brick and mortar store selling completely different merchandise that has been around over 20 years.  We can do a certain number of shows up to a certain distance.  Since we start getting busy in early November through the middle of January, we don't do shows more than 30 minutes away at that time if they are outdoors.  Dh can set up a tent and go to work, then come back and help me tear down.  It is the tent I have difficulty with.  I can do indoor events during this time since a tent is not required.

At this point, Texas is too far for us to go.  We have been as far as 2 hours and several have been an hour away.  This summer we are going to the Louisiaia Peach Festival in Ruston, LA which is about 5-6 hours away.  Dh's dad lives near this venue and we will combine this trip with a visit with him.

On a weekly basis I am looking for more venues, espeically indoor events that I can do alone or with dd, just to increase our exposure.  Thanks for the tip.

THIS ROCKS   Logged

God Bless,
Cindy

Given enough coffee, I could rule the world!
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